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Video Game / Deceive Inc.

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Blend in. Break out.note 
"No trick is too dirty when you work for DECEIVE INC."
Game description

Deceive Inc. is a spy-themed Social Deduction Battle Royale Game by Sweet Bandits Studios.

You are an agent for Deceive Inc., a secret corporation of the world's greatest spies. In order to take down Evil Overlords across the globe, Deceive Inc. sends teams of spies to infiltrate their secret bases, be they luxurious private villas or underwater hotels. Take their Macguffin and their evil plans will be stopped.

The catch? Deceive Inc. operates on a very unique policy - only the agent who escapes with the package will get paid. The spies you've snuck in with are not your friends today. As you're making your way to the vault, use disguises, hacking, gadgets, and occasionally, good old brute force. You'll need to do whatever it takes to overcome guards, security systems, and, most of all, rival spies who will gladly put a bullet in your head if it means they'll get the package.

The game was first announced to the public in 2019, where it was demoed at gaming conventions such as PAX. The game was released for PC, Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X|S on March 21st, 2023.

Deceive Inc. provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Ambiguously Evil: Deceive Inc. itself is a bit...shady, and Cavaliére is actively investigating it.
  • Anachronism Stew: It's hard to pin down when, exactly, the game takes place. The aesthetics are reminiscent of 70s-Tuxedo and Martini spy fiction, but the VIP of Diamond Spire is a self-described influencer.
  • Automatic Crossbows: Madame Xiu's weapon of choice is a crossbow with a revolving chamber.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Should you find the VIP (or VIPs, in Operation: Silver Reef), disguising as them will give you maximum security clearance. However, in Phase 1, the level 2 security clearance you get from a guard disguise will almost always be enough, as the only rooms you shouldn't be in are vault terminal rooms, which NPCs almost never visit anyway. In Phase 2, there's really nothing a VIP disguise will give you that a technician disguise won't. Combine that with the fact that the VIP is so rare that players will almost always shoot them on sight, and a VIP disguise is pretty much actively detrimental. The only two upsides are that the owner won't scold you should they find you inside a vault terminal room, which almost never happens—and that accidentally killing the VIP will instantly give a player level 3 heat.
  • Bad Boss: It's unclear who's in charge at Deceive Inc., but only giving out one paycheck per mission and making all your employees fight each other for it doesn't exactly foster the best working conditions.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Deceive Inc.'s targets all have nefarious plans, but Deceive Inc. itself employs several agents with questionable morals, such as Red, Larcin, and especially Hans, who stands out because he not only used to be a supervillain himself, but was forcibly conscripted as his punishment. Their agents are encouraged to fight each other in the field, which almost always leads to civilians getting hurt in the crossfire.
  • Blending-In Stealth Gameplay: The name of the game. Unless you're somewhere you don't appear to have enough security clearance for, an NPC won't suspect a thing from you while you're disguised. Other players, however, may be able to pick you out if they see you performing actions an NPC wouldn't do, such as picking up an item, sprinting in the absence of gunfire, or jumping.
  • Black-Tie Infiltration: Operation: Silver Reef and Operation: Hard Sell are both executed in the middle of formal events.
  • Booby Trap: Several gadgets serve this function.
    • The Goo Trap will explode into a puddle of movement-inhibiting goo when triggered.
    • The Tripwire will immediately ping any Rival that crosses it to not only the owner, but any other nearby Rivals, and removes the cover of who trips it.
    • The Hack Trap reveals any player who tries to hack it to the trapper.
    • As for agent abilities, Cavalière can set up a stakeout by setting all interactable objects in an area to alert her if a Rival interacts with them.
  • Brats with Slingshots: While Yu-Mi isn't a child, she's one of the youngest members of Deceive Inc. and uses slingshots that can be loaded with EMP pellets.
  • Catch-22 Dilemma: A well-placed Tripwire in a public area forces Rivals to lose their cover, especially if someone's watching them, either by tripping it or doing things that blows their cover, like shooting it, revealing themselves, or try to avoid it like jumping over it or immediately stopping before it and go around the long way, both which are not NPC behavior.
  • Changing Gameplay Priorities: At the start of the game, the goal is to reach the MacGuffin while blending in with the NPCs. Once someone actually gets the MacGuffin, though, the game shifts to chasing them down (not hard, given their location pings to all other players) before they can escape the map with it.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: Agents Ace, Squire, and Chavez are the three most commonly featured in promotional material, and are color-coded red, blue, and yellow respectively.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: All the NPCs you can disguise as each wear different colors to signify their security clearance: Staff wear green uniforms, Security wears blue uniforms, Technicians and Elite Guards wear purple uniforms, and the owners wear orange.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: Hilariously subverted if the owner sees you disguised as them. Not only will they not suspect a thing, this is one of the only ways to walk past them unsuspected during Phase 1 if they're hanging out in a vault terminal room.
  • Continuing is Painful: You can be revived by your teammates 3 times in Team mode, but each time, you'll lose some maximum health.
  • Elite Mook: The "High Alert" update introduces Elite Guards, who deal more damage, give more heat when attacked, and have level 3 security clearance (allowing them to access everything except the vault).
  • Falling Damage: Trying to take a shortcut off a big drop will lead to some heavy damage unless you brought a crash pad. And that's not even going into how suspicious it'll look to any Rivals that might be watching...
  • Flying Car: Used to extract the winning spy from the level.
  • Gimmick Level: "Silver Reef" is the only map with two VIPs instead of one.
  • Guide Dang It!: You can perform a Water Wake-up on downed NPCs by crouching over them, information not found anywhere in the game.
  • Healing Potion: Healing vials can be found and picked up by Agents. Up to three health vials can be stored at a time, and heals 20 HP each after 3 seconds.
  • Hero Shooter: The game is basically a more stealth-focused version. Each Agent brings a choice of one of three Weapons, Expertise (a button-press ability), and Passives, and can also choose two gadgets from a selection that every character has access to. The Agents are split into four categories:
    • Vanguards are a Jack of All Stats with abilities that emphasize improving their offensive or defensive power.
    • Trackers emphasize ambushing their opponents after tracing their whereabouts.
    • Scoundrels focus on movement abilities and tactics aimed at confusing their opponents.
    • Disruptors enjoy debuffing their opponents and a more gadget-oriented style of play.
  • Hidden Depths: Each NPC in the game has a dossier that tells you their name, hobbies, jobs, and personality traits. Well, each of them except the elite guards...
  • Holographic Disguise: All players begin with Cover, which lets them holographically disguise themselves as any NPC they get near. Your Cover will fail if you're attacked, attack anyone else, or get scolded by NPCs who see you in an area your disguise doesn't have the credentials for. The only way to regain it is to hide from NPCs until it regenerates. The hologram also provides some physical protection, eliminating extra damage from headshots until it's blown. Notably, the disguise the hologram projects faces independently of the player's view. Instead, it faces the direction of movement, meaning it is possible to appear as an NPC that is looking forward, but really you're looking elsewhere.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: "Silver Reef" is unique for having two VIPs instead of only one. They are identical twins who can be told apart by one having brown hair and the other being blonde.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Disguising as Staff is needed to get level 1 security clearance. While disguising as Security will get you level 1 and 2 clearance, this disadvantage makes Staff disguises less suspicious to other players.
  • Klingon Promotion: Exaggerated - forget promotions, even your paycheck has to be pried from your fellow agents' cold, dead hands.
  • Locked Door: The vault is locked, cannot be hacked, and needs a keycard from a printer to open it.
  • MacGuffin: Each level has one, and stealing it is every spy's goal; Hard Sell's is the Bull's Eye, an art piece containing a hard drive full of government data, Silver Reef's is a prototype for a new bulletproof fabric, Diamond Spire's is the highly addictive additive for Jati bin Teh's sports drink, Fragrant Shore's is Luana's mind-controlling perfume, and Sound Eclipse’s is Hazen’s powerful EMP device.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: If some of the voice lines after being downed are any indication, most agents aren't too bothered over being shot to death by their coworkers (though see Non-Lethal K.O. below).
  • Multinational Team: Deceive Inc. is comprised of agents from all over the globe. As of this writing, there's: Squire (British), Chavez (American), Ace (unknown, implied to be Middle Eastern), Cavaliére (Canadian), Sasori (Japanese), Madame Xiu (Chinese), Larcin (French), Red (Russian), Hans (German), Yu-Mi (Korean) and Octo (Spanish).
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Many of the agents' voice lines after downing a Rival or being downed imply that they'll be fine later. Also applies to the NPCs; all it takes to get them up and running after being shot down is a bucket of water to the head from another NPC.
  • Noodle Incident: Operation: Siege. We know it was a failed mission that led to Agent Knight's disappearance, several agents were involved in it, and it's heavily implied that the consequences forced all prior intelligence agencies to shut down, but the details are unknown.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: NPCs will never perform the following actions, letting savvy players see through your disguise if you do any with them watching:
    • Jumping.
    • Erratic or zig-zagging movement.
    • Eating food.
    • Entering areas they don't have the security clearance for (note that doing this will also alarm NPCs).
    • Picking up items.
    • Using ammo or healing stations.
    • Other actions such as standing still in front of a locked door or an intel device to hack it or sprinting for no apparent reason aren't dead giveaways, but may still attract unwanted attention.
  • Posthumous Character: Agent Knight. Maybe. They were part of a team with Agents Chavez and Ace, and their disappearance kicked off the current situation.
  • The Power of Love: Chavez can make himself completely invulnerable simply by looking at a locket with a picture of his two daughters.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: A variation. While Deceive Inc. is ostensibly a good organization dedicated to fighting supervillains, all agents of Deceive Inc. won't hesitate to shoot each other for the paycheck should they meet during a mission, as per company policy. Some love it, some hate it, others just see it as part of the job.
  • Real Name as an Alias: Where most characters have code names completely unrelated to their real name, Chavez uses his last name, while Hans and Yu-Mi use their first.
  • Retro Universe: The game's style screams 1970's Tuxedo and Martini fiction with its sense of fashion and technology, but is still ostensibly set in the present day; the target of "Diamond Spire" is a self-described influencer who is developing an extra-addictive energy drink for example.
  • Secret Path: Most terminal rooms feature a hidden exit that can be activated by interacting with something in the room. This gives you a safer way out if you suspect that another player is waiting to ambush you outside, but on the other hand a player that is savvy about the map layout can ambush you outside the secret exit instead with the knowledge that the average player is more likely to take it.
  • Sentry Gun: One possible gadget an Agent can take with them is a small sentry turret. In addition to functioning as a camera, it will shoot at any undisguised Rivals in range.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Social Deduction Game: One of the core mechanics of the game is trying to identify which NPCs around you may actually be disguised spies, while making sure not to alert other players yourself.
  • The Stakeout: A common strategy is to hide in a high-interest area disguised as an NPCs (or background object with the Holo-Mimic). Here, players wait until an enemy spy wanders in and begins to act suspicious, and attack.
  • Sticky Situation: Goo Traps will lead to these if you don't watch your step.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: Leaving keycards and devices containing sensitive intel out in the open, not paying their guards enough to care about intruders for more than a few seconds, having pretty much nothing in the way of surveillance or defense systems... The security of the Deceive Inc. world is so lackluster that the only real threat to Deceive Inc.'s agents is each other.
  • Token Trio: The game's cover art focuses on Chavez (Black male), Squire (white male) and Ace (female).
  • Underwater Base: "Silver Reef" is set in an underwater hotel resort that is currently booked to host a fashion show.
  • Universal Ammunition: Any bullet boxes you find will work for any weapon - even Madame Xiu's crossbow and Yu-Mi's slingshot.
    Yu-Mi: Do they fit with... would you look at that!
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Killing an innocent NPC will increase your Heat level, making you more vulnerable for a while. And should you kill the VIP, your Heat level will instantly reach maximum.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Nearly every VIP, despite having nefarious plans, has very good public relations.
    Civilian: The host is so mysterious and clearly not hiding anything! / This place has such good vibes! Not evil at all.
  • Water Wake-up: Accidentally shot an innocent NPC? No need to fear—all it takes to wake them up is a bucket of water to the head from another NPC.