SpyParty, "a competitive espionage game about subtle human behavior," has been around for a very long time: Development began in 2009, and we listed it as among the vanguard of "The Future of Indie" in 2011. It's come along slowly but surely since then through some major updates and a beta, and on April 12 it will finally make its way to Steam.
SpyParty sounds a bit like an extremely slow, pared-down take on a common Team Fortress 2 scenario: One player, the Spy, must complete missions while mingling amongst AI-controlled party guests, while the other, the Sniper, has to figure out which of the guests is the Spy, and then put a bullet in them. The Spy wins when all missions are successfully completed, or if the Sniper kills the wrong person; the Sniper claims victory if they kill the Spy, or if the time limit runs out before the Spy's job is finished.
We spoke with SpyParty creator Chris Hecker about the game in 2015, and while the game has obviously come a long way since then, it's still an interesting and relevant look at the underlying design: Why it's important to keep any particular character from becoming a favorite, for instance, and the effort to keep the game "timeless."
"We want there to be aspects of different eras living in the same space simultaneously, so one person uses a pocket watch while another person uses a mobile phone," Hecker said at the time. "But I never want it to feel like the game is in a specific time or place."
A tutorial and "beginner mode" were recently added to SpyParty to ease players into its many complexities, and six new maps were rolled out today, bringing the total to 10. Early Access pricing hasn't been announced, but the beta version is still available for $15 at spyparty.com, and Hecker confirmed that anyone who purchases that beta will also get the Steam version.