London, December 10th 2020.
Seventy-five years after George Orwell’s classic literary novel “Animal Farm” was first published in 1945, his influential story can now be experienced by gamers with the launch of PC (via Steam) and mobile (via the App store and Google Play store) versions today.
Licensed by the Orwell Estate, with the approval of the official Orwell Foundation, and developed by Indie Development Collective The Dairymen and Nerial – creators of the BAFTA-nominated Reigns series – Animal Farm is a narrative, choice-based game that puts players at the centre of a revolution. By choosing which of the animals’ wishes they follow – and who is ignored or sidelined – players will influence the critical events that define the fate of Manor Farm. Players must devise strategies to balance resources, defend the farm, and keep the animal population happy.
This is a knowingly political act of game development: The Dairymen co-founder Imre Jele grew up in Hungary behind the Iron Curtain, where he experienced totalitarianism first-hand. The development team has watched with dismay as they’ve seen alternative truths, fact manipulation, and populism deployed in numerous countries around the world in the last decade or so. And they feel that Orwell’s allegory has never been more relevant.
Imre Jele – Project Founder added :
“We’ve watched 2020 unfold with despair and with a growing dread that our game is becoming more and more relevant every day. Even after a decade of populism, oppression and totalitarianism on the rise, it felt more vital than ever to bring Orwell’s study of inequity, control, and corrosive power to gamers.”
Emily Short – writer added:
“Videogames excel at answering ‘what if?’ questions. Our goal was to capture Orwell’s observations in a form that players can explore. We want players to experience the different animals’ viewpoints through the choices they make. Like this, our version of Animal Farm will bring the timeless fable to a new generation.”
George Orwell said in 1945:
“Can you not understand that liberty is worth more than just ribbons?”
– George Orwell, Animal Farm
Key features of George Orwell’s Animal Farm videogame include:
Pick Your Own Adventure
Experience a dynamic story that chooses the next scene depending on what’s happened so far. Each scene, in turn, changes what happens next.
Cultivate, subvert, or sacrifice the different animals who live on Manor Farm and see their different political strategies play out.
Guide Manor Farm through seven years of Animalism. Can the player avoid political manipulation and descent into decadence?
Manage the affairs and feelings of Manor Farm’s animals as the fortunes of the farm evolve.
Strategically manage the resources and the defence of Manor Farm
Rally against the two-legged enemy: human beings.
Prepare for battle by building the Farm’s defences and increasing resources production, including building the novel’s famous Windmill.
Idyllic springs, sweet summers, golden autumns, and bitter winters must all be navigated in each passing year as Animalism marches on.
Multiple Endings and unlockable achievements
Experience the political machinations of the pigs’ Animalism: Surveillance, Reeducation, or Bloodbaths.
Reach up to six destinies and uncover eight different endings.
Complete all 48 achievements in the Farm’s handbook.
Bring in new creatures to the Republic of Animals, and open up new possibilities for the direction of the Farm.
Price and Formats
Steam, Humble, GMG and Epic Games Store $9.99 £7.99 €9.99 (NB: there is a launch discount of 10% discount which expires in seven days)
App Store, Google Play, and Amazon’s App Store: $3.99 £3.99 €3.99.
The indie developer collective behind the game consists 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, who bring their unrivalled skills in streamlined and powerful storytelling to Animal Farm. The writer Emily Short added her expertise and voice to the project. Actor Abubakar Salim (Assassin’s Creed: Origins) provided the game’s narration. Salim’s performance was directed by Kate Saxon (Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, Alien: Isolation, The Witcher 2 & 3 and others).
PLUS! New Game Design Category Announced for The Orwell Youth Prize
The Orwell Foundation and The Dairymen’s Imre Jele are also working together on a new Game Design category for the Orwell Youth Prize. The prize is an annual programme for 12-18-year olds which seeks to amplify the voices that go unheard and aims to give more young people the tools, confidence and platform to make an impact and change the world around them through their writing. By creating a new Game Design category the idea is that more young people – including those who are typically underrepresented among entrants – will be encouraged to take part because they can write for a platform they love.
NB: The Prize is open to anyone aged 12 – 18 who is at school or college, from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. You don’t need to have participated in an Orwell Youth Prize Workshop to enter.
About The Dairymen
The Dairymen consists of The Dairymen (Andy Payne founder of Just Flight, AppyNation and Imre Jele founder of Bossa Studios), and is an anagram of Andy and Imre. The two-person team was founded to make Animal Farm into a videogame for our times and introduce the novel and George Orwell to new generations of fans.
Nerial, best known for the Reigns series of games, is an award-winning indie game studio founded by Francois Alliot in 2013. Nerial makes deep narrative experiences with simple game mechanics. All art has been created by Helen O’Dell, with code by Ludwik Bacmaga. The team is working with Emily Short, known for her interactive fiction, narrative design, and conversation modelling. Emily is currently the Creative Director at Failbetter Games. The original music is composed by Murugan Thiruchelvam.
About George Orwell’s Animal Farm
George Orwell’s fable of revolutionary farm animals – the steadfast horses Boxer and Clover, the opportunistic pigs Snowball and Napoleon, and the deafening choir of sheep – who overthrow their elitist human master only to find themselves subject to a new authority, is one of the most famous warnings ever written.
Rejected by such eminent publishing figures as Victor Gollancz, Jonathan Cape and T.S. Eliot due to its daringly open criticism of Stalin, Animal Farm was published to great acclaim by Martin Secker and Warburg on 17 August 1945. One reviewer wrote ‘In a hundred years’ time perhaps Animal Farm … may simply be a fairy story: today it is a fairy story with a good deal of point.’
Seventy-five years since its first publication, Orwell’s immortal satire remains an unparalleled masterpiece and more relevant than ever.
Jonas “O.J” Ek
The Gaming Ground
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