A New, Sexier Party: SpyParty

I'm not even getting paid for my likeness, this is outrageous.

SpyParty fits into a rather small list of games with the header “stuff I read about in PC Gamer for about thirty years but never actually tried” and also the “games Craig Pearson rather likes” one. They’re similar lists. For the unfamiliar, it’s a one-on-one espionage deal that pits a spy at a party against an onlooking sniper who most identify them before they can carry out their mission. It’s the sort of scenario that lends itself so well to games that it’s surprising it’s taken this long to be done. Probably because of the intense amount of time it’s taking to be done right. A three-man team has been chugging away for over four years, with an Early Access model and upcoming graphics improvements the latest developments. They’ve just buffed up their official website to match and there’s a new trailer available once you’ve completed your assignments, 007.

I’ll admit to having been rather put off all these years by the somewhat horrific older models and work-in-progress look of the whole deal, so the new art pass is exciting for me. For those wondering what the old website looked like, it’s here and I hope we can all agree there’s been a massive improvement. The development log is still intact too, running down a few more details on what’s changed and why. The indie laurels are a particular favourite.

If you’re undecided and after more sweet, sweet RPS content, we’ve been writing about SpyParty for ruddy ages, including Craig’s hands on, Craig’s take on the new art and not-Craig’s-but-still-sorta-Craig’s interview with developer Chris Hecker. Mmm, all the Craig you could handle.


  1. caff says:

    I must reinstall this. Had great fun with an earlier beta.

    I think it just needs more active online players.

  2. Tams80 says:

    Going to all that trouble just because you weren’t invited to the party?!

  3. Henke says:

    These guys better hurry up. I have a feeling Watch Dogs will steal some of their thunder with it’s quite similar figure-out-which-NPC-is-another-player mutliplayer component.

    • jaguar skills says:

      Hasn’t Assassin’s Creed been doing exactly that for about five games now?

      • Henke says:

        Ah yes. It might’ve. Haven’t tried out the MP modes of any of the AC games.

        • Leb says:

          It’s pretty much exactly this. Each player has a contract to kill another, and a vague compass pointing you in their general area.

          • Chris Hecker says:

            Actually, it’s fairly different than AC multiplayer or The Ship in some important ways. It’s a lot more subtle because you don’t know who you’re looking for, there’s no radar, the maps are smaller and more intimate, and the character models are all unique, and the game is completely asymmetric, so the Sniper doesn’t have to watch his or her back while looking for the Spy, and the Spy can’t parry the Sniper’s bullet. So, both roles can go a lot deeper than the more symmetric AC and Ship, where you’re constantly getting these murder pile-ons and having to watch your back, so the tells can’t be very subtle. Those games are basically “Assassin”, the old college campus game, where SpyParty is not. They’re in similar psychological spaces for sure, which is a good thing, I want more developers to explore subtle human behavior, but they’re quite a bit different in the way they play, way more difference, say, than BF and CoD are from each other. The thing is there are just so few games in this space (compared to the density of shooters) that any similarities are magnified. Hopefully in the future there will be many more psychological games like this!

    • DarkSaber2k says:

      The Ship already did it quite some time ago though.

      • BobbyFizz says:

        That was slightly different, there you had to kill a pre determinded quarry out of all the players, but you had to make out they weren’t your target so they wouldn’t get suspicious. This is a lot more fun, you have to work out which is the actual player.

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    Haven’t been keeping up with the latest versions but this was already pretty fun last time I played it. Looking forward to the full implementation of the new art with proper animation and everything. Will no doubt add a whole other layer subtlety.

  5. LionsPhil says:

    But they were showing off this new art back in October.

    Surprising they’d bother to redo the trailer without having switched over yet given the time interval.

    • crazyd says:

      It’s been even longer than that. The new art style was announced in August of 2012.

      link to spyparty.com

      I’m having difficulty believing it’s actually still being worked on.

      • Chris Hecker says:

        Yeah, the first character art we showed in 2012 was the concept art with offline rendering and million poly models and the usual, and then over the year we integrated it into the game and showed it off running (well, limping) in realtime in 2013: New Art In Game We’re going to reveal the next set of new characters very soon, and then the goal is to have a complete working map with the new art at PAX. The current new art map in the game right now if you download it is really a demo and not good for serious play (real matches happen on the tuned old art levels), but by September we’ll hopefully have a tuned and balanced new art map that’s competition-worthy. We’ve also done a lot of non-art game stuff, you can see videos and posts about this on the youtube channel and the blog. For example, the replay system I put in earlier this year is really cool, if I do say so myself, here’s a quick vid of that. So, it’s still in very active development, and it’s getting better all the time, but yeah, I’m definitely not the fastest game developer in the world, I’ll give you that!

      • The Random One says:

        Art is probably the toughest part of games like this, and in this case it needs to convey a lot of subtle visual information without looking blatantly gamey.

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    kfix says:

    Craig overload? We can handle more Craig than this. Craig it up a bit already!

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      There’s so many mentions of Craig here that, to separate them from each other, we’d have to make a list of all of them. We can call it Craigslist.