SpyParty’s Not-Strictly Ballroom Update Incoming

SpyParty [official site] – Chris Hecker’s game about blending in with AI lest you reveal yourself as a dirty human and are assassinated – is due to get an update at the end of the week. It’s called The Not-Strictly Ballroom Update and contains a revamped (it’s a makeover on the level of Clueless’s Tai) map and additions to the cast of characters.

Okay, first up is the map – it’s the ballroom one. I haven’t played SpyParty yet but looking at the imagery the ballroom was more like a floating greenhouse filled with people models and drifting through a grey nothingness than a room you could imagine anyone suggestively tango-ing in or whatever you do in ballrooms. With this new art pass there are bookcases that aren’t neon green, portraits of the cast of characters, fancy wallpapering, trophies and the like, and instead of drifting through the void it’s part of a stately home.

Behold the slider gif:

You’re probably better off looking at the fancy images on the website though.

The other addition (i.e. the thing that makes it not a strictly ballroom-based update) is the group of six new characters. We spoke to Chris about them in detail a while back so if you’re interested you should definitely read that interview. The gameplay possibilities afforded by the twins – identical characters, so with the potential for behaviour comparisons – are the part I’m most interested in.

“Right now, one of them wears all the jewelry, so Snipers should be able to tell them apart, but you will usually have to zoom. We already had situations at PAX where Snipers shot the wrong twin, including a case where both twins went behind a pillar going in opposite directions, and then must have bounced off each other and went back out the way they came, and the Sniper assumed they’d kept moving straight and shot the wrong one. Good times!”

There are also a handful of other tweaks and changes which you can read about in the update notes.

The update is currently pegged for 24 or 25 September (although Hecker caveats that with “Given my track record on hitting dates, wish me luck”).


  1. Kollega says:

    I really wish there were more games with art like SpyParty. The art on display here reminds me of No One Lives Forever, and No One Lives Forever was glorious – but sadly, the gameplay sounds like something I would consistently bungle, because I’m shit at both observation and acting naturally. So really, I wish for more spy-fiction-themed games with gameplay that’d be forgiving to me.

    • Chris Hecker says:

      Well, if it helps, it’ll have a full single player mode when it eventually ships, for some definition of “full”. It won’t be as full as Starcraft, where there’s like a whole other game for single player, but I definitely know some people don’t want the competitive thing but would like to play against the AI and practice (like John, the artist on the project, he plays Hearthstone single player most of the time), so I definitely want to support that. The SpyParty community is the best competitive multiplayer community ever in terms of helping new players and not being toxic, if that helps as well. Hopefully it won’t all go to hell when I put it on Steam Early-Access. Yikes.

      • caff says:

        I think it’s a great game, but it needs a lot of players online and ideally a matchmaking interface of some-kind.

        Rocket League launched with a load of players during the free Playstation trial month. As a result, there were loads of games running (oh, and the servers all crashed!). But I think that sense of thousands of players convinced people to buy into it – and Spy Party is definitely in the same league of “Fun” :).

        Is there was a way you could release it with a free Steam trial week? I reckon it would probably sell really well after the free week was over. Is this possible?

        Otherwise you might always be faced with a low server population.

        Sorry if this sounds negative but I’m giving an honest opinion as a gamer that tries loads of stuff and knows what he likes :)

        • Chris Hecker says:

          I don’t know about giveaways yet, we’re still a ways away from shipping, but SpyParty has a big advantage over a lot of multiplayer games in that it’s 1v1, and players can handicap very large skill differences using the individual match setups (things like number of missions to be accomplished, which maps, how many guests, etc). Eventually the game will even give suggestions of balanced game modes for the two players, but that’s not in yet. So, yes, we want players online like any multiplayer game, and it is definitely a problem for multiplayer games and indie multiplayer games especially, but it’s not going to be as bad as if we were a team game or if the two players had to be the exact same skill level. Right now in the beta there’s no automatic matchmaking, you go into a lobby and chat with people and invite them into a match, like in the olden days! I’ve found for small active communities a lobby is better than an automatic matchmaker. We’ll see how that evolves as we add more players.

          • Chris Hecker says:

            I keep forgetting to check the notify box before I post in case I miss something, so now I’m posting this useless reply to myself so I can check them! Whee!

  2. Rikard Peterson says:

    I love this game in theory. It sounds like a great idea, and it looks great, but like you I don’t think I’l try it, because I think I’d be rubbish at it. Love that it exists, though!

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      (That was meant as a reply to Kollega above…)

      • caff says:

        Don’t be discouraged. I played an earlier version a while back and felt like I could get away with it, once you learn a few basic tricks.

        It’s a fun game and the buzz you get of “getting away with it” is incredible. :)

  3. Synesthesia says:

    I think this is a great game for a rps community. Make it happen!