Creepy horror sequel to one of the first social deduction games


Social deduction games have existed for decades, but mostly as tabletop experiences. While there are some early examples, such as the 2009 Trouble in Terrorist Town mod, the popularity of the genre in the video game space is a relatively recent development with early trendsetters being released in 2017–2018 and among us Became a surprising sensation overnight in 2020. CheatA social deduction game so ahead of its time that it wasn’t even called a social deduction game–since you took out the traitor with a gun, the game classified as a shooter.

That game is now getting a sequel Fraud 2, and it aims to inject all of the learnings from the social deduction genre that came after Deception to create an even scarier experience that prioritizes clue hunting, demonic informants, and a world of horror. The game is also being made in Unreal 5, with an artistic direction going for photorealism, much like the first Deception. It sees you playing as one of the members of Truth Seekers Anonymous who seek to uncover the story behind a occult ritual that went wrong decades ago. Their efforts lead them into a trap set by a mysterious masked entity known as the Game Master, who hides great horrors and demons among the party in order to complete some strange ritual before anyone can escape.

I got to play two sessions in the alpha build of the 6-9 player social deduction horror game. Both times, I played for full nine-player lobbies alongside members of developer World Makers. In the first match, I played as one of seven innocents, and we barely won together. In another, I was one of two monstrous Infected – except in the custom game, you always play with two Infected in Cheaters 2 – and lost just barely. I had a lot of fun both times, though not in a way that felt completely different and unique than what I’ve experienced elsewhere in the genre. The original Deception may have been ahead of its time, but I worry that Deception 2 may be just another social deduction game playing catch-up among us. After my play session, I spoke with World Makers CEO James Thompson and executive producer Jord Fox about what players can expect from Deceit 2 Complete Edition, which will be available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and Xbox One. About to be launched. and PC in 2023.

Both the matches we played lasted for about 12-15 minutes. Is this a good indication of how long most matches last?

thompson: Yes, I think it’s a good indicator. It’s hard to tell how long it was when you’re playing, but I think 15 minutes is a reasonable game length. And I think this build, the alpha, it basically has all the features of the actual in-game experience that we’re launching with. It doesn’t have all the views yet. It doesn’t have the full polish yet, but it has all the features, so I think it’s pretty representative.

Will all of the maps we’ve played on launch with the game or will there be more?

thompson: yes, we are starting with [only] This map. And it’s still blockout half of that map, so there’s going to be a lot of visuals going into it, but this is the layout of the map that we’ll be launching. We’ve also anticipated and received an early blockout of our second map, which we plan to launch very quickly after launching with the Werewolf DLC.

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And as the scope of the game grows and evolves, so will the story?

thompson: Those narrative threads will become clearer as the game master who was featured really briefly in the opening cutscene will have more voice lines and the character in the shop will be turned away instead of having a hand in the wall. So you’ll see more threads come out of them. en general, [the story] Obviously there’s a background as opposed to the main part you’re running through, but the narrative already supports the idea of ​​multiple locations. These are all marginal places. They are places where reality breaks and you go into this other dimension.

And so the idea is that there are weak points all over the Earth where these maps can be placed, and the game master brings you between these locations through this other dimension. We’re currently looking at a research station in the woods [for a future map]But there will be many other maps and they can be anywhere along the descriptive structure.

fox: On top of that, we’re experimenting with more transmedia things that we can do outside of the game. A little example we released a few months ago is this ARG forum that gives a little bit of the backstory of all the characters and the background of why they’re in this place, and players follow the prompts in that forum. Can and then find a code and eventually leads to a symbol that is unlocked in DLC 1. The game can even sink their teeth.

thompson: We’re also looking to do some YouTube series that explore the story of self-deception, and we’re working on the timing of those right now. But generally, yeah, we’re inclined to build a lot of video content around narrative.

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So with little focus on the plot and direction of the story, what characters are we playing? Do they matter or are they just placeholders for the player?

thompson: Original six characters are from the original [Deceit], and we’ve added three more and really updated the backstories of all the characters. Originally, he had some in-game note backstory, but I think for Dissit, we revisited the whole narrative and we wanted to give him a meaning and a backstory that made sense. And yes, they all have stories behind them [in-game]And the way they all come together is that they’re part of this online group called Truth Seekers Anonymous, where they were investigating murders.

This shelter is one of the places they’ve been checking [the first map]And they realize when they finally decide to meet that something really mystical and supernatural is happening and they get caught up in this ritual, so they are brought together by it.

Like Overwatch 2, Cheaters 2 is essentially sunsetting the original game and replacing it. What is the reason for creating a new game as opposed to continuing to expand on the original experience?

thompson: We came back to Deception in 2020 and thought, “How do we take this to the next level?” We made the first game long before social deception and horror games were necessarily popular, and so the market grew. There was a great following for Deceit as a Steam game and we thought, “We can take this to the next level, but how do we do it?” And originally, we considered a big set of updates to the original game, but last year we landed on a full sequel approach for a combination of reasons.

Number one, although we’re following the same formula, we’re making a lot of fundamental changes to make it more sandbox-like. With a more sandbox-like feel to it, we realized we needed to rebuild the game from the ground up so we could add content faster. And then, with Unreal 5 coming out, there was an opportunity to make sure we could develop games more efficiently across multiple platforms rather than just continuing to use the original CryEngine version.

Deceit 2 is a low cost premium game because we think this model really suits us best. We could have effectively gotten around that with some DLC in the original game, but I think, in general, we’re far more clear about how we’re positioning Decisive 2 as a product nowadays. . We really look at this as a new beginning for the game, because I would look at Decisive 1 almost as a way of early access, that we’ve been able to get feedback from the millions of games that have been played, and that’s a great opportunity for us. Has been a great way to really understand what works, what doesn’t work. And now we’ve really, across the board, we’ve rebuilt everything in Distinct 2. Then the choice became, “Do we give it a completely new name or call it Deceit 2?” But I think we all realized that we really liked the name and the IP behind Deception, so we went with Deception 2.

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Comparing an Extended Early Access game to its original when making a sequel feels like a strategy some devs are using when making their respective follow-ups. I don’t think you are alone out there.

thompson: True, the term “early access” is used a little too often. But I think Decit 1– although it certainly did well–wasn’t quite right. When you first started the game in Deceit 1 you had a gun. It was a very action-oriented experience and we wanted to make it more immersive, more sandbox-like. we must consider [Deceit 2] Also to change the location a bit towards your ideal experience.

fox: Also when we decided to do Decimate 2, it allowed us to re-frame the design in our mind instead of thinking about how to implement these updates in Decimate 1. , add all the new features we wanted to do, and generally upgrade everything in this new package that we can now introduce as Rookie 2.

thompson:And on the polish point, you can see where we are today with the alpha, but clearly a game becomes much more polished as it gets more resources – that’s the nature of game development. And I think, for building a multiplayer experience, we’re getting a lot of polish. And so for us, the team is very proud of where we ended up with Decit 1, especially given the budget and time constraints. We are a very small team and we built Decit 1. But now we have invested from Makers Fund and we are expanding the team. I think this is something that will prove more as we get from alpha to launch, but I think we’re going to level up in terms of visuals and sound and overall quality of the products [for a social deduction game], We are trying to set a new standard with Disit 2. Obviously, it’s always gameplay first for us, but with new technology and new budgets that have come online, we’re leveling it up in terms of fidelity as well.

Will there be cross-play and cross-progress between the systems?

thompson: We’re doing cross-play and we’re leaving out cross-progression because from what we can see as a studio, the extra time to legislate everything that’s needed for cross-progression and the main reason that you Why would you want to cross-play the game, I think cross-play brings the biggest benefit, bang-for-buck, for the time and investment. So, we’re doing cross-play. Currently not planning to do cross-progress.

This interview was edited for brevity and readability.

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