The folks behind Plague Inc. have found themselves in something of an odd position during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The entire point of the game is to take various diseases and plagues and spread them across a digital world until there's nobody left. But, according to the developer, that won't be all you can do in the game at some point in the near future as Ndemic Creations has announced that it will add a new free mode to the game where players fight to stop an outbreak instead.
The announcement came as part of the reveal that the company has donated $250,000 to fight the ongoing pandemic, split between the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organisation’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 which let the player work to stop an outbreak," the company stated. "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."
According to Ndemic, the new mode, which will be free to all players during the pandemic, will allow folks to "balance managing disease progression and boosting healthcare systems as well as controlling real-world actions such as triaging, quarantining, social distancing and closing of public services." What all of that looks like in the game itself is anyone's guess.
"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," James Vaughan, creator of Plague Inc., said as part of the announcement. "We are proud to be able to help support the vital work of the WHO and CEPI as they work towards finding a vaccine for COVID-19."
"We are delighted that Ndemic Creations have so generously contributed to our crucial vaccine development work, especially as we tackle the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19," Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said. "Games have an important role in raising awareness of the challenges the world is currently facing. Only through a concerted, global response—with the private sector working together with Governments and philanthropies, pooling resources and expertise—can we hope to stop such emerging epidemic threats."
What do you think about the upcoming new game mode and donation? Are you interested to see what Ndemic Creations comes up with? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk all things gaming!
"Your pathogen has just infected 'Patient Zero'," the game's description reads on the App Store. "Now you must bring about the end of human history by evolving a deadly, global Plague whilst adapting against everything humanity can do to defend itself."
Plague Inc. is currently available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Plague Inc: Evolved, which is the desktop version, is available for PC and Mac. You can check out all of our previous coverage of Plague Inc. right here.