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Snail Games and Wandering Wizard are announcing West Hunt, a social deduction game set in the Old West. Snail Games is a global developer and publisher, best known for Ark: Survival Evolved. The global developer and publisher is teaming up with Wandering Wizard to split the publishing duties on behalf of West Hunt developer NewGen.

“West Hunt has allowed Snail Games to step into new territory with the growing social deduction genre,” said Snail Games’ Peter Kang. “The unique blend of mechanics combined with the classic Old West setting is sure to provide tons of hilarious moments, and we can’t wait to see what kind of trouble players get up to in West Hunt.”

West Hunt is very much a game in the same vein as Spy Party. Players take on the role of either the Sheriff or the Outlaw to compete against one another in a town full of villagers. The Outlaw needs to complete a set of tasks in order to win; things like bribing the bartender, poisoning the water supply and praying for forgiveness.

With each completed task the Outlaw gains notoriety, which increases their notoriety. As the notoriety increases the Sheriff is fed information to track them down and kill them. The Outlaw can also take on optional side missions to reduce their notoriety and remain hidden from their opponent.

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Playing as the Sheriff is both much simpler and way more difficult. There’s only one goal: shoot the Outlaw. Careful observation is the name of the game. The Sheriff can receive hints via mailboxes scattered around the town that feed them information about their opponent. But if they guess wrong and shoot an innocent villager the Outlaw wins the round.

West Hunt is incorporating a few interesting twists on the formula, too. Randomized skins keep the Outlaw from being outed immediately. Randomized hint locations help, too. The Sheriff can’t just memorize an optimal route for hint gathering their way to an easy win. In-game voice chat gives players the ability to taunt and bluff one another during the match.

The most interesting part, though, is that West Hunt isn’t just a two player game. It has a one versus one mode, but also offers a two versus two mode.

Anyone that’s played a lot of Spy Party can probably imagine the spike in difficulty an extra player on each side will cause. With two Sheriffs on the prowl it’s twice as likely to lose the match with a bad shot or a lack of communication. Depending on whether or not both Outlaws need to complete tasks, or if only one needs to, the strategies there will vary by a huge amount.

I’ve got my fingers crossed for this one. Back when Spy Party was first announced I was sure that style of game was going to explode onto the scene. I’m calling it out: I was totally right. It just took a few more years than I thought.

West Hunt is releasing in early access on June 14.

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