The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread rampantly around the world and is showing no signs of stopping. The deadly outbreak has claimed more than 21,200 lives and infected over 470,000 people worldwide. This has led Plague Inc, the apocalyptic simulator, to start working on a new mode that lets players save the world from a virus outbreak instead of the other way around.
What is Plague Inc?
Plague Inc., which made its debut in 2012, is a strategy video game that allows you to play as a disease, with the main objective being to infect as many people as possible. The game is available on multiple platforms including smartphones, tablets, PCs, and consoles in which you must wipe out humanity by developing and spreading a deadly pathogen.
Players need to evolve the virus in ways that fasten its spread across countries and continents, whilst simultaneously evading scientific efforts to produce a vaccine. The game displays a map of the world and the infection's spread is represented by red dots, while its AI-controlled governments begin to ground flights, shut down ports and enforce quarantines to contain the virus outbreak.
New game play mode lets players do the opposite
The developers of Plague Inc., Ndemic Creations, have announced they're working on a new mode that lets players fight the spread of the disease and eliminate deadly viruses, the exact opposite of its traditional gameplay.
The company announced that it is "accelerating work" on the free new mode, which was developed in consultation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN).
In the new mode, "players will have 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."
In addition to the update, Ndemic also announced that it had contributed $250,000 to the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Plague Inc. players will also be prompted to consider donating to the cause in-game.
"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," Plague Inc. creator James Vaughan said in a statement. "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."
Plague Inc banned by China
Back in January, Ndemic had issued a public warning stating that players should not use its game as a scientific model for the then-nascent coronavirus outbreak. As the game surged in popularity (becoming the most-downloaded iPhone app in US and China in January) amid the fast-spreading outbreak, Chinese officials pulled the app from its local iOS App Store, citing unspecified "content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China," as previously reported.