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Plague Inc. Is Adding A Game Mode About Fighting A Global Pandemic

Illustration for article titled iPlague Inc./i Is Adding A Game Mode About Fighting A Global Pandemic
Image: Ndemic Creations

Plague Inc. is a video game in which players create and cultivate a deadly pathogen in order to wipe out as much of the global population as possible. In response to the real-world covid-19 pandemic, developer Ndemic Creations is working on a new game mode where players work toward stopping a deadly global outbreak.

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Plague Inc., a hit mobile and console game with a loyal player base since its 2012 launch, is in an uncomfortable place right now. Over the course of the past several months it’s gone from a fascinating “what if?” scenario to a dark echo of current events. In February the game was banned from app stores and Steam in China because of the uncomfortable correlation.

Along with a $250,000 donation split between the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, developer Ndemic Creations’ response is a new game mode for Plague Inc. that’s all about fighting the spread of a global pandemic. The mode is being designed with the aid of experts from the World Health Organization and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. Players will manage disease progression and boosting healthcare systems while juggling quarantines, triages, social distancing, and the closure of public services. Basically all the things the world is dealing with now, only in this mode, we’re the good guys.

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No word on when the new Plague Inc. game mode will launch, but it will be part of a free update for all players when it does. Check out the game’s website for more information.

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Kotaku elder, lover of video games, keyboards, toys, snacks, and other unsavory things.

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DISCUSSION

Playing Plague Inc. (well, actually Pandemic 2 in flash) has given me nearly as much insight on how an epidemic expands and how a pandemic happens so rapidly as many of the briefings, news articles, and op-eds I’ve read.

It’s unfortunate that the creators would get any negativity for this. It’s a very well-thought out game with some interesting mechanical observations about how this stuff works. If I was going to play it today, I would design a virus to work almost exactly like COVID-19 in order to win, then mutate it into something with severe issues like hemorrhages.

Read about the waves of the Spanish flu — the second wave mutated and caused massive, unexpected loss of life in a similar fashion.

As for “killing humanity,” give me a fucking break. There’s a wealth of literature on the subject that shows that perfectly normal, healthy, empathetic people have no problem discerning being virtual death and reality. Games don’t cause violence.