If you fancied playing The Man with surveillance ’em up Orwell [official site] but are wary of episodic releases, good news: all five parts are now out. It’s set in a country recently rocked by a terrorist account, giving the player access to a mighty online snooping system to uncover and investigate a network of suspects. This final release is quite timely, given the surveillance bill Parliament just voted through. The first episode is free so all are welcome to a glimpse of our future.
So! The Man has a snazzy new surveillance program, named Orwell, with powers to monitor all online communications and Internet history and access any computer. When terrorists attack the capital, you the player get brought in to try the system out. Starting from one single person, you investigate them and their network of contacts, trying to uncover the truth – and the guilty.
Would you be surprised to learn that maybe everything’s not as simple as it seems and that maybe this power is bad?
Developers Osmotic Studios have been strict with their episodic schedule, releasing new parts every Thursday. I like the sound a new slice of story every week. I wasn’t interested in playing episodic games episodically until I played Life Is Strange as it came out, when I began to really enjoy the tension of the cliffhangers and the enforced period of reflection. Still, I suppose we can recreate the Orwell experience with a little self-restraint.
Orwell is £6.99/9,99€/$9.99 on Steam for the whole season. You can grab the first episode for free there or from from IndieDB. Do note that Osmotic point out episode 1 “is a bit more guided and directed than the rest of the game” because, y’know, it’s introducing how it all works.