In 2005, a game developing studio set out with the idea that great games did not have to be about how fast someone can shoot the other, rather how intriguing and memerable the experience was. And that is exactly what Ice-Pick Lodge’s game developers had accomplished. They gave you a horrifying and detailed experience by allowing you, the player, to choose a path without knowing which decision you made was right or wrong. Just like every great game, it had to come to an end. Almost a decade later, Ice-Pick Lodge has announced through Kickstarter that they are wanting to recreate this experience so that everyone can enjoy there horror game once more, but in a more detailed manner.
The game starts out in a small town in the middle of nowhere, built upon old tanneries and butcheries where a mysterious and deadly disease has broken out. Though it is unknown where the disease originated from, it is highly infectious, affecting the neural and blood-circulating systems, crippling both mind and body. You take on the role of three doctors whom have come to the town in an attempt to cure the residents all while trying to avoid the Sand Plague. You are free to roam wherever you like, knock on any door, and talk to whoever you see so that you may find a cure before time runs out. As the plague spreads, areas will become a danger zone in which shops will close, houses will lock down, and the air itself will become poisonous.
Though the plague may slow you down, your decisions throughout the game are not limited. With the town yours to explore, the questions you ask each individual might lead to a clue or begin to take you off track, accomplishing nothing. But time isn't the only thing that stands against you. As you make your way through the game with your intentions of good will, others might see that as an opportunity to take advantage of you, taking what they need without a second thought to who they are hurting. While on your exploration of the town, you might come into contact with an individual who is a carrier of the disease, contracting it yourself. You may not see it at first, but the disease will slowly affect your mind, making you see things that are not there.
Don’t worry about the disease as much. Since you are a doctor, medical supplies and antibiotics are available for you to use to either ease the pain or reduce infection. But due to the limited amount of antibiotics, your actions to use them will affect your decisions later on in the game. For instance, when you run into a person who is in dire need of painkillers and the only thing you have is a gun that was brought along for those who would attack you. Realizing you might need those antibiotics for yourself again, you could choose the inhumane option, giving you a little more time, but at the cost of someone else’s life. Here you will begin to choose between self preservation of the aid of another.
Whether it is your hands or the Sand Plague, a person’s death will cause you to start seeing things, usually of people who are dressed in strange costumes. One of which is that of a man called The Executer. He wears a bird shaped mask and is only seen during the event of someone’s death, giving him the name plague bringer. Not alone, he is accompanied by an even stranger fellow who is always acting in a peculiar way, following you closely and watching your every move. Known as a platzhalter hero, the Tragedian is a shade of what could have been was it not for you mimicking your movements in a disgruntling way.
Pathologic is a first-person, story-driven survival adventure game where time is everything. Every two hours you spend in real time is equivalent to one day of in-game time, making every decision that much more important. You will have a total of 70 hours divided amongst the three characters. Each character has a different specialty as well as their way of handling encounters with the citizens. Some use money to buy things while another may choose to only barter with people, trading your gun for a loaf of bread. Every scenario is setup to affect the next whether it’s for better or worse. But the decisions are yours.
Ice-Pick Lodge has always felt that the game wasn’t properly done and now want to redo it so that they can make it exactly what they envisioned in the beginning. Because of their inexperience in game design, Pathologic, their first game, was roughly put together with lots of features and details being cut out. Despite the games numerous flaws, it’s take on gaming was interesting to say the least allowing it to succeed where many thought it wouldn’t. So now the studio has turned to Kickstarter to get this game back out there. They want to keep the setting, atmosphere, storyline and characters from the original game intact all while adding better quests, events and plotlines. The graphics and gameplay will also be majorly updated as well as the AI system that controls the NPCs. Backers for the project will receive some pretty awesome things. They also have the option to add rewards to their backing that they choose if they submit the appropriate funding. If everything goes well, we should see a release in November of 2016 on PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, and PS4.
I am excited for this game. It was a very interesting read and unfortunately I wasn't able to supply all of the information for the game in my article. But I can tell you this. The game was released on Kickstarter today and since I began writing this article, the funds raised for the game have gone from $35,000 to $80,000. Fans are still out there.
- An additional digital copy of Pathologic—$25;
- a physical soundtrack—$15;
- a printed map of the Town—$25;
- a printed book—$25;
- a poster (1 of 5)—$20;
- a brand—$40;
- an Iron Heart—40$;
- a tabletop Pathologic game—$65;
- a signed physical art book—$90;
- a Tragedian mask—$180.