Everyone’s eyes scan the others in the circle. Somebody in this room is a murderer. Somebody is the werewolf!
Werewolf is a party game beloved by many. The rules are simple. Everyone is dealt a role, either villager or a werewolf. Usually only one or two players are werewolves, and only the the werewolves know who all the werewolves are. Some games include other roles that grant players certain powers to separate the wolves from the innocents.
Each “night,” when the villagers go to sleep, the werewolves choose one player to murder. That player is out of the game. Then the next “day,” the village wakes up to find one of their own has been killed. The villagers can accuse another player of being a werewolf by nominating them for death. During this time, the werewolf players can also nominate and try to throw the villagers off their scent. The game continues until all the werewolves are slain or there are more werewolves than villagers. It’s a great game for someone who is good at lying and discerning truths from others.
Now video game developer Red Storm is creating a virtual reality version of this hit party game titled Werewolves Within. The game is played online through a simple matchmaking service. The player is dropped into a virtual world in the quiet village of Gallowston with other players who looks like sweet and cartoony characters.
Your in-game avatar moves based on the volume and inflection of your voice, but there are also hand-controlled gestures including pointing and crossing your arms. This version of the game offers the basic villager and werewolf roles, but also several other options with various abilities. The Tracker can listen for werewolf growls coming from other players. The Gossip can learn one players true role and one one player’s possible role. The Deviant wants to get themselves killed, and The Turncloak wants to assist the werewolves.
Another useful feature of the game is that it will automatically mute the mics of the players if one player stands to speak. This helps players be heard in situations such as accusations and defending themselves. Plus the digital “mask” of having an avatar makes it easier for players to lie. This really helps to balance out the game for players who may be cast in the werewolf role without the skills to fool the others. What this does is to create a less stressful environment. Because let’s face it, if you’re not a good actor who can remain cool under pressure, sometimes Werewolf can be so nerve wracking that it stops being fun.
Some may argue that the VR aspect takes away the fun of direct human interaction and that the point of Werewolf is reading the players. That’s a perfectly reasonable argument. My friends have great fun sitting around a living room and accusing each other. But for some people, a game life Werewolf can lead to anxiety and can end up being really uncomfortable. Werewolves Within offers the chance to try the game with less social stress. If that’s not your thing, nobody is going to force you to play.
Ubisoft will be releasing Werewolves Within for virtual reality devices this fall. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a village to decimate.
Image credits: Ubisoft