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Surveillance thriller Orwell coming out as a weekly serial

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Sharp political game offering first episode for free

A few weeks ago I wrote about Orwell, a new game that takes a look at the balancing concerns of state surveillance and population safety.

Orwell puts the player in the shoes of a state operative who uses social media, phone taps and other intrusive resources to track down potential threats to security. It soon becomes clear that the player’s data net brings in many innocent people who have no contact with political groups.

Hamburg-based three-person development team Osmotic today announced that the Windows PC game will be released as a weekly serial, with five episodes coming out starting today, through Nov. 17.

Today's episode — "The Clocks were Striking Thirteen" — is being released as a free demo. Players will be able to purchase the whole game for $9.95, with episodes unlocking as they are released over the following weeks.

"I'm pretty sure we're the first game to release in this weekly episodic format rather than the usual extended gap that most episodic games have," said a spokesperson for publisher Surprise Attack. "The weekly release structure is a nod to the thriller nature of the game and we hope that the initial wave of players will get a unique experience of playing each weekly episode as they release, having to wait to find out what happens next, discussing theories in the forums and social media, just like a great TV show."