Among Us is a 2018 online multiplayer social deduction game developed and published by American game studio Innersloth. The game was inspired by the party game Mafia and the science fiction horror film The Thing. The game allows for cross-platform play, first being released on iOS and Android devices in June 2018 and on Windows later that year in November. The game was then ported to the Nintendo Switch in December 2020, and on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S in December 2021. While the game was initially released in 2018 to little mainstream attention, it received a massive influx of popularity in 2020 due to many well-known Twitch streamers and YouTubers playing it. A separate VR version of the game, Among Us VR, will be released for Quest 2, SteamVR, and PlayStation VR, developed by Schell Games.
Among Us was inspired by the live party game Mafia, and the science fiction horror film The Thing. The idea for the concept was originally given by Marcus Bromander, co-founder of Innersloth, who had played Mafia since he was a kid. In the original game, function cards were dealt and players wandered around a house, aimlessly, while another person secretly killed the players, drawing a finger around their neck. Most of its mechanics were still present in Among Us, but the team wanted to “alleviate the need to create an interesting home model and have someone wandering around in a boring environment”. So, they decided that the game would be space themed and also added tasks, which, according to Forest Willard, programmer at Innersloth, “changed several times during development”.
Development began in November 2017.The game was initially intended to be a mobile-only local multiplayer game with a single map.Bromander paused development on Innersloth’s other game, The Henry Stickmin Collection, in order to build Among Us’ first map, The Skeld.When they began developing the first map, they intended that the ship was always in crisis and that the Impostors could do tasks. However, they found this setup “stressful” and decided that it “[wouldn’t leave] much time for detective work and informed meeting conversations”.Willard described playtesting as painful and frustrating, as the game would break down during sessions forcing him to send playtesters new builds off of Google Play. The team tested the game with 8 of their friends and never tested the game with 9 or the maximum of 10 players. The game was developed using the Unity engine.