In preparation for the release of their upcoming game The Division in which the outbreak of a weaponised virus in New York leads to the collapse of society, Ubisoft has released an interactive simulator that makes the story a little more personal.
Called Collapse, the simulator makes you patient zero and, using a google maps style view, pinpoints the outbreak of the virus at your own home. From there you have to make a variety of choices like which hospital you’re going to go to and where in the world you’re going to try to flee to that determine the speed with which the virus spreads and society collapses.
According to Ubisoft, “Collapse is a powerful reminder of the fragility and complexity of our interdependent systems on which we rely daily – power, transport, communications, banking and hospitals.” The simulator explains as you play how the collapse of one inevitably leads to the collapse of others until they all fail in an attempt to show “how fast our world would fall down in case of a pandemic similar to what happens in Tom Clancy’s The Division.” The simulator shows you a series of facts with sources as you go that explain why we’re not equipped for a deadly pandemic right now, citing things like overcrowded hospitals and limited vaccine production capabilities.
Starting in London, I managed to make the world collapse in a mere 23 days. You can play the experience as many times as you please, making the epicentre of the outbreak different each time in an attempt to see how things might change. What doesn’t ever change, though, is our eventual destruction. You’ll only see everything collapse slower. If you’re having a bad day, I’m not sure I would suggest playing this to cheer up. Then again, maybe it could make you feel better about everything; I’m sure there’s a sense of catharsis to be found in being the focal point for the collapse of the planet.
If you want to try the simulator, which I’ve now renamed The Hopelessness Simulator, for yourself, you can find it here.