It's hard to get a niche multiplayer game going, especially one that requires players to behave themselves. That's probably why Murderous Pursuits, latest backstab 'em up from Blazing Griffin (makers of The Ship) is free on Steam right now. Not just a free weekend (which it had done previously), but a 'grab now, keep it forever' deal. As with The Ship, it's a game of cat and mouse, now set aboard a futuristic sky-ship with a Victorian veneer. Up to eight players are simultaneously hunting someone, and being hunted by someone else - antics ensue, and a trailer lurks below.
Blazing Griffin directly invoke the multiplayer from earlier Assassin's Creed games in the trailer below, and there does seem to be some mechanical similarities. There's also perhaps a little Spy Party here, with the eight player character models being re-used amongst the generic NPCs. Better still, you have no idea what your target looks like, only how close you are to them, leading to situations where you're not quite sure which of three identical people to stab. Of course, while you stand around trying to puzzle out who's an NPC or not, the person hunting you might close in.
It's exactly the kind of game that, if played with random people from the internet can devolve into complete anarchy very quickly, and that's just not much fun. All it takes is one renegade running around and flailing wildly to spoil the fun, and more than that will hurt it even worse. Bring your own buddies, which is pretty easy when the game is free for the next few days. Previous Blazing Griffin games have always been far better played with an organised group, though there's always the option to fill empty player slots with bots (or just practice offline) if you so please.
While Murderous Pursuits may not have been the multiplayer hit Blazing Griffin were hoping for, they're not dissuaded. Murder is still on their minds for their next project, although judging by the vague teaser video here, players will be solving homicides instead of committing them next time round.
Murderous Pursuits is free on Steam until October 29th - grab now, keep forever. A Deluxe Edition 'upgrade' exists if you insist on throwing some money at it, though. £7/€10/$10 gets you some extra skins, a victory taunt, an art book and a set of wallpapers.