Among Us oozes popularity, but it wasn’t always that way. When it launched on PC in November 2018, the now-popular deception game reportedly flopped. It struggled to garner any attention beyond the handful of people who took a chance and bought the title on day one. Fast forward to September 2020 when, according to Steam Charts, Among Us peaked at over 400,000 players.
With an average player count numbering in the thousands, people are noticing things within the game world — things that do not sit right with players. Popularity is not the only thing Among Us oozes. Behind the colorful personas, playful hats, and deceptively cute avatars, darkness reigns supreme in a world filled with mystery and extraterrestrial lifeforms hellbent on murder and mayhem. Among Us is deceitfully spooky to its core.
It’s time to delve into the game world to find answers to what many consider the creepiest things in Among Us!
Among Us uses a classic horror movie tactic to up the spooky factor
Do you have a favorite horror film? Like many scary movies, where darkness plays a significant role in upping the spooky factor, Among Us leverages power outages — a form of sabotage — with its mysterious murderers to creep players out each game.
An Impostor aboard the ship or space station can kill the lights, reducing the vision radius for Crewmates significantly. Unless you’re stepping on your teammates’ toes, you won’t see anyone coming down the hall — not even an Impostor. With a little coordination, your team can bring the lights back online, but it takes time.
Who wants to sit around in total darkness? Add an otherworldly killer to the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster. Before players can fix the lights, a mini-game like any other task, the killers may strike once, twice, perhaps even three times if they get lucky. A well-calculated ambush is all it takes to wipe out Crewmates in the dark.
Finding dead Crewmates fosters a growing sense of paranoia
Picture this: You’re toiling away on a space station, working for the betterment of science, when you trip over a dead crewmate — someone you knew — and a single bone protrudes from their neck hole in place of a cute, colorful head. Creepy!
But like a diligent worker, you do your job. You report the dead body, discuss the ramifications of a killer aboard the ship, and attempt to pick out the Impostor from the Crewmates. The thing is, the killer looks like any old crew member.
Paranoia is key here. Who among you is the killer? Will they strike again, and if so, will it be soon? Never knowing the identity of the killer is all part of the fun of the game. But the mystery and deception create a sense of tension and a deeply buried fear that threatens to rise to the surface with each new body discovered in the halls.
The phantoms of the Among Us lobby
When is the last time you paid really close attention to the in-game lobby before a round begins? Chances are, like most players, you’re too busy chatting away, checking out everyone’s skins, or reading your messages. You’re not looking at the flickering ghost that appears before you, then disappears without a trace.
It’s not just the fact that a player vanishes before your eyes, only to return moments later. It’s the noise. If you pay close enough attention, you’ll hear it — an extraterrestrial reverberation. It almost sounds like the player in question is either teleported in or abducted by another alien presence hovering above the space station or facility.
Is an Impostor ship collecting specimens? It’s more than likely a quirky little addition the team at Innersloth included for when a player has difficulty connecting to a session. Still, it’s fun to speculate in a world filled with mystery and monsters!
A single misstep leads to a grisly end
Do you know what’s scary about space? It’s the impending doom. Should anything go wrong aboard a space station, even one mishap with a critical ship system, the entire facility decompresses and the Crewmates zip off into the void. Space is a looming darkness, an ice-cold expanse with no end in sight.
And now you know, at least in the world of Among Us, that aliens exists. If creatures like the Impostors are running around, what else is out there? If the Crewmates fail to complete their objectives, fail to repair a key system, then what happens to them? Do the Impostors murder them one-by-one? Or is their fate much, much worse? Though some players don’t stop for a second to consider the consequences of failing, questions like these ratchet up the tension.
The brightly-colored space suits scream fun. The darkness of space screams in hunger for bodies to consume. You don’t want to become an appetizer for the cold reaches of the universe.
The Impostors’ actions have terrifying implications
How many unique and scary species roam space in Among Us? Crewmates are certainly aliens but not the same species as Impostors, who somehow managed to infiltrate Mira and its employees. But what are the Impostors? It’s difficult to even fathom how an alien entity managed to sneak aboard.
Impostors can take on the appearance of Crewmates. They do not eat their kills, simply leaving the bodies where they fall in any hallway or facility room for easy discovery. This implies at least one of two things: either the Impostors do not care about being discovered or they are toying with the other Crewmates. The latter has terrifying implications: an alien race determined to kill off an entire species, the Crewmates, and enjoying it all the while.
As pointed out by Lauren Coates of SyFy Wire, you might notice some similarities between the Impostors and the race of shapeshifters and flesh-consumers found in John Carpenter’s classic 1982 horror film, The Thing. The plot centers on a research team in Antarctica stumbling upon a sinister discovery in the ice. The Impostors in Among Us take on the form of the Crewmembers and kill wantonly, just like the creature in The Thing, fostering an ever heightening sense of paranoia.
A tongue needle to the face is a terrible way to die
In some of the killcams in Among Us, fans see the Impostor open their mouth wide and shoot out a sharpened tongue to kill a Crewmate. Elsewhere, they pull out guns or knives to finish the job. If the Impostor is capable of turning an appendage into a weapon, what else can they accomplish with their shapeshifting ability?
What you see of the Impostors may only be a small slice of their true form. Perhaps by killing off Crewmates, their strength grows until Crewmates no longer stand a chance. If that day ever occurs, what will Impostors look like? How strong will they become? It would be interesting to see developer Innersloth flesh out the lore behind the Impostors and introduce a final form — perhaps something with protruding tentacles and a head full of massive, sharpened teeth?
Red is Sus
Overall, fans cannot agree on which color Crewmate spawns as an Impostor more often. For many, Red is sus. For others, it’s Yellow that proves problematic each round. According to reports from within the community, Red is most commonly the Impostor. Whether or not statistics and facts back up the claim, however, remains to be seen. Everyone appears to have their own data to work from.
Why Red? For starters, in the West, red is associated with concepts like power, anger, aggression, and danger. In Among Us, Red appears to be the face of the Crewmates. They also show up on most promotional material, and serve as one of the more eye-catching colors in-game.
No matter the odds, suspect everyone. If you notice Red is most often sus, then steer clear. A healthy dose of suspicion could be the deciding factor as to whether you live or die each round.
Polus may hold a terrible secret
Polus, an alien planet playing host to a planetary research base, released as an in-game map in November 2019. It features a spacious design, with plenty of corridors and nooks for Impostors to do their dirty deeds, plus door mechanics, a security system, a bathroom, and additional tasks to complete.
While Polus offered new ways to play and experience Among Us, it also raised some red flags. You might wonder what happened there — an entire planet, seemingly abandoned overnight, with a gaping hole in its surface.
According to YouTuber KEVTHEKING99-YT, who offered his own take on the lore of Among Us and Polus, Impostors originally came from the research base. On the planet, you can stumble upon a laboratory near to an excavation site. Based on his theory, whatever the Impostors are, the Crewmates dug them up from the ground on Polus, then they escaped captivity. The fact that Impostors do not travel through vents like on other maps, instead using holes dug in the ground, possibly supports this theory.
If true, this could paint an entirely new picture. The Impostors would, theoretically, be nothing more than terrified alien beings, taken from their home, who are now lashing out at their captors. Crewmates may very well be the big bad guy of the universe.
Hackers, Hackers Everywhere
Like with many popular games, hackers followed the crowd to Among Us. When a game becomes popular, especially on streaming platforms like Twitch, you can expect leaches to latch on and kill the fun for those who genuinely enjoy the title.
As reported by Tenable TechBlog, that is precisely what happened to Among Us. With a peak player count in the hundreds of thousands and thousands playing each day, hackers abound. They infiltrate open lobbies, use wallhacks to locate players, and spot the Impostor from a mile away, allowing them to call a vote and convince everyone to kick the Impostor player early on.
It’s terrible and terrifying when a game is ruined by a small group of players who willingly pay money for hacks and cheats designed to ruin the fun of others.