One of the interesting things that we see in gaming right now is that developers can get experimental. Orwell is a game that continues exploring the space of looking at ideas by using mechanics that Papers, Please is most famous for using in recent years. Beyond that, Orwell is attempting to further experiment with how a game releases - by doing so in a weekly format over five weeks, with the first week being a free demo.
This method is essentially a variation on the episodic model and is comparable to how Resident Evil Revelations 2 was released. However, Revelations 2 didn't really do much with that setup, while Orwell is wanting to use it to help underline the thriller and suspense aspects of the game. Additionally, the game is divided into days, with each game representing a day in the game world. The developers are also hoping that it can create some tension by having people having to wait and see what will happen next, perhaps discussing it with friends.
The first episode has one hour of gameplay and takes place over one day as the player is recruited into the titular Orwell program, and after a terrorist attack is given their first target to investigate. Titled The Clocks Were Striking Thirteen, the first episode released on Thursday. In it, you investigate a young woman with a criminal record named Cassandra Watergate. After being spotted near the site of the bombing by surveillance cameras, you get to begin digging into everything of her life that is online, and deciding what to do with it.
Orwell was announced earlier this year and will be releasing a new episode each Thursday at 8am Pacific, through November 17th. As mentioned above, the first episode is available as a free demo, with the rest of the game costing $9.95 to purchase. Episode Two is titled "A Place Where There is No Darkness" and will release on October 27th.
Stay tuned to TechRaptor for more coverage of Orwell.
What are your thoughts on Orwell's release mechanism? Does this sort of consistent release approach interest you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!