In a nutshell: Plague Inc., the strategy game that tasks players with creating a disease for wiping out humanity, might feel a little too close to reality right now, but it's getting a new mode that's a lot more optimistic: save the world from an outbreak instead of destroying it.
Plague Inc.'s developer, Ndemic Creations, recently donated $250,000 to help in the battle against the coronavirus. The money was split between the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization's Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Plague Inc.'s creator, James Vaughan, said that when the game was released eight years ago, he "never imagined the world would come to resemble a game of Plague Inc. or that so many players would be using Plague Inc. to get them through an actual pandemic."
"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."
When arranging the donation with the WHO and CEPI, the studio was repeatedly asked if it could add a new game mode in which players worked to stop a deadly disease outbreak. The company is now accelerating work on this new game mode, which involves managing disease progression, boosting healthcare systems, and "controlling real-world actions such as triaging, quarantining, social distancing and closing of public services."
Ndemic Creations says the update, which is being developed "with the help of experts from the WHO, CEPI, and more," will be free for all players during the pandemic, and that it will release more information as soon as possible. The company will also be promoting the WHO's Covid-19 response fund within the game for anyone wishing to donate.
Back in January when the coronavirus was mostly located within China, Plague Inc. experienced a surge in popularity, resulting in the devs reminding people that "it's a game, not a scientific model."