Orwell's Animal Farm
Edge|December 2020
Orwell's Animal Farm
Nerial’s videogame adaptation has certainly got legs – but how many?

Developer Nerial

Publisher The Dairymen

Format Android, iOS, PC

Origin UK

Release Winter

They say timing is everything – and it’s hard to think of a more relevant moment for a videogame based on Animal Farm to surface. Then again, it’s difficult to imagine George Orwell’s satirical classic will ever go out of style, its scathing study of inequality, power and control seemingly not enough to dissuade humanity from its unbroken streak of punching itself in the face. Nerial, however, has high hopes that a videogame – in which you manage a farm-society whose success or failure pivots on the inequities of its social strata and corruptibility of its leaders – might help the message to sink in.

Adapting Orwell’s classic has been a decades-old ambition for creative director Imre Jele, who witnessed communism at first hand growing up in Hungary. “My family was active on the ‘wrong’ side of politics, by the definition of the regime,” Jele says. “Animal Farm was read to me with Winnie The Pooh and The Little Prince. It took years for me to find that we as an industry are ready to make it, and there’s an audience ready to take it.” An incredibly optimistic view on both counts, given Ubisoft’s (recently updated) track record for handling political issues with all the grace of a baby deer with guns attached to its feet while simultaneously swearing blind it doesn’t know what politics is, and much of the mainstream gaming audience’s aversion to being presented with real-world issues in games.

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December 2020