SpyParty -- it's one of the most-anticipated independent games ever, under development since 2009. The game has been slowly building buzz through a paid beta, where players can already get their hands on an early version of this unique combo of spying, subtlety and shooting.
In this two player game, one person plays the spy and the other a sniper. The spy's job is to carry out a series of tasks at a cocktail party without getting caught. The sniper, looking into the room from an exterior vantage point, must try to spot the spy in action, aim and pull the trigger. Shoot the wrong person, it's game over. If the spy completes his/her tasks, it's game over.
The end product is, much like a good spy movie, both suspenseful and thrilling and results will vary wildly depending on your state of mind -- and your opponent. Play with a good friend, you might have a better chance at guessing their next move (or maybe not), play with a stranger and all bets are off. SpyParty creator Chris Hecker says that this game takes aim at experienced gamers, but after playing it, I can see it just as easily appealing to people of all ages who love a good mystery -- Clue players, Agatha Christie fans or those, like my mother-in-law, who still tune in to watch Jessica Fletcher solve mysteries in Murder She Wrote reruns.
SpyParty has been (and still is) in beta, which means that the game is not complete yet (and Hecker is staying mum about a release date and/or platforms). Until now the art in the game has consisted of blocky placeholder characters and backgrounds, but now Hecker has unveiled the game's art style, which he describes as timeless, created that way so that the game will never look dated. He cites illustrators J.C. Leyendecker and Harry Beckhoff as inspiration, in addition to the animated movie The Incredibles.
Gallery: SpyParty Gallery
"I've got Vogue magazines laying everywhere and Esquire, and I'm like, that looks good and that doesn't. You can imagine this whole couture aspect to it where you want it to be stylish in a way that's styled, like the way a costume designer for a film would work," Hecker says.
Stay tuned for the full interview with Hecker about SpyParty, the game's art (created by John Cimino who worked with Hecker on Spore several years ago) as well as how this game fits -- or doesn't fit -- in the world of social games.
In the meantime, those interested in participating in the SpyParty beta can sign up here.