Osmotic Studios is taking on the subject of fake news in its realistic portrayal of a surveillance society in the new game Orwell: Ignorance is Strength, the second season of the indie thriller series Orwell.
From publisher Surprise Attack Games and a three-person design team, Orwell’s second season is coming soon for the PC, Mac, and Linux. The announcement trailer shows politicians — Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu and others — addressing the notion of fake news, manufactured for social media echo chambers.
The original debuted as an episodic series in October, and it won a lot of acclaim. It is a simulation game with blocky art style. The player assumes the role of a state operative and monitors surveillance sources to get to the bottom of a bombing. As you do so, you realize the power of the state and the problem of coming up with false positives for suspects. Orwell received a number of award nominations at the Independent Games Festival at GDC 2017.
The first Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You took its dystopian inspiration from the headlines about Edward Snowden’s leaks and big data analysis technology from Silicon Valley’s Palantir Technologies, founded by billionaire Peter Thiel. It takes its name from George Orwell, author of the paranoid surveillance novel 1984.
The new game was inspired by the rise of “fake news,” a term popularized by Donald Trump, and the echo chamber of social media, Orwell: Ignorance is Strength puts the player in the shoes of a government official in a top-secret department of the Orwell program. The player has to deal with a cross-border political crisis that could lead to civil unrest in The Nation.
Players can uncover the real truth and decide how to use it in the service of their country.
The second game takes place in parallel to the events of the first season. But this time the player takes on the role of an insider with access to additional features of the Orwell surveillance program. Ignorance is Strength brings a darker tone and introduces new tools that provide the player with more control over how the investigation unfolds and even the ability to influence public opinion directly.