George Orwell’s famous parable, Animal Farm, is getting an adventure game from The Dairymen and Reigns creator Nerial. It promises to let you “experience firsthand the corrupting nature of power,” which sounds just lovely.
As well as deciding which animals to side with as society threatens to collapse into totalitarianism, there will be management elements to deal with. You need to “balance resources, defend the farm, and keep the animal population happy.” Fundamentally it will be a narrative experience in which “you decide which animals are most equal of all.”The game is being produced in tandem with the Orwell Estate and is written by award-winning interactive fiction designer Emily Short.
It will be interesting to see if there’s any way to subvert the farm’s inevitable spiral into dictatorial rule, or whether the game will use its systems to lock you into that tragic downfall. Games like Papers, Please have shown that nudging the player into a compromised, even corrupt position, can be effective commentary on the nature of power. There’s a rich seam to be explored here, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the devs do with it.
Orwell’s Animal Farm is due out in Autumn this year, and there’s a Steam page up if you want to wishlist it.