Animal Farm, George Orwell’s classic social satire, is finding an unlikely new medium. An indie game based on the novel is currently in the works, with help from the author’s estate.
The game, which is still early on in development, will adapt the story of Manor Farm’s thinly veiled descent into communism as a hybrid of two genres. One part will follow the mold of an adventure game: Players will assume the role of one of the barnyard’s animals as they navigate its descent into a power struggle. The other part is described as tycoon-esque, which will have players making choices to manage and maintain the farm.
“It’s particularly important for the readers and players to be able to identify with both oppressors and the oppressed,” team member Imre Jele (RuneScape) told us about the transition from novel to game. “This personal journey through fiction can hopefully allow our audience to better understand the motives of the powerful and their own place in an increasingly divided society bearing hallmarks of totalitarian regimes.”
The involvement of the Orwell estate highlights that aim, and Jele told us that it “scrutinized our goals and ideas extensively during this process, as they should.”
Alongside Jele, members working on the project include George Baker (Fable), Kate Saxon (The Witcher 3), Jessica Curry (Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture) and Andy Payne (Gambitious). Each one has a connection to Animal Farm, Jele told us, and the entire team feels a particular responsibility in bringing the story to a new venue for a modern audience.
“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,” Jele said.
Animal Farm has not yet been dated, nor has the team announced platforms yet. More details will emerge throughout the year and beyond.