It’s barely off the ground yet, nothing more than the final draft of a pitch, but it sure has our attention. A few game developers are keen on turning George Orwell’s Animal Farm into a video game. The members involved are Imre Jele (RuneScape), George Baker (Fable), Kate Saxon (The Witcher 3), Jessica Curry (Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture) and Andy Payne (Gambitious).
In an interview with Polygon, Imre Jele doesn’t mention if they have a proper studio yet, but they do explain their rough idea of how the gameplay will work. Jele wants to make sure that players are “able to identify with both oppressors and the oppressed.”
To do so, there will be two sections of the game. One will follow the life a particular barnyard animal as they struggle through their rapidly changing world. The second will be more like a strategy game, involving choices for the player to make about the management and maintenance of the farm.
Jele emphasized that this game will provide the unusual perspective of showing “the motives of the powerful” and how they fit into “an increasingly divided society bearing hallmarks of totalitarian regimes.”
What Jele said next, I’m afraid I have to quote in full, as it is one of the most inspiring things I have heard a game developer say in a very long time:
“It’s the right time for us as creators as we are mature enough to take on the responsibility, it’s the right time for the audience as gamers are keen to experience more sophisticated themes and subject matters, and it’s the right time for society as we’re heading into an era uncomfortably similar to the universe described by George Orwell.”
Again, nothing short of inspiring. Jele is absolutely correct that artists of all mediums, especially that of video games, have the responsibility to offer perspectives and experiences that some people might not otherwise discover.
As is also stated the game’s website, these current political conditions are the perfect time to think about Animal Farm and the lesson Orwell has tried to so hard to teach us. even with all of that aside, Animal Farm seems like a natural progression from We Happy Few, a game that adapts Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World. Showing us yet again, where extremes can lead us.
Again, there is no release date, nor any proper title or platform for the game to appear on. Hopefully we will learn more soon in the coming years.