Tecnologia

Cuando ser un impostor está de moda

¿Se imagina ser parte de una tripulación espacial? En el fondo, es conformar un engranaje humano similar al de otras empresas: como tripulantes, tienen cada uno de ustedes unas tareas de las que encargarse para que la nave salga adelante.

Si una de las tareas se queda sin hacer, la nave no podrá seguir su curso. Por eso, es necesario que todo el equipo trabaje, y al fin y al cabo, en la nave solo están ustedes: la tripulación.

Pero… ¿Y si, mientras están llevando a cabo sus misiones y trabajos para que todo funcione, las cosas empezasen a estropearse como si alguien estuviera saboteando la nave? Efectivamente, entre la tripulación hay un impostor.

Esa es la premisa de la que parte “Among Us” (que significa “entre nosotros”). El videojuego que ha triunfado este 2020 y del que todo el mundo habla. Hoy por hoy, en Twitch (principal plataforma de visionado de videojuegos) ha superado en espectadores a “Fortnite” o “Fall Guys” y logra cifras similares a “League of Legends”.

Para entrar en números: la versión gratuita para teléfonos móviles con Android o iOS, ha superado los 85 millones de descargas según Sensor Tower. Y la modalidad para ordenadores, disponible a través de Steam por menos de 5 dólares, es líder mundial en ventas.

GRAN ÉXITO TARDÍO.

En realidad, “Among Us” no es un juego nuevo. De la mano de InnerSloth, salió para “smartphones” en junio de 2018, y en noviembre de ese mismo año llegó la versión para ordenadores. Su acogida fue más que tímida: lograban una media de 30 a 50 jugadores simultáneos. De hecho, en inicio era un videojuego que ni siquiera contaba con modalidad “online” y se jugaba de manera local.

“No salió muy bien”, dijo Forest Willard, programador del juego, a la publicación Kotaku. A su vez, el diseñador Marcus Bromander admitió una de las posibles causas de ese comienzo desapercibido: “somos realmente malos en marketing”.

A pesar de no haber tenido éxito, el equipo, del que además forma parte la artista Amy Liu (sí detrás de este éxito solo hay tres personas), siguió añadiéndole mapas nuevos y actualizaciones: “continúamos con ‘Among Us’ mucho más tiempo del que probablemente deberíamos haberle dedicado desde un punto de vista comercial”, confesó Willard.

Sin embargo, dos años después, las cosas cambiaron. Con el confinamiento, “Among Us” empezó a llamar la atención de algunos “youtubers” y “streamers” del mundo de los videojuegos y los eSports.

Así, desde el Rubius hasta Ibai Llanos, pasando por AuronPlay, Sodapoppin, o Willyrex, fueron varios los “influencers” y “gamers” que empezaron este verano a retransmitir sus partidas de “Among Us” en Twitch y a subir vídeos del juego a Youtube. Incluso el futbolista argetino “Kun Agüero” ha retransmitido partidas.

De hecho, según sus creadores, el impulso inicial comenzó incluso antes, en Corea del Sur y en Brasil (por 2019) hasta extenderse por México y Estados Unidos, según Willard.

Ahora, “Among Us” es líder en ventas de Steam, y desde InnerSloth han admitido a Kotaku, que lo ocurrido en Twitch les ha generado 50 veces más ventas que cualquier otro evento. Solo con las compras dentro del juego (de mascotas, vestimentas y otros accesorios para los personajes), han logrado ingresar 3,2 millones de dólares.

Según la empresa Sensor Tower, el crecimiento interanual del juego durante agosto fue del 661%. De tener entre 30 y 50 jugadores simultáneos, ahora, en ocasiones, se juntan más de un millón y medio.

“Creo que el clima actual de distanciamiento social ha amplificado un potencial que ya existía”, dijo Willard”.

FUTURO PROMETEDOR.

“Me gusta porque es un juego que me permite compartir tiempo con mis amigos sin necesidad de reunirnos físicamente”, dice la “gamer” Lucía a Efe, quien resalta que “es muy fácil de entender, muy sencillo, pero pese a todo te hace pensar y además es muy colorido”.

Las mecánicas de “Among Us” lo hacen asequible para todo tipo de personas: al inicio de la partida, cada jugador sabe si es tripulante o impostor. En base a eso, deberá resolver las tareas de la nave (alinear cables de colores, acabar con unos asteroides, o sacar la basura espacial, etc) o sabotearlas y asesinar sin ser visto. Todo sin necesidad de un despliegue de habilidades, ya que se resuelven con clicks en la pantalla.

En caso de que alguien encuentre un cadáver, tiene la opción de reportarlo para dar lugar a una votación. Es en este momento cuando los jugadores pueden hablar a través del chat para argumentar quién creen que es el traidor. Si hay una votación exitosa, el traidor será expulsado de la nave.

El juego finaliza, o bien cuando los tripulantes reparan del todo la nave, o averiguan quien es el impostor (o impostores), o bien cuando los impostores logran sabotear la nave o matar a la mayoría de tripulantes. Ambos bandos tienen mecánicas solo al alcance de ellos, y otras comunes.

“Las partidas son realmente rápidas, puedes jugar varias en una sola tarde”, explica a Efe Roberto, otro jugador. “Así te da tiempo a ser tanto impostor como tripulante, y a comprenderlo todo en una o dos partidas si eres nuevo, para después poder pensar un poco más las estrategias”.

InnerSloth está preparando la segunda entrega, en la que iban a aumentar el número máximo de jugadores de los 10 actuales a 12 o 15, añadir más roles para la tripulación y darle al juego más progresión.

Sobre si llegaría además a las consolas, Willard ya se había pronunciado durante un streaming: “es algo de lo que estamos empezando a hablar”, y dio la clave de uno de los requisitos al explicar que “hace falta un sistema de comunicaciones rápidas”.

Además, en InnerSloth también había desvelado que “Among Us 2” saldría primero en ordenadores y más adelante en móviles para garantizar una correcta migración. Sin embargo, el 24 de septiembre la compañía anunció una inesperada noticia: “hemos decidido cancelar ‘Among Us 2’ y centrar por tanto nuestros esfuerzos en mejorar ‘Among Us 1’”, dijo Marcus Bromander en un comunicado.

ATRACTIVA TRAICIÓN.

El argumento en el que se basa “Among Us” no es algo nuevo. Adornado con los coloridos trajes de astronautas, y aderezado con las curiosas misiones y la ambientación espacial y la estética futurista y pintoresca, el juego no es sino una reinvención de otros clásicos anteriores incluso a los videojuegos. Amy Liu admitió a Kotaku que “‘Among Us’ está inspirado en ‘Mafia’”.

Ese juego clásico es similar, a su vez, a “El Asesino” o “Pueblo Duerme” (adaptado a juego de mesa con el popular “Hombres Lobo de Castro Negro”), al tradicional juego “Policía y ladrón”, que se juega con mímica y una baraja española, o a juegos de tablero como el “Cluedo”. Todos ellos tienen una premisa similar: descubrir al asesino o al traidor o traidores.

A su vez, el bando de los impostores o criminales tiene su propio objetivo, normalmente acabar con el resto de jugadores, sabotear alguna tarea y, sobre todo, evitar ser descubiertos por el resto. Por eso, estos juegos incluyen a veces mecánicas sociales e interpretativas, y exigen que las identidades y los roles sean secretas: la habilidad de un jugador para convencer al resto de que es “de los buenos”, forma parte del juego.

En “Among Us”, todo vale y, a la vez, nada es real. Parejas, familiares, amigos, compañeros de trabajo o completos desconocidos, pueden coincidir en varias partidas. Y en cada una de ellas, el impostor puede variar. Los aliados y enemigos cambian. Y una vez se termina de jugar, todo sigue como hasta entonces. La adrenalina y la dopamina de la traición y el descubrimiento se quedan dentro de la pantalla. Fuera, solo está la diversión.

Una diversión encapsulada en un juego asequible para casi cualquier bolsillo y edad, colorido pero sencillo, fácil de entender tanto para “gamers” como para los no acostumbrados a videojuegos, de partidas rápidas y mecánicas simples, pero con posibilidades estratégicas.

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