Some of you may remember SpyParty from back in 2009 when it received great attention at that year’s Game Developer’s Conference. Lauded for its ingenuity and uniqueness, it quickly took YouTube by storm as vloggers the world over clamored to get their hands on the closed alpha.
Now, after being in Early Access Beta for over 4 years, SpyParty still has no release date in sight.
If you’ve never even heard of SpyParty, a brief explanation. The game is a 2-player experience where one player is the spy and the other is a sniper trying to identify and kill the spy. The spy’s job is to perform several objectives while attending a crowded party, such as talking to certain party attendees or trying to sneak certain items into their pockets. The sniper’s job is to identify which person in the crowd is the spy based on careful observation. If the spy manages to complete all their objectives without getting shot, or if the sniper kills an innocent AI, then the spy wins.
The game revolves around the spy trying to appear as much like a computer controlled AI as possible. If the spy player simply goes straight from objective to objective, ignoring all else, then the sniper will easily be able to pick out the player from the crowd. Conversely, if the spy stops and appears to talk to various party goers, then the sniper’s job could be very difficult indeed.
Even though each game rarely goes longer than 3 minutes, the hidden depth presented in observing behavior gives the game tons of replayability. There are plenty of Let’s Plays on YouTube that show how hilarious a player’s actions get just to try and blend in.
But despite SpyParty’s apparent popularity, it still remains in Beta, leading many to speculate on SpyParty’s future. After receiving regular updates for years, SpyParty’s latest update was back in January, with very little word from the developer since then.
That said, Chris Hecker, the game’s creator, has never been particularly on the ball when it comes to updates. At GDC 2010, Hecker then said that SpyParty would be out in 2 years. When that deadline came and went, Hecker humorously tweeted that the game is still 2 years from shipping.
@gronfors "according to Hecker, this game is about two years from completion." that quote is still true! :)— SpyParty (@SpyParty) March 14, 2013
Although deadlines seem to be nonexistent for SpyParty, Hecker still tweets continuously on the game’s development, and anyone can access the game by heading to the website and paying the $15 Beta entry price.
In addition, updates on the Beta can be found on the game's Facebook page. Recent updates include changes to the game's tutorial, and the revelation that some Beta players have logged more than 10,000 games of SpyParty.
As for when we’ll see the actual game released on Steam, it seems to be forever another 2 years away.