SpyParty infiltrates Early Access after nearly a decade

SpyParty

Good things come to those who wait, and everyone I’ve talked to who has been lucky enough to try Chris Hecker’s SpyParty has plenty of complimentary things to say about the 1v1 multiplayer game of social infiltrator vs observant sniper. Think you can spot a single human player in the middle of a crowd of AI entities? Hold your breath, because you’ve only got one guess.

If you’ve managed to miss SpyParty doing it’s rounds across trade-shows, streams and magazines over the past few years, then I feel the best possible description came from former RPS’er Pip, who defined it as ‘a reverse turing test game’. One player, a spy, is tasked with completing several objectives at a cocktail party full of NPCs playing out their routines. The other player, a sniper with a single bullet to spare, needs to observe, study and decide who’s the human in the middle of a crowd of robots. The spy wins if they complete their mission, or the sniper picks the wrong target.

It’s a simple concept on paper, but apparently very challenging to play effectively. The better you learn to play the Spy, the better you learn your own human weaknesses, and how to spot them as the Sniper and vice versa. You’re practically playing poker against your own knowledge of the mechanics every time you play, and identifying human quirks or twitches that in any other game you’d chalk up to glitchy AI are a surefire sign that you’re on to the right target.

Adam recently interviewed SpyParty creator Chris Hecker. It’s well worth a read, going into the finer points of the game’s extensive development cycle, and how nearly a decade of development has shaped it as playtesters have come and gone. One issue that I’ve seen brought up is that learning the game is often difficult for a new player, as the current crop of experienced pros are experts at both hiding and spotting, but that should be mitigated somewhat by the Early Access launch, which is hopefully bringing in some fresh blood as we speak.

SpyParty is out now on Steam Early Access for £19.50/$25.

8 Comments

  1. caff says:

    Finally! Yes! Excellent game!

    Well done Chris.

    (where are the Steam keys for beta adopters!)

    • Premium User Badge

      Alikari says:

      Agree on both the congratulations and the Steam keys request! Its a bit annoying to think new people will be able to play before those of us who supported the Beta.

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        It's not me it's you says:

        He mentioned in the announcement he’ll get to it asap. That said, you can just log in with the beta client, it connects to the same servers and you can play against anyone who has the steam client. So it’s a little unfair to say new people would be able to play earlier somehow.

  2. MajorLag says:

    Seems like LAN play is still on the TODO list? I have no interest in interest in playing with random internets, so I guess I’ll be waiting.

    • zeep says:

      Isn’t it possible to play with Friends on Steam? You mean it’s always random?

      • The Algerian says:

        There’s a “find your steam friend” lobby on the non-steam version.

      • MajorLag says:

        I’m sure it is, but there’s just something very wrong about going to a LAN party just to have everyone connect to a server on the internet.

  3. dbdkmezz says:

    This game is absolutely fantastic! Every game I’ve played so far has been really tense and deeply absorbing. I’m still only a beginner, but loving the feeling of getting away with that last-second spy action, or the desperate sniper shot based on the vaguest suspicion just because the time is getting low and I just have to try something!

    Also, the community is lovely. The fact that the games are 1v1 and you keep playing the same opponent as many times as you like makes it really intimate, and people have been great at discussing the game afterwards, even genuinely helpful. After 500+ hours of Dota this is quite the pleasant surprise!