Traitor! There’s something delightful about social deduction games like Among Us. We rarely get to undermine and betray our friends in real-life (at least, not if we want to keep the friends we have), so living out those fantasies in video games is always a treat.
Eville, a game from VestGames, published by Versus Evil, is building an experience around that simple concept, but adding all sorts of bells and whistles to make it interesting. 12-player games? Multiple roles for villagers and conspirators alike? This is a game that has an expansive view of social deduction, and wants to bring as many people along for the ride as possible (then stab them in the guts).
We’ve got so many questions, not least the best way to defeat our friends. It’s an ample opportunity, then, to wrap some interview questions round an arrow and fire them at VestGames.
Hi, could you please introduce yourself and your role on Eville?
Hey, I’m Hendrik and I’m the Game Director and a Developer on Eville.
Could you give us a quick rundown of the game?
Eville is a multiplayer social deduction game.
You play in the village of Eville with a bunch of other players, but conspirators hide amongst them – you just don’t know who they are. Conspirators try to murder the villagers and can roam Eville at night while the normal villagers are asleep. During the day you’ll try to unveil the conspirators and execute them during a vote and you can defend yourself with all kinds of different items you can acquire or use unique role abilities you’re assigned at the start of each match.
There’s something about this kind of game that gets us rubbing our hands with glee. In your view, why are we so attracted to social deduction games where we get to be the betrayer?
These games give us a social aspect we can’t really explore in other genres. Trust, deception and back-stabbing is something we don’t get to experience in online games usually – that’s what makes it exciting. Who can you really trust and whose lies can you see through?
The obvious comparison that’s been made a lot already is to Among Us, but the day-night cycle leads us more to party and board games, things like Werewolves. What were your inspirations?
Our biggest inspiration is Werewolves. We wanted to realize the concept as an online game and fully expand upon its potential. You can live out your roles fully – place traps, guard areas, place wards and items give you a chance to defend yourself at night amongst lots of other strategies.
Are games short and snappy, or are they more prolonged?
Games take around 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the group size. The bigger the group the longer it takes, but it also depends on the players themselves a bit of course. Some groups are chattier and some are less murderous, that all can have an influence on the match length.
Death isn’t the end in Eville, which is great, as that is often the worst part of social deduction games: you might die and not play anymore. Could you give us more information on what a player can do when they’ve been killed?
Dying has always been a big factor of people quitting or going AFK on social deduction games. We always wanted the game to keep going and prevent that. Dead players can’t return to the living, because they are pretty much omniscient and can hear the conspirators and other ghosts talk and roam around at night.
However you can learn ghost-exclusive abilities to turn people invisible, grant money to the living, heal players and many others. You may also ghost-exclusive quests that award coins for buying items, you can use on the living.
You are randomly allocated different characters. The Conspirator(s) are simple enough, but what makes the Barbarian, Shape Shifter and other roles so different?
Each role gives you unique ways to play on your team. The Barbarian can sprint and slow down players at night so he’s ideal for securing kills at night. The Thief can kill players like all Conspirators, but may steal coins and items from other player’s chests.
So while your main goal is the same, your activities during day and night will vary depending on the role you’re assigned, making each matchup different and other items and strategies viable.
How many maps are included? It must be a fine line between ensuring people don’t get lost, but still wanting maps to be varied.
We will be launching Eville with one map, but will be adding new maps as free content updates after launch. Our maps are fairly big compared to other games in this genre so it takes us some time to have the level of detail we’re aiming for. But a second map is already in the works and it will be very different and players get to explore some new quests as well!
12-player games with different roles sounds like it must have had significant technical hurdles. What issues have you stumbled across in getting this out there?
Yes, recently we had the chance to take a step back and reevaluate all content we have in Eville and balance our roles and items or even add new abilities. We also have to balance each difficulty with different player counts, as the distributed roles change dynamically the more players are in a match. It’s important to us that everything is balanced.
How are you ensuring that Eville feels right to play? How are you getting it into players’ hands to test it?
We’ve had a closed and an open beta in the past and we have some testers in our community who provide a lot of feedback about the role abilities, items and balancing in general. It’s also interesting to see what strategies players come up with to get an advantage. We also recently showed the game off to players at Gamescom in Cologne recently and the reaction was amazing.
What are the best stories from the games of Eville that you have played?
Probably winning the games you think are already lost, but still making it are the most memorable to me. Playing as a Ghost and confusing the other players is always fun – like turning the villager invisible that is about to murdered.
Which of the different roles is the most fun?
In the recent role rework we did we took a look at all current roles and adjusted their abilities and made sure they all are fun and balanced, so now for me personally it almost evens out.
If I had to pick on the Conspirator side probably the Thief and on the Villager side the Guard. Being able to fight the Conspirators and secure a win especially if the situation looks dire is really exciting.
And finally, who in your office is clearly the Conspirator?
Now that would be telling, it might even be me, who knows?
If everything goes to plan, Eville is due for launch on 11th October, 2022 – only a month or so away. So, start writing a list of all the friends that you don’t mind losing over a game. If Werewolves are anything to go by, you’re going to be shedding them pretty fast.
Huge thanks go out to Hendrik for giving us some time in the build up to the announcement and upcoming launch. Expect to find Eville releasing on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC. The Xbox Store and Steam would be our preferences. You’ll see it powered by Game Pass too.