The murder-mystery game Among Us has become so popular that its developer has officially canceled the previously planned sequel to instead improve the current version. But what does that mean for the future of this budding franchise?
Here's everything we know.
The title’s three-person development team — InnerSloth — published a blog post on September 23, 2020 that revealed a series of sweeping updates would be coming to Among Us. As part of this shift in plans, development on Among Us 2 would cease altogether. InnerSloth abandoned the sequel because of how many people have been playing the social deduction game over during the end of summer 2020.
The developer tweeted that the title had hit 1.5 million simultaneous players on September 4 and it has consistently remained the most-watched game on Twitch from the tail end of August through most of September. Among Us was first released in 2018 and developer Amy Liu revealed that the game was lucky to have more than 10 concurrent players during its early months. So the team doesn't want to force its newfound player base to transition to a new title just yet.
"Seeing how many people are enjoying Among Us 1 really makes us want to be able to support the game and take it to the next level," wrote the InnerSloth team. "We have decided to cancel Among Us 2 and instead put all our focus into improving Among Us 1. All of the content we had planned for Among Us 2 will instead go into Among Us 1."
Currently, Among Us assigns four to ten players the role of a crewmember aboard a spaceship. One or three of the crew's members, however, are alien "imposters" whose objective it is is to kill everyone. Crew members try to escape unharmed by completing a series of mundane tasks assigned to them, and they can only win by successfully voting to eject the imposters out of the airlock or by completing their chores.
InnerSloth has slated some major changes for Among Us in the coming year, but the developer has prioritized polishing the game's core experience. Here's everything we know about the changes coming to Among Us.
When is the Among Us update release date?
InnerSloth didn't include a release date window in its announcement of the upcoming Among Us updates, but it did offer some insights into how long it could take for the game's next chapter to begin. For starters, the team plans to rebuild the game from the ground up so don't expect any changes to roll out soon.
The team stated that it will need to "go deep into the core code of the game and [rework] several parts of it." Adding all of the changes InnerSloth had planned for Among Us 2 into the game's current build will most likely take as much as time as making a sequel, which was estimated to arrive no earlier than August 2021 based on how long it took InnerSloth to develop Among Us.
"For the record, Among Us took about 6 months to enter open beta (early access) and 6 more months to leave open beta," InnerSloth's August 18 blog post reads. "Among Us 2 will probably take at least as long to enter open beta, and will probably spend longer there."
Now that Among Us 2 has been canceled, players will most likely get a handful of first-priority updates earlier than next year. But major additions to the game, like new roles and new games modes, most likely won't arrive until at least next year.
InnerSloth did mention that it wanted to roll out early access for Among Us 2 before it nixed plans for the sequel. It's still possible that all-new modes and roles will still get the same treatment, so fans and streamers might be able to test out these new additions as the developers are working on their finishing touches.
What are the first changes coming to Among Us?
InnerSloth laid out four updates that it intends to roll out first, these changes will most likely arrive before August 2021 but the developer has not specified a release date for any of the following additions:
- Major server stability improvements — InnerSloth programmer Forest Willard is dedicating all of his development time on making sure Among Us's servers can effectively deal with the millions of players that have suddenly began playing the game. Connectivity problems are the most complained about issues with the title, so the team has committed a third of its resources to bolster its backend.
- Colorblind support — Non-color based identifiers will be added to crewmember and color-based tasks like fixing wires. InnerSloth also stated that it plans on adding more crewmember colors to its 12 existing shades.
- In-game friend system — Among Us will eventually have a shortlist of friends each player can populate using other players' usernames. This should make it much easier to host private lobbies and join friends' games in the future.
- A new map — A fourth stage will be added it Among Us. InnerSloth only revealed that it will be inspired by Henry Stickmin a series of interactive, animated shorts created by InnerSloth dev Marcus Bromander, who is better known as PuffballsUnited on animation and game portal NewGrounds.
How much will the Among Us updates cost?
It appears all of the following changes will come to Among Us completely free of charge. Anyone who purchased the title on Steam for $5 or who downloaded the game for free on iOS and Android will receive these updates and future addition at no additional cost unless InnerSloth states anything otherwise.
The team previously discussed the possibility of adding an in-game currency that players can use to buy cosmetic items. This would add more of a play progression element to the game, where you have to pay a certain amount of games to earn a specific skin but this could also be the introduction of microtransactions for in-game outfits.
That change was slated as part of the initial Among Us 2 changes that will now instead be added to the original game. These plans seemed to not have changed, so InnerSloth will most likely update players on its vision of an in-game currency in the future.
Will Among Us be ported to consoles and Mac?
InnerSloth did not mention anything about expanding Among Us to any other platforms in its latest update. This suggests the game will remain a PC and mobile-exclusive for the time being.
Willard did state that a console port will be a big challenge for InnerSloth, when he played Among Us and chatted with a group of Twitch streamers on September 16.
"[A console port] is something we’re starting to talk about," Willard said on the stream. "But we'd have to write a system for quick comms ... for randoms, like Rocket League. I don’t know if we’d be able to implement console voice chat or not … One of the first things we’d want to add is a friend’s list type of account system … because it’s so hard to do anything without it."
While a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of Among Us might be out of the question for the foreseeable future, there's still hope for a MacOS version. Apple has recently rolled out Mac Catalyst, a developer tool that helps bridge the gap between iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps.
We'll need to wait for the next update on the sequel to know for sure.
What other features are coming to Among Us?
Before InnerSloth canceled Among Us 2, it had laid out four major updates that will now be added to the original game. None of these additions have a confirmed release date, but expect them to be rolled out after the previously mentioned, first-priority updates InnerSloth is now focusing its time on:
- Bigger lobbies — that allow 12 to 15 players to join at once. This change was specifically called out to better balance gamers with 3 Imposters, which are heavily skewed in the favor of the imposters in a 10-player game.
- Refined matchmaking system — with the option to queue for different game modes (like hide-and-seek) and a skill level ranking. InnerSloth hasn't gotten into the nitty-gritty of how this overhauled matchmaking system will look like, but matchmaking bugs are among some of the most frequently cited problems with the game. This is most likely due to the recent massive influx of players, but it's good to see InnerSloth laying out a plan to tackle potentially the game's biggest issue.
- Improved game moderation — that will include a report system players can use to call out hackers and in-game toxicity. Currently, there's no such infrastructure in place, which lets griefers and cheaters run rampant. This might not be a complete solution to these problems, but at least a crowdsourced report system won't let offered go completely unpunished.
- More game roles — aside from just Crewmates and Imposters that will enable all-new game modes. InnerSloth teased the idea of adding completely new game modes that aren't possible with the two current roles. Among Us 2 could include other detective-mystery modes, like Town of Salem or One Night Werewolf, where there are a dozen of potential roles players could be in any given round.
All of these are just proposals at the moment, but expect InnerSloth to offer more insights into their progress as the year goes on and 2021 comes around.
Major updates to Among Us are currently in development.