Earlier this week, Epic Games released a limited-time game mode for Fortnite called Imposters, which is so obviously a Fortnite-flavored version of Innersloth’s ridiculously popular social deduction game Among Us. Though I feel bad for the Innersloth devs blindsided by this surprise homage, I’m having a lot more fun in Imposters than I have in Among Us.
Among Us is a charming little game with adorable characters bopping about 2D maps and completing tasks while attempting to avoid being viciously murdered by aliens. It’s a plucky indie underdog that managed to capture the gaming zeitgeist, transforming from a niche nod to classic social deduction games like Mafia and Werewolf and 1982 film The Thing, into a global phenomenon. In an age where high-powered consoles are producing near photorealistic graphics, folks are falling in love with these little color-coded blobs.
I love everything about Among Us’ success story, but I’ve not had much luck getting into the game. I’ve tried on several occasions, with my Among Us-obsessed 10-year-old twin boys cheering me on and/or calling me sus, but I just don’t know. When I enter a lobby and folks are calling out a game mode I am not aware of, I get nervous. When I see all of the variables set up on the side of the screen, I panic. I just feel like I am coming into the whole thing too late. Don’t even get me started on the voting screen, where I regularly condemn the wrong little space guy to death and feel horrible about it.
Fortnite Impostors is a much more streamlined version of the Among Us formula. The match variables are set in stone. There are generally 10 players, eight agents and two impostors. They meet in a pre-game lobby that’s an empty void, the perfect place for a little pre-match ska dancing, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Depending on the side you wind up on, you’re tasked with either completing a set of chores in a very Among Us-reminiscent base or sabotaging the efforts of the non-impostor characters or outright killing them. With Fortnite chock full of licensed characters, there’s an element of whimsy to each match, as bunny-eared aliens work side-by-side with club hoppers, superheroes, movie cameos, and other odd skins. The absurdity makes it fun.
I also enjoy the third-person camera, which adds a great deal of suspense to each match. Is someone following you? Dare you waste precious seconds turning around to check? Are they following you to murder you, or are you both headed to tasks in similar areas? How’s that dark corridor treating you?
Sabotage is a little more fun in Fortnite Impostors as well. There you are, minding your own business, getting some chores done, and bam, you’re teleported to a random area of the ship. Or boom, everyone is transformed into anthropomorphic bananas, making it impossible to tell who is killing whom.
Discover a de-rezzed crew member or call a meeting and it’s off to the voting room where the players stand around pointing at each other, shaking their heads, and using the basic communication tools to try and communicate their suspicions to their teammates.
This is just personal preference, but I prefer a physical space with all of the suspects staring each other down to Among Us’ more static voting interface. It feels more intimate and immediate. Plus, if I get bored, I can ska some more.
Impostor games are quick to enter, fun to play, and they don’t last too long. Plus, at the end of the match, whether my side wins or loses, I get experience points towards my Fortnite battle pass without having to go through a whole round of the regular game. I love easy experience points.
In the long run, I think this limited-time game mode could be good for Among Us. Playing round after round of Fortnite’s social deduction game has kindled a new interest in these sorts of games inside of me. And when Impostors goes away, I know where I am going to head to scratch that itch. It’s a pity the two developers couldn’t work together, but if I come out of this with a better appreciation for Among Us, everybody wins.
Is it bad to like Walmart or Amazon more than smaller companies doing the design legwork who the bigger corporations copy, undersell, and bankrupt?
Of course Fortnite is more polished. They have a much larger team and can pour all their wealth into perfecting an indie company’s idea; yes, Mafia and Werewolf existed, but Among Us was the one that figured out how to make a video game out of it (the series of tasks, the gameplay element of killing beyond just saying to somebody “this person is dead” with the point of a finger) and it’s lousy as all hell that Fortnite stole those specific ideas, especially given the amount of stress Among Us’s small team has endured to keep their baby afloat.