Today, developers The Dairy Men and Nerial announced plans to adapt George Orwell’s Animal Farm into a video game. The fact that today is the 75 anniversary for the novel makes the occasion a little more special, too. Animal Farm will be an adventure game that immerses players in Orwell’s story and forces them to make consequential decisions. The developers intend to release the game as early as this fall, though no exact date was specified.
The story of 1945’s Animal Farm was a significant one for its day, because of the events which rocked the world at the time. Communism was rapidly expanding, and Orwell feared the consequences of it. His interpretation of the ideology directly alluded to the brutality and harsh conditions of Stalinism in the Soviet Union. There were also clear references to fascism, which is no surprise, as World War II raged on during Orwell’s composition of the book.
It seems like good timing for the developers to bring such a cautionary tale into the public eye during times of global political uncertainty. Well, maybe. As if we need one more thing to worry about this year. However, Animal Farm will be a game, so it should be a fun way to learn. By choosing which of the animals’ wishes they follow, gamers will influence the fate of the farm and its animals. You must devise strategies to balance resources, defend the farm, and keep the population happy. With its vintage 1930s art style, Animal Farm puts you at the center of a revolution and enables you to experience firsthand the corrupting influence of power.
The game focuses on aspects of ethics, morality and problem solving. It’s exactly what people in positions of power are expected to balance every day. Unfortunately, history shows us that this was not always case. Imre Jele, the project founder for the game knows all too well, having grown up in a totalitarian Hungary.
“History seems to repeat itself,” Jele said. “And once more, Orwell’s classic has become a painfully relevant warning as some Western democracies started using tools and language eerily similar to those of oppressive regimes of the past.”
Experience is inspiration
There’s clearly a lot of passion in this project, and that’s what games need in order to connect with audiences. The team is also working closely with the Orwell estate to ensure they maintain the vision of the original work. Of further note, the game will be narrated by Abubakar Salim, who, among other roles, played Bayek in Assassin’s Creed: Origins. It will be interesting to see how Animal Farm turns out once it hits stores later this year. It certainly sounds interesting though. Animal Farm can be wishlisted on Steam.
Interestingly enough, George Orwell cropped up another time in gaming news within the last week. Epic Games is currently going toe-to-toe with Google and Apple over ”non-competitive practices.” Epic created a short Fortnite video that mocked the famous Apple advertisement that alluded to 1984 to illustrate the problem. Similar to Animal Farm, 1984 deals with totalitarian dominance of society and is an interesting, but complex concept to process. If you’d like to check out other games inspired by Orwell’s works, consider Ministry of Broadcast or Beyond a Steel Sky.