Exclusive Interview: Ndemic Creations' CEO James Vaughan Talks Plague Inc.
Plague Inc. is an iOS strategy game that has dominated the mobile gaming industry. Players are tasked with ending humanity by evolving a deadly, global Plague. The title has sold over a million copies in the short time it has been available.
Dread Central recently set down with Ndemic Creations' CEO James Vaughan to discuss Plague Inc. in more depth. Read on to learn more!
AMANDA DYAR: Plague Inc. is the first game of its kind that challenges gamers to play as a newly formed disease that must attempt to spread and evolve from the infected Patient Zero into a deadly disease that can wipe out all of the human population before they are able to develop a cure. Where did such a unique idea as Plague Inc. originate and how was the idea turned into the highly successful downloadable title gamers all around the world are enjoying at this very moment?
JAMES VAUGHAN: Plague Inc. is a strategy game where you play a pathogen which has just infected ‘Patient Zero’. You must now manipulate and evolve your disease to create a deadly plague which infects the world and ultimately destroys humanity. It’s a bit like the movie ‘Contagion’ except that you are the disease and you are in full control.
I love strategy games on the PC and it always annoyed me that there are not enough high quality strategy games for mobile – so, I decided to do something about it. I got inspiration for Plague Inc. from a 5 year old, web game, Pandemic 2 which was about trying to infect the world. I am a big fan of Pandemic 2 but I wanted a deeper, more strategic game with a strong narrative and lots more features. There was nothing like it on mobiles at the time and so I decided to design a deep, challenging and thought provoking strategy game from scratch for the touchscreen. The more I thought about it, the more cool things I thought of (random mutations, research teams etc). I wanted to play this imaginary game so much that I knew I had to make it.
I think Plague Inc. has been so successful because it is an extremely polished game that is very different to all the other games out there on the App store. It is a challenging and thought provoking game which treats the players as intelligent human beings. Its also a very fun game to talk about with friends which has helped it spread virally
AMANDA : Plague Inc. offers a variety of ways to play including Casual, Normal and Brutal difficulty settings, 10 different diseases and even cheats that can be activated for different results. How do each of these features ensure that each game you play in Plague Inc. is a different experience?
JAMES: All of the Plague types require unique strategies to master them, e.g. The Bio-Weapon Plague type is deadly and quickly kills its hosts whereas the Bacteria Plague type is hardened to environmental hazards. The player has to adapt to the relevant strengths and weaknesses – taking into consideration how things would work in the real world. What is great about the different disease types is that they encourage players to experiment and try different tactics.
AMANDA: Many of the features in Plague Inc. are locked in the beginning of the game including many of the diseases and unlockable cheats. How can players gain access to this content and what other unlockables or hidden Easter eggs can players expect to find in the game?
JAMES: Players can access all of the content in the game by completing the game on various different difficulties. To unlock a new disease type, they must complete the previous type on Normal difficulty. To unlock the cheats – they must complete all the disease types on Brutal. Players also requested an option to pay to unlock content straight away and so we added the ‘Accelerate’ option into update 1.2 for people who want to get to the advanced diseases immediately!
AMANDA: Plague Inc. is an already addictive title with plenty of things to do and various scenarios to play out, but will the game ever add any additional downloadable content to the existing title or provide updates that will add new content to the game in the future?
JAMES: Absolutely – Plague Inc. is already a fantastic game but there is so much more that I want to do with it and players have been incredibly helpful by suggesting features and content that they would like to see in the game. Update 1.3 will arriving very shortly and it adds loads of new features, it will add the Neurax Worm disease type. The Neurax Worm is an invasive organism that burrows into the brain of its host to control them. Living deep in the jungle for thousands of years, human advancement into its natural habitat has brought it into contact with humans for the first time and given it the means to spread...
AMANDA: Plague Inc. is already a huge success for iOS devices, and the game will soon be coming to Android devices as well. What will the new version mean for the future of Plague Inc., and is there any chance we could see the game come to even more devices in the future such as other tablets or the recently announced Ouya console?
JAMES: I’m incredibly excited to bring Plague Inc. to Android with the help of Miniclip as it will let even more people enjoy the game. The key focus for Plague Inc. after the Android release will be to localize the game into other languages and continue to update it – adding new disease types, events and features to make it even better. At some point, I also have some other game ideas that I want to follow!
You can visit the official Ndemic Creations website to learn more about Plague Inc.
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