Social deduction games have been around for decades, but mostly as tabletop experiences. Though there are a handful of early examples, like the 2009 Trouble in Terrorist Town mod, the genre’s popularity in the video game space is a relatively recent development with early trendsetters releasing in 2017-2018 and Among Us becoming a surprise overnight sensation in 2020. But before the likes of Among Us and the many games thereafter chasing its popularity, there was 2017’s Deceit, a social deduction game so ahead of its time that it was not even called a social deduction game–since you outed the traitor with guns, the game is classified as a shooter.

That game is now getting a sequel, Deceit 2, and it aims to inject all the learnings of the social deduction genre that came after Deceit to make for an even creepier experience that prioritizes clue hunting, monstrous masquerading, and a horror-driven world. The game is also being made in Unreal 5, featuring an artistic direction that’s going for photorealism, much like the first Deceit. It sees you play as one of the members of the Truth Seekers Anonymous, who are looking to uncover the story behind an occult ritual gone wrong from decades prior. Their efforts lead them into a trap set up by a mysterious masked entity known as the Game Master, who hides eldritch horrors and monsters amongst the party in a bid to complete some strange ritual before anyone can escape.

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I got to play two sessions in the alpha build of the 6-9 player social deduction horror game. Both times, I played with members of developer World Makers for a full nine-player lobby. In the first match, I played as one of the seven Innocents, and we barely scraped together a victory. In the second, I was one of the two monstrous Infected–save for custom games, you always play with two Infected in Deceit 2–and just barely lost. I had a lot of fun both times, though not in a way that felt totally different and unique from what I’ve experienced elsewhere in the genre. The original Deceit may have been ahead of its time, but I worry Deceit 2 may be just another social deduction game playing catch-up to Among Us. Following my play session, I spoke to World Makers CEO James Thompson and executive producer Jord Fox about what players can expect from the full version of Deceit 2, which is scheduled to launch for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and PC in 2023.

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