Among Us Proves That Independent Games Are Not To Be Messed With
If you have been following the gaming scene in 2020, you have probably heard of Among Us, a multiplayer game where you have to find and eliminate the impostors among your crewmates before they kill you all. The game has become a global phenomenon, attracting millions of players, streamers, celebrities, and even politicians. But did you know that Among Us is actually an indie game, meaning that it was created by a small team of independent developers without the support of a big publisher?
In this article, we will explore how Among Us proves that indie games are not to be messed with. We will look at how the game became a viral sensation in 2020, how it showcases the creativity and innovation of indie games, and how it reflects the challenges and opportunities of indie game development. By the end of this article, you will have a better appreciation of what makes indie games so special and why you should support them.
How Among Us Became A Viral Sensation In 2020
Among Us was released in June 2018 by Innersloth, a small indie studio based in Washington, USA. The game was inspired by classic party games like Mafia and Werewolf, where players have to lie and deceive each other to survive. The game was initially designed for local multiplayer, but later added online multiplayer as well. However, for the first two years of its release, the game did not receive much attention or success. It had only a few thousand downloads and an average of less than 10 concurrent players on Steam.
So what changed in 2020? How did Among Us go from being an obscure indie game to one of the most popular games in the world? The answer lies in the power of streamers, celebrities, and social media. In July 2020, a popular Brazilian streamer named Sodapoppin started playing Among Us with his friends on Twitch. His streams attracted thousands of viewers who were intrigued by the game’s concept and gameplay. Soon, other streamers followed suit, including PewDiePie, Ninja, Shroud, Pokimane, Jacksepticeye, Markiplier, and many more. These streamers helped spread the word about Among Us to their millions of fans across different platforms.
But that was not all. In September 2020, the game reached a new level of fame when it was played by celebrities and politicians such as Jimmy Fallon, James Charles, Logic, Lil Nas X, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Justin Trudeau. These celebrities used the game as a way to connect with their fans, raise awareness for social causes, or simply have fun. Their streams and videos generated millions of views and comments, creating a huge buzz around Among Us on social media. The game also became a popular topic for memes, fan art, animations, and parodies.
As a result of this massive exposure, Among Us saw a huge surge in its player base and revenue. According to Steam Charts, the game reached a peak of over 400,000 concurrent players on Steam in September 2020, making it one of the most played games on the platform. According to Sensor Tower, the game was downloaded over 200 million times on mobile devices in 2020, making it one of the most downloaded games of the year. According to SuperData, the game earned over $39 million in revenue in August 2020 alone, making it one of the most profitable games of the month.
But what makes Among Us so appealing to such a wide and diverse audience? What are the features and gameplay elements that make it stand out from other games? Let’s take a closer look at the game itself.
How Among Us Showcases The Creativity And Innovation Of Indie Games
Among Us is a game that defies easy categorization. It is not a typical shooter, puzzle, or strategy game. It is not a realistic or immersive simulation. It is not a linear or scripted story. It is something else entirely. It is a game that combines elements of social deduction, deception, cooperation, and betrayal. It is a game that challenges your logic, intuition, communication, and trust. It is a game that creates emergent and dynamic gameplay based on your interactions with other players.
The premise of the game is simple: you are one of 4 to 10 players who are either crewmates or impostors on a spaceship or a space station. The crewmates have to work together to complete tasks and find the impostors. The impostors have to kill the crewmates or sabotage the mission without being caught. The game can be played online or locally with friends or strangers. The game can be customized with different rules, maps, modes, and settings to suit your preferences.
The game’s concept and genre are not entirely original. As mentioned earlier, the game was inspired by party games like Mafia and Werewolf, where players have to lie and deceive each other to survive. There are also other video games that have similar mechanics, such as Town of Salem, Secret Hitler, Deceit, Project Winter, and more. However, what makes Among Us unique and innovative is how it adapts and expands on these mechanics to create a more engaging and accessible experience.
One of the ways that Among Us does this is by using a unique art style and sound design. The game’s graphics are simple yet effective. The characters are colorful and cute, resembling bean-shaped astronauts with different outfits and accessories. The environments are bright and cartoonish, with various details and objects that add to the atmosphere. The animations are smooth and expressive, with different movements and gestures that convey emotions and actions. The sound effects are crisp and clear, with different noises and alerts that indicate events and situations. The music is catchy and fitting, with different tracks that match the mood and tone of the game.
The game’s art style and sound design help create a contrast between the fun and lighthearted appearance of the game and the dark and tense reality of the game. This contrast adds to the humor and suspense of the game, making it more enjoyable and memorable. The game’s graphics and sounds also make it easy to understand and play for anyone, regardless of their age or skill level.
Another way that Among Us does this is by offering customization and modding options for both players and developers. The game allows players to change various aspects of the game to suit their preferences. For example, players can choose from different maps that have different layouts, tasks, and vents. Players can also adjust the game settings that affect the gameplay, such as the number of impostors, the speed of the players, the vision of the players, the cooldown of the kills, the voting time, and more. These options allow players to create different scenarios and challenges that suit their tastes and skills.
The game also supports modding, which means that players and developers can create and add new content and features to the game. For example, some of the popular mods for Among Us include The Other Roles, which adds new roles and abilities for both crewmates and impostors, such as detective, medic, jester, sheriff, engineer, and more. Another example is Town of Us, which combines elements from Town of Salem and Among Us, such as mayor, lover, swapper, arsonist, executioner, and more. These mods add more variety and replay value to the game, as well as more fun and chaos.
The game’s customization and modding options demonstrate the creativity and innovation of indie games. They show how indie developers can experiment with different ideas and genres, and how they can involve the community in their development process. They also show how indie games can offer more freedom and flexibility for players to shape their own experiences.
How Among Us Reflects The Challenges And Opportunities Of Indie Games
Among Us is not a perfect game. It has its fair share of flaws and problems that affect its quality and performance. Some of these issues are due to the game’s unexpected success, while others are due to the game’s indie nature. However, these issues also reveal the challenges and opportunities that indie games face in the gaming industry.
One of the main challenges that Among Us faced was technical issues and bugs. The game was not designed to handle such a large number of players and requests. The game’s servers often crashed or lagged, causing disconnects or errors. The game’s code was also outdated and messy, making it hard to fix or improve. The game’s security was also weak, allowing hackers and cheaters to ruin the game for others.
To address these issues, the developers had to work hard to update and optimize the game. They had to upgrade their servers, rewrite their code, implement anti-cheat measures, and patch various bugs. They also had to communicate with their players and keep them informed of their progress and plans. These tasks were not easy or quick, especially for a small team with limited resources.
Another challenge that Among Us faced was delayed updates and sequels. The game was originally planned to have a sequel called Among Us 2, which would have improved graphics, gameplay, and features. However, due to the game’s sudden popularity, the developers decided to cancel the sequel and focus on updating the original game instead. They also announced several new updates for the game, such as a new map called The Airship, a new account system, a new friend system, and more.
However, these updates took longer than expected to be released, due to the technical difficulties and the small size of the development team. The game’s fans grew impatient and frustrated, as they waited for months for new content and features. Some of them even lost interest in the game, as they moved on to other games or activities.
To overcome these challenges, the developers had to balance their time and resources between fixing the game and adding new content. They had to prioritize the most important and urgent updates, and delay or cancel the less essential ones. They also had to listen to their fans’ feedback and suggestions, and try to meet their expectations and demands. These decisions were not easy or popular, especially for a team that had a different vision and schedule for their game.
Despite these challenges, Among Us also had many opportunities and achievements that indie games can aspire to. One of these opportunities was cross-platform play. The game was available on multiple platforms, such as Windows, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation. The game also supported cross-play, which means that players on different platforms could play together in the same game. This feature made the game more accessible and inclusive, as it allowed more players to join and enjoy the game.
Another opportunity that Among Us had was esports. The game’s competitive and cooperative nature made it suitable for esports, which are organized video game competitions that involve professional players, teams, leagues, tournaments, sponsors, and spectators. The game’s popularity and simplicity also made it appealing for esports, as it attracted a large and diverse audience of fans and viewers. The game had several unofficial esports events, such as Twitch Rivals, FaZe Clan In-Vent-ational, Streamer Bowl II: Among Us Edition, and more. These events featured some of the most famous streamers, celebrities, and athletes in the world.
A third opportunity that Among Us had was merchandising. The game’s characters and items were so cute and iconic that they inspired a lot of merchandise products, such as plushies, t-shirts, hoodies, hats, stickers, posters, mugs, keychains, and more. These products were sold by both official and unofficial sources, such as Innersloth’s online store, Amazon, Etsy, Redbubble, and more. These products helped generate more revenue and exposure for the game, as well as more satisfaction and loyalty for the fans.
In conclusion, Among Us is a game that proves that indie games are not to be messed with. The game became a viral sensation in 2020 thanks to the power of streamers, celebrities, and social media. The game showcases the creativity and innovation of indie games with its unique concept, art style, and customization options. The game reflects the challenges and opportunities of indie games with its technical issues, delayed updates, cross-platform play, esports, and merchandising. The game is a testament to the passion and perseverance of indie developers and the support and enthusiasm of indie fans.
If you have not played Among Us yet, we highly recommend you to give it a try. You can download it for free on your mobile device or buy it for a low price on your PC or console. You can play it with your friends or strangers online or locally. You can customize it to your liking or mod it to your heart’s content. You can have fun and laughter or drama and betrayal. You can be a crewmate or an impostor. The choice is yours.
And if you have played Among Us, we hope you enjoyed it and learned something from it. We also hope you will continue to support indie games and indie developers in the future. Indie games are not to be messed with. They are to be celebrated and appreciated.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about Among Us and indie games:
What is the difference between an impostor and a crewmate in Among Us?
An impostor is a player who pretends to be a crewmate but secretly tries to kill them or sabotage the mission. A crewmate is a player who tries to complete tasks and find the impostors.
How many players can play Among Us at once?
The game can support up to 10 players at once, with up to 3 impostors and up to 7 crewmates.
What are some of the best maps and modes to play in Among Us?
The game has four official maps: The Skeld, Mira HQ, Polus, and The Airship. Each map has different layouts, tasks, vents, and features. The game also has different modes, such as Classic, Hide and Seek, Zombies, Proximity Chat, and more. The best map and mode depend on your preference and skill level.
How can I join or host a game in Among Us?
You can join a game by entering a code or browsing a list of public games. You can host a game by creating a lobby and inviting other players or making it public. You can also join or host a game locally by using the same Wi-Fi network.
Where can I find more information about Among Us or other indie games?
You can find more information about Among Us on its official website, Twitter, Discord, Reddit, YouTube, or Steam page. You can also find more information about other indie games on websites like itch.io, Game Jolt, IndieDB, or Steam.