As governments across the globe have employed different strategies in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, many people are screaming across the web (and presumably to the heavens) that they could’ve done a better job of containing the outbreak. Thanks to Plague Inc.'s new rollout, if you think you’ve got a better idea than your local government now’s your chance to prove it with their new game mode that challenges you to stop the spread of a deadly disease.
Plague Inc. first launched in 2012 as an unusual but highly addictive game where you’re tasked with creating a pathogen that can wipe out the entire globe. Starting with bacteria, you could choose a country of origin for the outbreak of your pathogen and as it spreads you collect DNA points that can be spent on modes of transmission, symptoms, and mutations.
As your outbreak spreads (you can see it moving across the globe on red "infected" ships and planes) and causes more noticeable symptoms, news reports crop up of the bacteria’s spread until eventually countries begin work on a cure. Once this happens, you’re up against the clock to kill the whole world before the cure is complete. The game has even included a Fake News Update where you can craft fake news stories to confuse those trying to make the cure, highlighting why it’s so important not to pay attention to crack-pot theories you find on the Internet.
The game was a novelty insight into pathogen spread in the socio-political context it was born into, but, understandably, when you’re living in a real-life pandemic the prospect of mapping how a pathogen could kill the entire world isn’t the most uplifting pastime. In consideration of this, Plague Inc. has announced a new version of gameplay where users are challenged to save the world from an existing outbreak.
In the new game mode, you’ll be tasked with overseeing governments, triaging patients and boosting hospital supplies, enforcing quarantines, and closing public services all in an effort to stem the spread – sounds familiar, right? The game is being developed with the help of experts from the World Health Organization and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network so will actually paint a realistic picture of the overwhelming number of factors taken into consideration when stopping a pandemic.
"Eight years ago, I never imagined the real world would come to resemble a game of Plague Inc. or that so many players would be using Plague Inc. to help them get through an actual pandemic," said James Vaughan, creator of Plague Inc, in a statement that also announces the company will be donating $250,000 to the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
“When arranging our donations with the WHO and CEPI, we were repeatedly asked if we could make a game that lets the player work to stop an outbreak. Therefore, as well as providing financial support, we are accelerating work on a new Plague Inc. game mode which lets players save the world from a deadly disease outbreak,” the statement reads.
Plague Inc report that they’re rapidly working to complete the new game mode, which will be free for all players during the real-life pandemic, providing a topical form of entertainment while we wait out the crisis. Find out how other people are surviving self-isolation or get some top tips for keeping sane from astronauts.