The History of Among Us – 2020’s Surprise Hit
It’s been a wild year for many reasons. For the developers at InnerSloth, a huge part of this year’s surprises is the popularity of their two year old game. While some people played Among Us before 2020, most never heard of this multiplayer mystery game. Equal parts Clue and co-op sim game, the history of Among Us is an underdog story about trusting your instinct. There’s always been an audience for this type of game. It just took a lot of us at home, staying indoors, and craving connection to our friends to find it. Here’s the history of this game and why it’s just now getting popular now.
The History of Among Us – Development and Concept
Image Credit: InnerSloth
If you played the popular party game Mafia, then Among Us seems familiar. InnerSloth wanted to adapt this game for mobile devices to play locally with friends. In 2018, Among Us launched with a single map and only the ability to play the game with those around you. Somewhere around 50 people would play at a time when the game first launched. Many at InnerSloth wondered if the game was a flop, but they knew they wanted to keep it going for its small but dedicated fans. This led to adding online multiplayer, new tasks, and more features to make the game more expansive.
A few months after its mobile release, the game released on Steam and featured cross-play. New maps came to the game for a low price of $4. That would later turn to free when mid-2020 saw the meteoric rise of the game’s popularity and player base thanks to COVID-19 and some gaming influencers.
Soon, players can explore a fourth map that is bigger and believed to bring in unique twists to the game. The map is based on Henry Stickmin, a flash game series created by InnerSloth. If you want to see what new features and challenges the upcoming map will bring to the table, try Breaking the Bank, an HTML5 version of one of the games in the series.
Playing Imposter During a Time of Isolation
By June of 2020, Among Us began popping in huge numbers during quarantine on Twitch‘s most popular games. The first increase in attention came from South Korea and Brazil. Influencers who stream gaming in those countries spread the popularity to Mexico and Brazil soon after. Only by July did the United States really take on the Among Us craze. Popular U.S. YouTubers and streamers like Ninja and PewDiePie began playing the game. This sparked the major push to the game’s player base that has continued since.
The history of Among Us wouldn’t look the way it does without COVID-19. It was a summer of social distancing and isolation. Still, the game is wonderful because of the developer’s attention to detail and passion. The pandemic may have sparked the game’s popularity, but this was already a great game. With tabletop elements built for a distanced age, people can play with their friends even when they’re far away. It’s a comforting feeling when we’re not really sure when we can gather with friends and family to play games again. The game hit 1.5 million concurrent players in September of this year. At one point, 3.8 million logged on concurrently, crashing the game’s servers.
A Canceled Sequel and the Future of Among Us
Image Credit: InnerSloth
Given the popularity of the game despite its age, a sequel to Among Us was canceled. The goal is now to update the current game. The projects underway for Among Us 2 will now come to the original title. A major focus now is also cheating and server issues which InnerSloth attribute to the rising popularity of the game. Likewise, accessibility upgrades and friending systems are coming as well. There’s talk about bringing the game to consoles, but the chat function is integral to the game. PS4 and Xbox One players would struggle to communicate in real-time with other players. For now, the game stays exclusive to mobile and PC.
If you’re a fan of the game, then let us know in the comments! Among Us is having a banner year despite all the chaos occurring. The InnerSloth team has a lot to be proud of and it’s great seeing their hard work rewarded.
Featured Image Credit: InnerSloth
Taylor is the Gaming Editor of Comic Years and a lifelong fan of video games. He holds two degrees in Political Communication and wrote a Master's Thesis on resistance movements, race, and the exploitation of college athletes. His wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards keep him sane.