Plague Inc., a game about creating a disease to wipe out humanity, is adding a new scenario to let you spread fake news to cause mayhem instead.
Ironically, the game’s developer Ndemic Creations is adding the new mode to raise awareness about the dangers of fake news. “Just like a deadly pandemic, the spread of misinformation is a huge threat to our society,” Plague Inc. creator James Vaughan said in the company’s announcement.
He went on to say it was “scary” how well the viral nature of fake news and online conspiracy theories easily translated to Plague Inc.’s gameplay. In the standard scenario, the player develops a disease to not only infect every human on the planet, but also beat government attempt’s to create a cure.
The fake news scenario takes the same concepts, but pits the player against fact checkers, who will try to debunk the generated falsehoods before they can wreak havoc on society. Your tools will include “tweeting mean things,” using internet memes, and even impersonating fact checkers themselves, as a way to augment the virality and plausibility of the fake news topic you seek to create.
The developer teamed up with UK-based fact checking group Full Fact to design the game scenario, which promises to be realistic. “Partly based on our experiences, and that of our fellow international fact checkers, the game is a heightened view into the extremes of misinformation and the serious consequences it can have for our democracies, health and society,” Full Fact wrote in a blog post.
The fact checking group is hoping the new game scenario will entice gamers to help Full Fact debunk falsehoods as the UK prepares to hold a general election next week.