Pathologic is an upcoming first-person survival adventure RPG developed by Ice-Pick Lodge. While this is a remake of the original game released in 2006, it is considered to be vastly different from the original version. The demo, Pathologic: The Marble Nest, is currently available on Steam.
You play the role of a healer sent to a town full of disease in an attempt to find a cure. During this 12 day expedition you must navigate the town’s odd culture, traditions and fluctuating economy. Negotiate with other citizens to barter for essential goods and decide if you want to hoard your items or share them with those in need. Since curing the illness is your main priority, you must be wise with your items and your time, or you will also fall victim to the plague and you won’t be of any use if it kills you.
The story unfolds in real time, which will affect the game mechanics and the plot. If you’re in a rush or in need of a specific service and the district is infected, the surroundings become less than ideal. Shops will close, houses will be locked up, and the air will be filled with poison.
Fight or Flight
Pathologic goes all out in terms of survival mechanics. You must keep tabs on your hunger, thirst, fatigue and immune resistance of the disease. Means for resources can be difficult to get a hold of with money alone, making it practically useless, and so you must rely on skills of the trade with the townsfolk. Though, it’s worth noting that your physical needs are not the only threat to your survival.
Among the citizens are people that are only out for themselves and will try to obtain anything they need by any means. You may come face to face with bandits, raiders and agonizingly sick individuals. While the game is not a shooter, guns can be involved and prove useful in dealing with attackers, (that is if your gun works properly.) However, if you’re not one for confrontation, running and hiding is likely your best option.
A Chat with the Producer
We were able to ask Ivan Slovtsov (Producer of Pathologic) a few questions to gather a bit more information on the game and find out what players can expect for the official release.
What is the goal in the game?
Ivan: “Well, in the final game the “basic” goal is to stay alive for 12 days, while not starving to death or dying from disease. “Real” goal though – is to unravel mysteries of the town and hopefully become the person who can ultimately influence it. Game narrative is highly nonlinear and there are multiple endings (just like in the demo).”
Can you tell me, which feelings do you want to trigger in the players? Fear, joy, should they think about death?
Ivan: “Pathologic’ atmosphere [is] built around heavy emotional emphasis of apathetic hopelessness, but in the end this is a game about the hope and joy which can truly shine only after you went through the hell that we lovingly created for the player.”
When talking to the NPCs, do the answers you choose have any effects on the game ending?
Ivan: “They sure do. Actually, one of the representations of the “watch what you chose” principle of Pathologic is an “alternative” ending at the very beginning of the demo.”
Are there multiple good endings?
Ivan: “Depending on what you classify as “good”… There are multiple endings for different tastes both in the demo and planned for the final game.”
Do you plan to create audio-files for the conversations?
Ivan: “Yes. There is going to be VO in the game, though it’s not implemented in the demo. Well to be completely honest, we do not plan for the full VO. Right now we plan something akin to the original game. The character will say one “greeting” phrase at the beginning of the dialog – so you will know how his/her voice sounds like. Pathologic is a really text heavy game – final game is planned to have more than 400,000 words of dialogue in it. That’s more than hundreds of thousands of dollars for VO for each language. So… there still going to be quite a lot of reading… I’d say that best example is Shadowrun or Pillars of Eternity that had SOME dialog fully voiced but most of the text was as is.”
Do you plan to create better face-animations with more emotions?
Ivan: “Actually, we are pretty satisfied with the mood that we created with facial animations in the demo, though we certainly will technically improve them and add more variety for release. But [the] overall expression of being “lost”, “disinterested” or “annoyed” on the faces of most characters will stay. There is obviously going to be lipsync with VO.”
The release date of Pathologic is currently unknown, though it is expected to be released sometime in fall of 2017. The remake will be available for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.