George Orwell’s estate OKs video game version of social satire ‘Animal Farm’

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Throughout the entertainment industry, classic stories are often adapted for various mediums. Books, movies, and video games are always borrowing from one another. One adaptation that few saw coming concerns George Orwell’s classic social satire Animal Farm, which is being developed as an indie game with approval and help from the author’s estate.

Players join the story as one of the animals on Manor Farm just before the revolution. Throughout the adventure-tycoon style game, players make their way through the hardships and successes of Animalism. Similar in fashion to Telltale’s games, the gameplay will combine story choices and farm operations into the main narrative. This gives players the opportunity to experience the full weight of their decisions.

George Orwell’s Animal Farm, first published in 1945, was seen as a thinly veiled critique of Soviet Russia, as well as an allegory of absolute power and totalitarian authority. Through satire and genuine warning, Animal Farm has been seen as timeless and universally significant. Orwell poses many questions to the reader about power, corruption, and the misuse of language.

Among the development team are Imre Jele (founder of Bossa Studios), Andy Payne (founder of Just Flight and AppyNation), Georg Backer (A Brave Plan, Fable series), Jessica Curry (Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Dear Esther), Kate Saxon (Alien: Isolation, Witcher 3) and more. Members of this creative team are coming together only to work on Animal Farm, and will return to other games when it is finished.

“Over the last decade, some governments started using language eerily similar to what I heard growing up under a communist regime,” says Jele. “So I can’t help feeling personally challenged to spread Orwell’s dystopian warning by adapting Animal Farm into a game.”

The indie game, which is still early in development, has been fully authorized by the Orwell estate. According to Jele’s statement to Polygon, the Orwell estate has “scrutinized our goals and ideas extensively during this process, as they should.”

Animal Farm is currently being developed for PC and “other platforms.” Other details, such as a release date, are still under wraps and will be announced later via the game’s website.

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