Whatever goes upon two thumb-sticks is an enemy: Orwell’s Animal Farm is becoming a video game

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

George Orwell, Animal Farm

If you have never read Animal Farm, chances are you have heard of it. If you have not heard of it, you have certainly felt its influence on culture without even realising it.

Orwell’s use of farmyard animals as a political allegory set the standard for bringing politics into places where you would not expect politics, and what is more “why did you put politics into this?” than modern-day video games?

I jest, of course, the entire thrust behind Orwell’s work is that politics is evident in everything but don’t tell gamers on Twitter that or they’ll roll their eyes into the back of their heads and emit a loud screeching sound.

Thankfully, game developers understand Orwell’s core philosophy and are not afraid to use the medium to talk about politics, which is why it’s both utterly surprising and yet not surprising at all, that a new game is coming this year based on Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Today marks 75 years since George Orwell’s wildly influential literary novel Animal Farm was first published. Now a small collective of indie developers and the estate of George Orwell are proud to announce that the legendary work is set to make a fresh impact via the artistic format of the 21st Century: video gaming. 

Animal Farm will be an adventure game that immerses players in Orwell’s story. 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. Players must devise strategies to balance resources, defend the farm, and keep the animal population happy. With its evocative 1930s painterly graphics, Animal Farm puts the player at the centre of an allegorical revolution and enables them to experience firsthand the corrupting nature of power.”

Animal Farm is being made by an indie dev collective, comprised of The Dairymen (Andy Payne founder of Just Flight, AppyNation and Imre Jele founder of Bossa Studios), and Nerial, the creators of the BAFTA-nominated Reigns series. And it looks and sounds absolutely terrific so far.

The trailer is appropriately toned and the art style is the right mix of grave and twee. The creators are absolutely worth trusting in, Reigns is among the best games I have ever played on my phone, and it feels like they are doing everything right here. Check out a few more images below.

This is an adaptation that no one was asking for, that means they are making this from a place of genuine passion for the work, and a desire to use a new medium to convey its powerful timeless message to a potentially new audience.

Animal Farm is coming to PC and Mobile devices this autumn. It is available to wish list on Steam right now.

andrewshaw andrewshaw

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

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Whatever goes upon two thumb-sticks is an enemy: Orwell’s Animal Farm is becoming a video game | The Digital Fix