Those who are thrilled by the idea of acting out their greatest 1984 fantasy will be happy to know that the first episode of privacy-invasion-thriller game, Orwell, is out now as a free demo on Steam and IndieDB.
Taking cues from other indie detective games like Papers, Please and Her Story, Orwell has players poking their noses into other people’s social media, chat messages and online messages to unravel mysteries behind terrorist attacks.
In a Telltale-like approach, indie studio Osmotic Studios is releasing the game in five narrative-driven, weekly instalments that span roughly one hour each, according to a press release from the studio. The full season will cost $9.95, and is available for grabs on stores like Steam and the Humble Store.
The first episode, “The Clocks Were Striking Thirteen,” has players getting recruited into the Orwell program to basically stalk a suspect for a day. The nomenclature here is, no doubt, deliberate as the game unashamedly prides itself on taking inspiration from George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty Four novel.
“It’s trying to apply the topics of [George Orwell’s] works to present time issues,” said developer Dan from Osmotic Studios in a Steam forum post. “There are also quite a lot of references.”
The game reportedly grapples with themes like security vs. freedom, privacy vs. connection, and the internet’s impact on our perception of the world and each other.
“So it’s kind of a modern taken on related topics of Orwell’s works (and it’s not only surveillance) as much as it is a ‘homage’ to them.”
The series is set to conclude on November 17. If becoming Big Brother tickles your fancy, be sure to check out our own review of the series as it progresses in the coming days.