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Among Us dev recounts how the game took flight, including early game ideas

Prep the airlock and join your crewmates—the Innersloth developers are giving us the inside scoop into how Among Us came to be.

Can you please tell us your name and role in creating Among Us?

Hi, I’m Forest Willard, co-founder and programmer at Innersloth. We’re a team of four, mainly based in Washington state, and includes Marcus Bromander, Amy Liu, and Victoria Tran.

We made the game Among Us, which is a multiplayer game about teamwork and betrayal in space!

Where did you all come up with the concept for Among Us? Did the gameplay go through different iterations before hitting its final form?

Among Us was Marcus’ idea based on a combination of a Mafia-like game he played as a kid and the movie, “The Thing.” In the original game, you would draw a role card and roam around a house aimlessly while “the mafia” person secretly “killed” players by drawing a finger across someone’s neck.

That core of creating and reporting dead bodies is still present in Among Us, but we wanted to alleviate the need for an interesting house layout and boring wandering, so we changed the theme to space and added tasks. The tasks changed several times in early development. Originally, the ship was always in crisis while the crewmates attempted to hold it together and Impostors could do tasks wrong to hinder players. We found this was too stressful and didn’t leave much time for detective work and informed meeting conversations.

Since the game was released, have you seen player behaviors that surprised you? Are people playing the game in ways you didn’t expect?

Yes! It’s really great to hear about people adjusting the rules to play in new ways. There are a lot of different variations that have been created in the game, and one of the most popular things is people will turn down the lights for the impostor and play “Hide and Seek.” We love it!

How long did development take? What were some roadblocks that you all ran into?

Among Us was originally so much smaller, so it only took about seven months to make. We started in November 2017 and released to mobile with only the local mode in June 2018. We got enough feedback from people who wanted to play but couldn’t get together. I added online support which launched on PC in September the same year.

Our oldest fans will know, but the game was horribly buggy—and had even worse server issues than players saw recently—for several months afterwards. It was a lot of work, even with just a few thousand players, but because I managed it myself, I coded systems and developed workflows that make it easier to manage big groups by myself. It’s really paying off now!

When you’re playing with your team, does each team member have a go-to or favorite cosmetic?

I personally love the crewmate pet. I always have it on. And I try to be Cyan when I can.

Marcus mixes up his cosmetics a lot, Victoria usually enjoys having the sticky note as hers, and Amy’s go-to is Yellow with the egg hat and space doggy.