Parents of RPS, good news: a lovely-looking game about a funny farm of silly talking animals is coming in time for you to put it on your kid's Christmas laptop. Orwell's Animal Farm will launch on December 10th, the developers announced today, turning Georgie Orwie's picturebook into a game where you make decisions to determine the fate of the farm. I just know I'll be best friends with the big ol' shire horse, Boxer.
"By choosing which of the animals' wishes they follow – and who is ignored or sidelined – gamers will influence the critical events that define the fate of the farm," today's announcement explains. "Players must devise strategies to balance resources, defend the farm, and keep the animal population happy." So yep, things can turn out differently, with eight different possible endings.
While turning classic literature into video games is often a terrible idea (EA's take on Dante's Inferno has a boss battle against a Cleopatra with tongues blepping out her nipplemouths), it can go well (80 Days is so good in part because it rebuilds a familiar story in an anticolonial way). And some solid folks are behind Animal Farm. One of the teams behind it is Nerial, makers of the Reigns games, and renowned writer Emily Short is onboard.
"Animal Farm tends to be remembered for how its powerful characters destroy the truth through gaslighting, hypocrisy, corruption and greed – all distressingly recognisable to people living through the political events of 2020," Short said. "But the book also says a lot about why altruistic characters support horrible outcomes, and how values like hard work, cooperation, and loyalty can be warped in obedience to unsound goals. Video games are powerful at telling stories about systems and enabling 'what if?' questions. My goal was to capture Orwell's very relevant observations in a form that players can explore."
I am certainly curious, at least.
Orwell's Animal Farm is coming to Steam on the 10th of December. It'll also be on pocket telephones then, so it could go on your kiddywinkle's Christmas iPad too. Which it seems kids gets these days?
Disclosure: Emily Short wrote RPS's interactive fiction column, IF Only.