The experience of weeding out the frauds from a cocktail crew of friends and fairweathers is about to receive the console treatment. InnerSloth’s online masterwork Among Us is a social deduction experiment for the pandemic age, perfect for otherwise listless homebodies hoping to drive back the occasional cabin fever, and it’s making its PlayStation 4 debut on August 31, alleges fan account PlayStation Game Size on Sunday.
You can see the Among Us tweet below.
Players have been waiting with bated breath for a console port of Among Us since plans for a sequel tanked last year, and they’re finally getting their wish. The zero gravity chambers of the Skeld have become everyone’s home-away-from-home during these trying times of quarantine. After all, there’s nothing more comforting than simulating the collective experience of paranoia in a secure environment of little consequence. But there’s been three extra maps since, and console purists are still indiscriminately factored out. The game’s next upgrade hopes to change that.
Clocking in at 9th as the most popular multiplayer of 2021, Among Us continues to stir embers among livestreamers on social media. This modern-day Cluedo experienced a slow start when it released in 2018 to virtually zero fanfare; hardly anybody knew about it, or cared enough about a tired premise to consider its dormant salability or unrealized prospects for better. The game eventually found a home on Twitch, Facebook Gaming, and YouTube, making its way to the top with all the finesse of a Crewmate locating a dead body, which is to say by word of mouth. The surge in Among Us memes allowed the initial niche phenomenon to spread like wildfire. By the time the coronavirus locked down businesses in March 2020, Among Us had become the most-watched party game online, alongside Fortnite and Fall Guys. It has attracted the most hardened traditionalists and the least allegiant casuals in equal measure.
Among Us is simple enough to pick up. There are four to 15 Crewmates, up to three of which are Impostors. These are shuffled randomly at the start of every game. Crewmates are tasked to complete minigames — usually random maintenance work on the ship — while Impostors work under cover to sabotage systems and eliminate enemies. Crewmates can call for an emergency meeting at any given point to determine by vote which player is most likely to be an Impostor; the participant is then ejected from the ship. Meetings are also convened every time a Crewmate discovers a dead body. The conditions for victory are pretty straightforward. Crewmates win if they manage to complete all tasks or identify all Impostors, whichever comes first.
Impostors win in Among Us if they’re able to kill enough Crewmates to make both parties equal in number, or if Crewmates are unable to resolve a major sabotage. Ejected Impostors and murdered Crewmates automatically become ghosts, and can assist living players undeterred. In-game surveillance systems can help Crewmates figure out who is who. The text chat is only accessible during meetings for living players, and round-the-clock for the undead.
The concept of Among Us isn’t particularly novel by any stretch. Live party game Mafia popularized the mechanics in the 1980s. Ten years later, semi-intoxicated adults were playing it at college parties, and elementary schoolchildren in parks and playgrounds. It was the sort of game anyone could get into without prep, and worked for players of all backgrounds and age groups. Social deduction, after all, is a latent human skill and required in almost every professional and social setting. Lead designer Marcus Bromander developed Among Us by incorporating elements of The Thing into the base premise of Mafia; that, coupled with a forbidding setting in the depths of space and Xerox characters indistinguishable from the next, created a conveniently ominous atmosphere conducive to social deduction and an active pandemic. InnerSloth responded to the resulting publicity by green-lighting a sequel the same year Among Us went viral, but canceled it to focus on polishing the base title. Among Us is scheduled to come out on Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S shortly after the game’s PlayStation 4 release.