There are a lot of spy games out there, but Deceive Inc. brings all the action and chaos of espionage to the surface. While there is a covert element to it, the game is built in a way where both subtle and unorthodox tactics could work. It aims to be an online competitive multiplayer with a variety of elements to accommodate different playstyles and a balanced challenge that everyone can enjoy.
It's been a long journey for the game and Sweet Bandits Studios, who have grown along with it over the years. Talking with Simon Chartier, one of the Deceive Inc. devs, we learn more about their spy game.
Building Deceive Inc.
"This will be the first breakout title for Sweet Bandits," said Chartier, who worked on the UI and sound design for Deceive Inc. Though this large online game was made by a core team of 18 people, the studio began with only three. "We tried to remain a small team of around 20 people to make sure not to dilute any form of creative input that all of the team can have," said Chartier. "We're growing bigger but we don't want to grow too big." The studio officially started in 2016 with Chartier joining a year later.
While it has a stylistic and colorful appearance similar to that of Team Fortress 2, Deceive Inc. has gone through a massive transformation. Though the current version of the game started development in 2020, it had to undergo a serious transition.
"We've worked on Deceive Inc. since 2017," said Chartier, "but it was on a different engine, so we had to scrap it all and start again from the ground up." The game has spent a lot of time in the workshop, which is understandable seeing as it's the first major Sweet Bandits Studios title, and it's going to be published by Tripwire.
In terms of the game theme and concept, Deceive Inc. was destined to be something more unexpected. "From early on we wanted to create something that's kind of niche, but has a lot of broad appeal as what the core gameplay loops," said Chartier. "Since the founders were very keen on spy movies and such, they wanted to play with the social stealth idea and try to make it work in a multiplayer game." As a result, Deceive Inc. combines elements of party and competitive gaming into one package.
What Is Deceive Inc. Gameplay Like?
Sweet Bandits Studios has worked to develop an online multiplayer game about spies trying to outsmart as well as outgun each other. In Deceive Inc., players have the main goal of deactivating terminals to access a vault where they can steal a gold briefcase and escape with it. When unexposed, each spy has a regenerating cover designed to make them look like random NPCs, but they can take on different disguises to access different areas and avoid drawing attention to themselves.
Spies also have access to gadgets and can collect intel in order to access different areas, unlock upgrades, and purchase resources. To add to the competitive element, each spy also has a unique weapon and abilities to change aspects of the gameplay.
With some of these elements, similarities can be seen between Deceive Inc. and other covert op games such as Spy Party. When asked if it served as inspiration Chartier responded, "Yes but no, we often get that question and I definitely understand why. There are some core elements that definitely cross over but it was not directly inspired by it."
He discussed how Deceive Inc. takes inspiration from the same themes and elements while still being a wholly different experience. Chartier also explained that one of the game's more distinct mechanics was the biggest development challenge. "We wanted to make a first-person shooter, and what was really hard to do was find a way to translate what you look like since disguise is really important." Though it has been implemented quite successfully, Chartier states that there are still some improvements to be made.
Deceive Inc. - The Upcoming Spycraft Multiplayer Game
As Deceive Inc. prepares for its upcoming launch, there will be four huge maps littered with activities and NPCs while players try to complete the mission.
"Each map has its own very exotic location and very different vibes," said Chartier. "We're going all in with the tacky and almost kitsch spy movie locations. We're going all in."
The team has already planned to launch the game on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X with crossplay available from the very start. With all the visuals, gameplay, and audio coming together, Deceive Inc. is shaping up to be a very enjoyable game.
"I'm sounding pretty confident with how it looks and how it comes out," Chartier stated. "Be cool, hydrated, because Deceive Inc. is coming in 2023."