The addition of player accounts next week will also bring a brand new player code of conduct to Among Us.
It seems funny when games about subterfuge and murder have reasonable and well-formed codes of conduct.
One brilliant example is Sea of Thieves, a game about literal (as in pillage and plunder, not copyright) piracy, that has one of the nicest communities you could ever run into. That’s in no small part down to its community management team and the brilliant Pirate Code. (And Xbox-owner Microsoft no doubt had some requirements for making sure its youth-friendly pirate game was as PG-rated as possible.)
But community management isn’t just for the Microsofts of this world, and when Among Us – the brilliant party game that’s a cross between Wink Murder and John Carpenter’s The Thing – blew up in popularity over the past 12 months, they needed to act.
Then a three-person studio, Innersloth promptly hired experienced community director Victoria Tran, formerly of Kitfox Games, to get a handle on Among Us’ exponential player base.
In addition to a new map and new features (following the cancellation of a planned sequel to pour resources into the original Among Us), Innersloth is adding a user account feature to Among Us next week.
Accounts bring with them lots of benefits, like the ability to organise friend lists and regularly play with your mates. This is especially important for a social game like Among Us, particularly one that can be played cross-platform (including mobile) where players can’t rely on Steam to encapsulate all their possible accomplices.
They also enable less-fun (but critical) features like reporting and banning cheaters and abusive players. The latter becomes even more important when your game is so accessible to younger players.
really happy the team let me write the Code of Conduct for @AmongUsGame, which will launch with our account system next week! 🎉
idek who reads these things but if you're interestedhttps://t.co/y7VwMj5fji pic.twitter.com/4QpIqHdaTy
— Victoria Tran 🧋 (@TheVTran) March 24, 2021
And if you’re going to start wrangling your players in this way, you’re going to need a robust code of conduct to lay out the ground rules, educate your players, and support your efforts in building a healthy community. Players can read the new Among Us code of conduct now, ahead of its implementation next week.
“Games aren’t just products anymore – they’re communities,” Tran told Thumbsticks via email. “They’re meaningful places where people can find connection, gather, and have fun with each other. And for us at Innersloth, the community comes first.”
“A strong Code of Conduct isn’t just an optional afterthought,” she says. “It’s a serious reflection of our values and drive to create a strong and encouraging experience. It’ll take a lot of work and I’m sure there will be mistakes along the way, but there’s value in trying and being transparent about it! So we’ll work together with our players to create more meaningful, positive spaces – starting with this Code of Conduct.”
As a developer or publisher, you own your online space and what is permitted there is purely your choice. Bad player behaviour is often permitted under weak “free speech” or “it’s out of our hands” defences, but you are responsible for your environment and everyone in it. It’s therefore important to be honest and upfront about what behaviour your community will and won’t allow. Doing so will allow Innersloth to foster a positive community and weed out the bad actors from Among Us.
Let’s be honest: It’s an indie studio setting an example that a lot of bigger companies should follow. Well played, Innersloth. Good game.
For more games industry news and views follow Thumbsticks on Facebook and Twitter.