George Orwell’s 1984 coming soon to PC
First-person adaptation of Big Brother’s dystopian future blends adventure and survival sim elements
As we edge perilously closer to our own politically authoritarian, post-truth reality, George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four continues to stand as a disturbingly prescient cautionary tale. Various games have explored themes of overreaching surveillance, but soon we’ll be able to live out the author’s vision first-hand in the upcoming interactive adaptation of the dystopian classic, 1984, from the appropriately titled indie developer Inner Party.
Not only does the game follow the events of the book, player actions are “largely narrated from Orwell’s original prose.” Most of the world is perpetually at war, and the former Great Britain now belongs to the superstate of Oceania, ruled with an iron fist by an unseen but all-seeing “Big Brother” and the totalitarian Thought Police. Here individuality has been all but abolished, and only slavish, unswerving devotion is tolerated. You play Winston Smith, a low-level disgruntled worker forced to create government-approved fiction at the Ministry of Truth day after dreary day. Secretly you hate “The Party,” but each day you must “go to work, acquire the resources you need to stay alive by whatever means necessary, and conduct your illicit rebellion as surreptitiously as possible.”
Played from a free-roaming first-person perspective, 1984 is a genre-bending game that is “part walking simulator, part adventure, and part survival game.” You’ll have the chance to visit iconic locations from the novel, including Winston’s measly flat, the Ministry of Truth, Airstrip One, and eventually the fearsome Room 101. You can’t simply go wherever and do whatever you please, mind you, as you must “carefully plot your secret rebellion against Big Brother, while avoiding the suspicions of the Thought Police.” That means continuing to do your job every day to “rectify” history in the official texts, which will earn you money and throw off any suspicion. Unlike the book, however, the game does provide opportunities for player choices that will affect the story. Without blowing your cover, you have the freedom to begin a covert affair, snitch on your colleagues, indulge in or trade scarce luxury rations, write in or burn your own diary, and decide which dialogue options to select in conversation, among other potentially life-altering actions.
This will be the first game from Inner Party, but the small indie team is no stranger to narrative-rich games, as one of the company co-founders is Tom Jubert, narrative desiger of The Talos Principle, Subnautica, FTL, The Swapper and more. There is no target release date yet, but 1984 is now ready for wishlisting on Steam for Windows PC. To follow its progress while you wait, be sure to check out the developer’s website for ongoing updates.