Amongst Us VR will likely be chaotic enjoyable on the Oculus Quest 2 and Valve Index
A new trailer just dropped for Among Us VR, and ahead of the reveal, TechRadar had the chance to chat with one of the game’s developers about new features coming to the VR port.
Released as part of the Upload VR Summer Showcase (opens in new tab) during IGN’s Summer of Gaming event (opens in new tab) (which is happening alongside all the other Summer Games Fest events this year), new footage shows that Among Us VR will be getting VR exclusive tasks and even proximity chat when it launches later this year.
But there’s more to the game than can be shown off in a couple of minutes of footage. We sat down with Mike Traficante, the game’s Project Director and a developer at Schell Games, to find out more about what players can expect when Among Us VR launches later this year.
(Image credit: Innersloth)
Schell Games has developed a crack for creating great VR games. Until You Fall, I Expect You To Die and Lost Recipes are some of the absolute best Meta Quest 2 games out there. As expected, Traficante and the team have pooled their collective knowledge from working on these titles into building a VR-ready version of Among Us, but not in the ways you might expect.
What is Among Us VR?
Among Us VR is a VR exclusive version of the hit social deduction game that launched in 2018 and rose to prominence in 2020. In Among Us, a team of evil Impostors works together to eliminate all the other players (the Crewmates). Meanwhile, the Crewmates must figure out who the Impostors are and vote them out – or finish all their tasks – before too many Crewmates have been killed.
VR can unfortunately induce a severe sense of motion sickness in players, especially if games require you to move around. To combat this, developers use what’s known as teleportation travel – but during testing, Traficante and the team discovered that this style just didn’t work in Among Us.
Thankfully, the team behind Until You Fall already had the answer. When players are moving around using the control stick, their vision will be restricted to a smaller circle in front of them, making the experience much less unnerving. From our own time playing Until You Fall, we can agree that this makes the game a lot easier to enjoy without affecting its core mechanics.
Additionally, from working on the spy-themed escape room I Expect You To Die, Traficante knows that VR environments have to feel real – and the quickest way to break that immersion is to find objects you can’t pick up and interact with properly.
As such, when translating The Skeld map into VR, the Schell Games team made sure to design the ship in a way that it was clear what was an immovable prop and what was a task Crewmates needed to interact with.
Mo’ Tasks, Mo’ Problems
One of Among Us’ most popular features is its tasks, minigames placed throughout its maps that players need to complete. Not only does this force Crewmates to spread out – making it easier for Impostors to take them down – but it also gives these roleless players something to do beyond waiting to be killed.
As was expected, tasks will be just as integral to Among Us VR as they were in the original, but don’t expect everything to be exactly as you remember.
“We have some tasks that came over almost untouched, but there are some tasks that are pretty different because you have to interact with your hands,” Traficante explained. “VR also presents new opportunities and so it made sense to add new tasks.”
As we see in the trailer, one of these new tasks – and a favorite of the development team – is Reaction Time. This whack-a-mole minigame has been added to The Skeld’s Medbay area, and not only will it track whether players have completed the challenge, but how quickly they can do it, too.
Traficante let us know that his personal best is just over nine seconds and he issued a challenge for players to try and beat this score, “If you can beat nine seconds, you’re better than the director of the game.”
Tasks don’t just give Crewmates something to do, they can also give your fellow players proof that you aren’t an Impostor. So-called visual tasks like the iconic Medbay scanner have elements that can be seen in action even if you aren’t the one doing it – specifically you can see a large green ring pass over whoever is being scanned.
Not everyone is a fan of visual tasks – and regular Among Us gives you the option to turn off the hints they provide – but Schell Games loves them and has even added in new ones. All tasks with a visual component have kept it and some tasks have been altered to include a new visual element. However, Traficante wouldn’t let slip which tasks were changed.
Winning will be no easy task
The threat of new visual tasks shouldn’t have you worried that Among Us VR will be too easy on the Crewmates, though.
The game’s new perspective – being in first-person rather than the top-down view used by the original – significantly changes how aware you are of the world around you. According to Traficante, it’s really easy for Impostors to sneak in and steal a kill even if players are grouped up.
On top of that, Impostors will also have access to their usual selection of sabotages and the ventilation system that lets them teleport around certain rooms on the map. If anything, Among Us VR will be much harder on the Crewmates, but as revealed in the trailer, there’s a new tool in their arsenal that could lend a helping hand: proximity chat.
Using your VR headset’s mic and speakers you’ll be able to talk with your fellow Crewmates in and out of meetings. Traficante explained that, as a general rule of thumb, the way proximity chat works in Among Us VR is “if you can see the person, you can hear them.”
Sure, someone at the other end of a corridor will sound quieter than someone right next to you, but if you listen closely enough you might pick up bits of conversations happening in the distance or hear the sound of a body being sliced in two in a different room.
A new strategy players might want to try is hiding behind a door frame to listen in on what other players say as they walk by.
(Image credit: Schell Games / Innersloth / Robot Teddy)
Impostors can also benefit from proximity chat too. While hiding in a vent Impostors can look and listen for the coast to be clear before popping out to catch their next victim.
That being said, Traficante warned us that Impostors could equally be caught out by proximity chat. While they will be invisible while hiding in the ventilation system, impostors won’t be muted. If you laugh at a crewmate’s joke while waiting for the perfect time to strike, or like to run through your villainous schemes out loud, you will be caught out.
As such, crewmates might want to get working on their standup comedy set—it might just save your life.
Death isn’t game over
If your jokes aren’t able to save you, then, thankfully, you won’t have to experience dying in first-person. Instead, your screen will go black and you’ll get to watch a short cutscene of your Crewmate getting killed just as you would in the classic game.
Longtime Among Us players will know that death doesn’t mean you’re out of the game. Even as a ghost you have to get your tasks done, and dead Impostors can set off sabotages.
Ghosts can also continue to talk with each other using proximity chat, and they can even listen in on what the living players are saying. Obviously, ghosts can’t communicate with players that are still alive, but Traficante said that this setup can lead to hilarious moments as you listen to Crewmates be tricked into believing an Impostor’s lies.
If you don’t like online voice chat, don’t worry. Among Us VR will offer players both Voice Chat lobbies and Quick Chat lobbies. Quick Chat is a feature borrowed from the original game and lets players talk about in-game events using a comprehensive list of preset chat options.
However, at launch, your chat preference is the only setting you can change. “We have given players what we believe are the ideal settings for Among Us VR,” Traficante explained, “our hope is that this will make it easy for players to jump into any game and understand how everything works.”
(Image credit: Schell Games / Innersloth / Robot Teddy)
While you can’t turn visual tasks off nor increase (or decrease) the range of proximity chat, players will at least be able to customize their characters with different color suits and various hats. Unfortunately, this writer’s favorite hat (the wet floor sign) isn’t set to be available at launch.
Traficante did say that Schell Games hopes to continue to support the game after launch though, so we could see other cosmetics added alongside features like the ability to create custom settings for lobbies.
Once again Traficante was careful not to give too much away when we asked for specific details of exactly what updates we could see. He did say that the team will be “listening to what players really want and really need to make sure the game gets the support that will be most appreciated.”
Among Us VR is set to release during “Holiday 2022” (read November 2022 through to January 2023) and will be available on both the Meta Quest (opens in new tab) and Steam platforms (as well as PSVR 2 when that headset launches). Players will be able to play and chat across all VR versions of the game no matter what headset they use.