Our favorite spy-themed extraction shooter is having a free weekend to launch its second season

We like the spy-themed extraction shooter Deceive Inc quite a lot. We called it "a creative blend of sneaking and shooting" in our 82% review, and it earned a spot in our list of eight overlooked games that you might have missed in 2023. That's a solid and well-deserved recommendation, but not really good news because it means a lot of folks are missing out on one of the more interesting gaming experiences of the year.

This coming weekend will be a good opportunity to address that problem, because Deceive Inc will be completely free to play from July 27-30 on both PC and consoles.

Along with hopefully boosting player numbers, the free weekend celebrates the release of the big Neon Nights update that kicks off Deceive Inc's second season. The update includes a new agent named Sasori, who gave up his life as the world's most infamous assassin so he could open a quiet little restaurant in Osaka. As is the way with these things, he's eventually forced to return to the business, but agrees to do so only under one condition: No collateral damage.

To help make that condition a little easier to achieve, the Neon Nights introduces non-lethal poison, which prevents all healing (even if you pick up a spy cache) and blocks all "advanced interactions," like hacking doors. As if that's not bad enough, Sasori is also able to trace poisoned agents, even through walls. 

And to encourage everyone else to elevate their professionalism, Deceive Inc's Heat System, which applies penalties to players who kill NPCs, wil be even more punitive—which according to developer Sweet Bandit Studios is actually something that most players were calling for.

The update also includes new throwing dart weapons and a "traditional wakizashi," which I assume is lethal, and new unlockable cosmetics including cyberpunk-themed legendary skins. A new limited-time duos mode will be available during the free weekend, enabling players to work together in teams of two for the first time.

The Deceive Inc free weekend will begin at 12:01 am PT on July 27 and run until 11:59 pm PT on July 30 on the Epic Games Store—for some reason, the Steam version will not be part of the freebie. If you dig it, it's also on sale for 25% off—that's $15/£13/€15—until July 31.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.