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    pathologic

    Did somebody say plague?

    Ice-Pick Lodge have been talking for a while now about remaking their can-you-save-a-village-from-plague sim Pathologic, and a Kickstarter is now underway to do just that. It’s proving extremely successful so far, raising $82,000 USD of a $250,000 USD goal in a very short space of time.

    That’s rather good news, because having played both The Void and Cargo! I can say that Ice-Pick Lodge are up there with ACE Team for me in terms of interesting games with genuine artistic credibility.

    Pathologic is one of theirs that I’ve yet to experience, though I know it by reputation. This Kickstarter aims to retain the oppressive atmosphere of a strange village beset by plague, along with the original storyline and characters. But it also plans to add a whole lot, and that’s what the pledged cash will be going towards:

    • There’ll be new quests, events, and plotlines, and some filler quests that were added for the sake of adding something will be rid of.
    • Graphics will be much better. We’ll do everything we can so that the game looks adequately even ten years from now.
    • Gameplay will be way more balanced. We’re not talking about making it simpler and survival easier, mind you; but fights used to be annoying rather than tense and emotional, scavenging was very rudimentary, and the economy of a plagued town was hardly a system at all. We plan to change all that, making all these mechanics robust. That doesn’t mean the game’ll become a breeze, it just means we’ll replace artificial challenges with real ones.
    • Street NPCs will have advanced AIs that’ll make them feel way more alive. Once again, we’re not abandoning the concept of them being “extras” in this play, we just want those extras to perform better.
    • We’ll also add realistic behavior patterns to the disease.
    • Localization will be done internally or with the help of trusted outsourcers who are not only native speakers, but also talented writers. We understand that Pathologic is extremely hard to translate, so—once again—we won’t try to do it directly, but rather reconstruct the game in different languages.

    That last one is pretty important. Pathologic is pretty infamous for having, ahh, ‘challenging’ translation. In one sense that probably made it all seem even more strange and alien, but in another, more mechanical, sense it probably made it quite confusing to play. The rest of those Pathologic upgrades sound like suitably good ideas too.

    Here’s an appropriately unusual pitch video.

    Peter Parrish

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