Plague Inc., the simulation game that asks players to infect the globe with various diseases, is getting a save the world mode which will reverse its entire win state.
In Plague Inc. players can take control of smallpox, ebola, and other plagues as they try to infect the global population. Infection is winning, but not for long. In recent weeks since the COVID-19 crisis has ramped up, the game became very popular, to the point that the developers at Ndemic Creations had to issue a statement regarding its veracity as a scientific model for predicting the outcome of the spread of the virus. Below is their statement from January, before much of the world was affected by the coronavirus.
"The Coronavirus outbreak in China is deeply concerning and we’ve received a lot of questions from players and the media.
Plague Inc. has been out for eight years now and whenever there is an outbreak of disease we see an increase in players, as people seek to find out more about how diseases spread and to understand the complexities of viral outbreaks.
We specifically designed the game to be realistic and informative, while not sensationalising serious real-world issues. This has been recognised by the CDC and other leading medical organisations around the world.
However, please remember that Plague Inc. is a game, not a scientific model and that the current coronavirus outbreak is a very real situation which is impacting a huge number of people. We would always recommend that players get their information directly from local and global health authorities."
Now, the studio is using the surge in player base for good. It's donated $250,000 to fight COVID-19, with half going to the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the other half going to the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Additionally, while talks of the donation were being held, it was suggested that the devs make a game mode where players can save the world instead of end it. Thus, Plague Inc.'s world-saving mode was born. Of the new mechanics, Ndemic says 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 short, it may be the wake-up call some people need to better understand how each person's actions can help end this COVID-19 crisis. There's no release date for the new mode but it will be free when it arrives.