Project Director Mike Traficante enjoys playing as the Impostor, even if he’s not very good at it.
It was just over 4 years ago that Among Us launched on Android and iOS devices. In 2020 the social deduction game skyrocketed in popularity, establishing itself as one of the most talked-about video games of the past decade.
So you can imagine the excitement among fans when it was announced that the game would be receiving an official VR remake for Meta Quest, PC VR, and PlayStation VR headsets. According to developer Schell Games (I Expect You to Die, Until You Fall, Lost Recipes), Among Us VR features new interactions built from the ground up for VR.
That said, the core premise of the game remains the same: work with your fellow crew mates by completing various tasks around your ship without getting murdered. That is unless you’re playing as the Impostor, in which case it’s your job to impede their progress by sabotaging the ships systems or straight up killing other players while avoiding detection.
Recently, we sat down with Mike Traficante, Project Director for Among Us VR, to learn more about what it took to bring one of the most popular video games of the past decade to life in VR.
What new features can long-time fans expect from the VR version?
“Yeah, I mean, so the big new feature really is that it’s in VR, right? It’s just changed a lot. And I’m not trying to get out of answer your question, but because it’s in VR, you’ve got this first-person perspective with a limited field of view. So it’s close, it’s intimate, sometimes it’s scary.“
“It almost feels like if a bunch of kids got together and were like, hey, let’s play Among Us.”
Sounds like VR offers a whole new level of betrayal.
“Personally, I love lying to and killing my friends. It’s hilarious fun. But I understand with your coworkers it might get awkward.”
Among Us VR features new tasks built from the ground up for VR. What’s been your personal favorite?
“Yeah, I think we have a couple that we’ve made that didn’t exist at all. One that I really like, we have a retina scan where you sort of lean in and it scans your face. And I love it because it’s very VR, right? This would only make sense in VR. You actually stick your head and the scan line goes across your field of vision. And on top of that, if you look away, the task starts over. So you have to make your self pretty vulnerable.”
That sounds like something you might find in I Expect You to Die. Were there any lessons learned from that game that helped in developing Among Us VR?
“Oh yeah, definitely. We had some folks that were on that team. In fact, the one that I worked on, now that you mention it, is the car [level] and it has a retina scan. But yeah, certainly there are a lot of lessons. What feels good to interact with? What are players going to want to touch? What are they going to understand they shouldn’t touch?”
Was there any pressure working on a game with such a notorious reputation?
“To me it doesn’t feel so much as pressure as it does excitement. To know that we’re going to put out a game that people are going to care about is just thrilling. We get to work with the folks at Innersloth and Robot Teddy. They’re super nice. They gave us lots of freedom. They really approached us like, “Hey, you guys do VR. We trust you to make this awesome.”
From Skyrim to Resident Evil 4, we’re starting to see more AAA games make their to VR. How do you see Among Us VR impacting the VR industry?
“I think it’s hard to predict what’s really going to happen in the next month in VR, right? Like it’s a young field and it’s growing fast. But it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that people are picking up systems to try out Among Us.
Any plans for for future updates?
“Right now it’s all about getting the game out. But I mean, we’re close and we already know that we’re going to continue to add stuff to it. I think most of our questions about what we do next—whether it’s a new map or whether it’s more hats or whether it’s, I don’t know, wristwatches or something weird—it’s all going to depend on what we see players doing and asking for and where the community has excitement.”
I think I know the answer to this one already, but do you prefer to play as a crew mate or the Impostor?
“Oh man. I love the Impostor role, but I will cop to not being that great at it. I am not a good liar. I love when I get to be the Impostor because it’s super fun to kill people and it’s super fun to be put in a social situation where it’s okay and expected to lie and say horrible things. That, to me, is just great. But I’m a bad liar. I usually get caught.”
Among Us VR is expected to launch later this year on multiple VR platforms. For more information visit here.
Image Credit: Schell Games