The fascinating 1v1 sniper vs. spy game SpyParty will enter Steam Early Access on April 12th, creator Chris Hecker has announced, bringing it to a a wider audience after years of coveted betas and its own early access scheme. SpyParty players have developed devious tricks of deception and detection over these years, so I'll be fascinated to see what happens as fumbling newbies arrive, myself included. I'm Maxwell Smart and everyone else is Agent 99. You're Vasily Zaytsev and I'm one of those goons who can't even hit the A Team van driving straight towards them.
SpyParty pits one spy against one sniper. The spy is at a party surrounded by unwitting NPCs, who provide vital cover as the spy goes about conducting espionage. Spies have several objectives to complete--bugging conversations, seducing targets, swapping objects, and other such spy business--while the sniper simply needs to kill the spy. Watching from a distant point, the sniper has one single shot to stop the spy. All of which leads to the spy trying to act like an NPC, picking moments carefully and faking out the sniper, while the gunman watches for tells.
To get a sense of the game's trickery, read Hecker's analysis of one "perfect" round way back in 2012. And this was six years ago - who knows how clever people are now? I intend to find out by collecting holes in my face.
Oh, and for people already spying, six new maps hit the game on Monday, as shown in the new trailer below. The game really has become quite pretty since its early days, thanks to the work of artist John Cimino. Dearest Pip talked with Hecker about its character designs a few years back.