If you have children of a certain age you will already be aware of the phenomenon of Among Us. It’s a record-breaking video game of social deduction where players try and figure out who the traitor is while repairing their spaceship.
Goose Goose Duck has just passed that previous high water mark (447,476 player peak according to SteamDB) by attracting a new crowd of players (702,845 player peak according to SteamDB) with its own take on this social deduction formula.
To the untrained eye, it may seem like this is simply a matter of jumping on a band-wagon, but those numbers and the detail of the gameplay tell a very different story. The game not only offers more interactive levels but also adds a wide number of player roles and abilities along with the crucial proximity chat feature.
I spoke to Gaggle CEO Shawn Fischtein about this surprising success and how he considered these similarities to Among Us. “We’re not the same game in many ways. The game is designed from the ground up to focus more funny and silly rather than find the murderer. We have many more roles and game modes.”
What was the motivation behind this different direction, I asked? “We wanted to focus on bigger groups and bringing more people together. We wanted to avoid the need to modify or install things to get to features like proximity chat. Cross-platform play was also a priority.”
A big differentiator is Goose Goose Duck having proximity chat built in from the start, as Fischtein explained. “Rather than plastering chat onto an existing game to make it better. We decided to start with chat and work backwards. Chat is the game for us. It’s about communication and real-time sharing of information and chatting is what keeps the play alive. Restricting this just to meetings limits the fun and limited the relationships.”
I asked Fischtein what had led them to create Goose Goose Duck with this different take on social play? “Our background is in location-based social experiences. From interactive dinner theatre to escape rooms. This meant we had strong experience in refining how people play in the real world. Bringing that knowledge to digital, we realised video games were often missing some key moments like friend-finding and curated social moments.”
It will be interesting to see how Gaggle builds a consistent audience for the game going forward. Its approach of regular updates to add both roles and modes should broaden the appeal of the game. It’s hard to tell what the ceiling is for engagement in this kind of experience. Last year it would have been hard to predict anything attracting a bigger audience than Among Us, and yet here we are.
Goose Goose Duck is available on Steam, Android, and iOS. It is free to play with optional in-game purchases. It is rated ESRB Teen for “Violence, Blood, Crude humour”.