The Evo Champtionship Series is a hardcore, competitive gaming gathering dedicated to the purest fighting games. Street Fighter IV, King of Fighters XIII, Street Fighter X Tekken, Soul Calibur V. And now… SpyParty. Wait, what?
Yep, Chris Hecker's long-in-development one-on-one game of trickery, deceit and sniping will be making an appearance at EVO next week in Las Vegas.
On the SpyParty blog, Hecker explains that it's been a goal for a while for the game, which puts one player as a sniper whose task is find the other player, who is hiding in a party among a group of similar-looking AI drones, to be worthy of Evo's brand of intense, one-on-one competition.
It's always been one of my design goals for SpyParty to be regarded as a competition-worthy player-skill game, to try to attain the depth of a game like Counter-Strike or Street Fighter, but by emphasising a very different set of player-skills from the current crop of competition games. However, to be included in that pantheon your game has to be able to stand up to thousands of hours of play, and designing a game like that turns out to be very hard. Luckily, I'm patient, but I'm expecting it to take years for SpyParty to get to that level, if it ever does. Eventually, once the game was balanced and tuned and deep enough, I hoped people would start running tournaments, and maybe those tournaments would grow, and then, who knows.
Hecker describes being fascinated by Evo, but says that he hadn't put that much thought into the idea of SpyParty appearing there. Seth Killian then reached out about getting SpyParty into the event.
"Obviously your game isn't a fighter," Killian wrote, "but what's interesting about these guys is that they aren't just good at fighters–they're good at games, and breaking down systems, period. They like games that involve psychology, competition, or are just insanely difficult."
SpyParty may seem like an unlikely fit for hardcore fighting game players, but in fact is somewhat perfect. By pitting players against one another in focused, entirely different roles, it provides an experience that is entirely different than a traditional fighting game, but no less focused or competitive. Very cool.