You Only Shoot Once: SpyParty

Ladies Ladies Ladies!

I’ve wanted to write about SpyParty for a week now, since Destructoid’s brilliant write-up. When Wired article’s followed the urge only got worse but… well, I’ve really got nothing else to add to the coverage, as I haven’t played it. So I’ll just point you there. Read both pieces and get excited. It’s the every-controversial Ex-Maxis’ Chris Hecker’s indie game of competitive asymmetrical multiplayer. One player is a spy, trying to perform set tasks at a party. The other is a sniper, with a single bullet, who has to shoot the spy. Pure battle of wits stuff here, and seems totally fascinating. It’s a couple of years away, at least in part due to a major general aesthetic upgrade, but we’ll be watching it. Closely. Trying to work out if it’s a spy.


  1. Azazel says:

    Like ‘The Ship’ filtered through purifying idea-rock?

  2. CMaster says:

    Ze Engineer Iz A Spy!

  3. Crane says:

    The biggest pitfall here, in my opinion, will be how hard it is for the sniper to hit their intended target. I can’t imagine anything more frustrating than carefully picking out which person is the spy, watching him make a handover, taking my shot, and accidentally potting the ambassador’s wife.

    (Damned Turkish embassy. Damned trade negotiations.Damned Turkish secret police.)

  4. Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

    This reminds me of one of the Indie Game Jam games from way back when. This place was filled with millions or whatever of Doom sprites and you had one bullet and you had to shoot the unique guy.

    • RagingLion says:

      Lol. Good memory, because after reading a bit about the game now, that is exactly the game that inspired Chris Hecker in this project. Great minds…

    • Velvet Fist, Iron Glove says:


      Hopefully in this one you don’t have to identify the bad guy by sonar!

  5. BooleanBob says:

    Spoi arrahnd ‘ere!

  6. Tunips says:

    This. I have been saying for years that if Hitman was multiplayer, this is what it would be. I am glad this exists.

  7. Ffitz says:

    I’m going to soundtrack this with Portishead’s To Kill A Dead Man, I think.

    • Ffitz says:

      And will definitely be wearing a black polo neck with a black leather jacket when playing the assassin.

  8. Zsinj says:

    I have a feeling from one of the writeups that I read, that once you select your target as the sniper, the shot never misses.

  9. Vandelay says:

    This was posted on the forums a few days ago, so I’ll just reiterate what I said there.

    This sounds awesome. I love the idea of a very small scale multiplayer and the personal battle between the spy and the sniper. The tension in this must be unbelievable. Definitely be keeping an eye on this one.

  10. CMaster says:

    Sounds very much like The Ship in the sense of pretending to be AI controlled in certain gamemodes to avoid getting killed.
    (Edit via forum – what happened to the edit button?) Note that I only played The Ship during it’s early mod days. I have no idea how much they refined it once going paid for.

    Free (bad) Games || Mountainbiking Videos || Gaming Videos

  11. Inigo says:


  12. Bhazor says:

    I have to admit, this sounds a bit naff for multi player. Does the sniper just sit there for 10 minutes waiting for the other guy to do the hardest (most obvious) task? Does the spy spend 10 minutes just walking back and forth trying to pretend to be as glitchy as the rest of the AI? The whole thing just seems too limited on its own, which is a shame as I love the idea of multiplayer sneaky spying. Perhaps closer to the style of The Ship with multiple couples going at it (ooh er) where the assassin is also trying to avoid detection and is also being hunted,

    This to me sounds like it would work better in single player a la Sniper Assassin link to

  13. invisiblejesus says:

    Much like others, this made me think of The Ship. Which is cool until I consider that no one plays The Ship anymore. :(

  14. Cunzy1 1 says:

    I read “ex Maxis'” as “ex Maxim'”. Didn’t really change what I thought but hey, it definitely happened.

  15. JuJuCam says:

    It made me think of Werewolf / Mafia, but I never did have a proper got at The Ship for some reason.

  16. Unaco says:

    I played the ship during a free weekend… thought it was quite good, but only really fun when you were up against opponents that knew what they were doing. This does seem alot like it, in a way… a novel multiplayer mechanic, a battle of ‘wits’ almost, rather than shooty skills.

    Is interesting, and I will keep an eye on this one.

  17. odeed says:

    Crane, from what I have gathered, there is a sort of lock-on system to prevent that. I think they’ll try to make the actual sniping as simple as they can, since the aim of the game is to identify the spy, rather than be a crack-shot.

  18. DaveyJones says:

    Yeah, sorry, but The Ship was quite fun and complex, and I can’t imagine this could top it.

  19. Torgen says:

    I can’t see how it will work unless there are human playing the “innocents” as well.

  20. JonFitt says:

    I don’t want to wait for two years just for something as irrelevant as graphics!

  21. Taillefer says:

    It’s a simple but brilliant idea and can easily be expanded (although it seems as though it would be far easier to expand the game for the spy than for the sniper). The same concept could also be used with different roles. You could have a guard looking out for a thief, a warden making sure no prisoner tries to escape, some scientist monitoring his androids in case they start thinking for themselves and go rogue… and so on.

  22. cjlr says:

    Man, the Ship was ace. Extremely ace. If this is as good as that – hell, if it’s half as good, it’s worth checking out.

  23. kowkoe says:

    About the sniping issue, I read in one write up that a player always tried to maintain behind the AI people, so that even if he was indentified the assassin could still lose the game by sniping the wrong person.
    So definetely not locked it seems, but I doubt it will be much of an issue.

    Seems great. hope there will be some early demo.

  24. SpinalJack says:

    This game reminds me of Gravity Bone and The Ship

  25. JonFitt says:

    Seems like you guys should revive a Ship server.

  26. Martin says:

    It would suit you well to read the articles before you comment. That way you will find out how the game actually plays.

    • Martin says:

      Yeah, these here comments work perfectly – *especially* the reply button.

      Well, my above comment is for everyone who comments without knowing what the game is about. For now that would be Torgen and Bhazor.

  27. Echo says:

    Yeah – I love the concept and really want to try it… but it seems very much like something that about 17 people total might be interested in playing.

  28. Hat Galleon says:

    This does remind of The Ship, but by the time I got around to buying that game, there was only one server up, in which people ran around killing each other deathmatch style. I feel robbed of a unique gameplay experience. Hopefully this game turns out better. It sure seems like it will.

  29. Kevbo says:

    Unfortunately not many gamers like to ‘think’ when they play online games. So as much as I love the sound of this game, I have a feeling it will not be played by many. The few that do play the game will be very good at it and will just scare off new people by being too good at the game.

    To be honest that is what happens to many many phenomenal MODs. Games/mods with small player bases tend to be very unbalanced since there aren’t enough people to level the skill/wits factor involved. Here’s to hoping that I am wrong with this one though :)

  30. kowkoe says:

    I think we all have our beloved games that have much to few players in respect to there qualities, that being so, I guess there is a realistic chance that this game will not get the attention it deserves.
    However, I think the Indie scene is increasingly growing so I have high hopes.

    I do hope that the game will pull of the sense that it is really a battle between too brains, without too much issues about APM, “built orders” (for lack of a better word in this game), units knowledge etc.
    In short, that anyone can conclude a near optimal gameplan after 10 games.
    Meaning that after 10 games you have all the knowledge presented to you that is available and it’s up to you too conclude out of this knowledge the best action against your particular opponent.
    If it can do that, I think this game will go very far.

  31. Bret says:

    So, I’m not quite sure.

    If you finish all your tasks as the spy, do you win?

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