Late last week, Epic Games uncharacteristically announced this week’s Epic Store freebies ahead of the usual Thursday reveal.
Epic penciled in a trio of digital board games from Asmodee Digital to land on the Epic Games Store for free. The games were Pandemic: The Board Game, Carcasonne, and Ticket to Ride.
Since then, Epic has mysteriously removed from Pandemic from the bill, and the game won’t be free to download as initially planned. A statement shared with media outlets reads:
We’ve shifted the release of Pandemic as a free game in our store schedule to a later date. Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne will still be available as the free games of the week from February 6 – February 13.
In tandem, the Epic Games Store Pandemic listing has seemingly disappeared into the virtual ether. It currently returns a “404 Page Not Found” error.
With Epic stopping short of providing a concrete reason for the removal, the theme of the game may give us a hint.
Pandemic asks players to curb the spread of four infectious diseases as part of a crack team of globe-trotting disease control specialists. You need to simultaneously quarantine infected patients, halt the diseases’ advance, and find a cure. Humanity’s fate is in your hands.
The parallels to the coronavirus epidemic are clear. It’s not unreasonable to assume Epic’s decision to remove Pandemic from this week’s freebie haul stems from a desire to avoid exacerbating rising panic over the spread of the virus.
Or, more cynically, pad its coffers thanks to a morbid interest in similar games. The public has flocked to the similarly apocalyptic sim, Plague Inc., in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Either way, the game won’t feature, but we can expect it in the future. In the meantime, Farming Simulator 19 is free to download until Thursday.