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It will take just 23 days to bring an end to society as we know it. Or at least that is what will happen if my play-through of Collapse, a promotional browser game from Ubisoft to promote its upcoming shooter game, Tom Clancy's The Division, is anything to go by.
Based on real data from Natural Earth, Open Street Map, NASA and IATA Flight routes, Collapse puts the player in the shoes of "patient zero", the first to be infected with an unknown variant of smallpox, before presenting a "hyper-personalised" simulation of an apocalyptic global outbreak caused by your own actions following the infection.
You can bring devastation to the human race yourself by playing the game here, either on a mobile device or PC web browser.
After providing the game with your postcode, it then intersperses moments where you can choose the next course of action. In my example the IBTimes UK offices were not safe from the infection, but my decision to head towards a Cineworld for refuge as the virus began to spread was possibly what started the world's path to oblivion.
While the mini-game is designed around a fictional variola chimera pandemic, the same weaponised virus, that sends the world into darkness in the online-shooter The Division, the effects and characteristic are more aggressive variations on the real variola major smallpox virus.
While the chaos is quick to strike if you start in a built-up city like London, it is a lot more interesting to see how smaller villages fare. The tiny community in Fordwich, Kent lasted quite a few days, for example, although a flight to Lisbon put paid to humanity's hopes in the end.
The web-based simulator is quite similar to the kill-everyone-with-disease videogame Plague Inc, available for Android, iOS and PC. Although at least in Collapse, you are not encouraging the outbreak with RPG-lite perks. Very disturbing.
Tom Clancy's The Division is due to launch on 8 March for PC, Xbox One and PS4.