Wot I Think: The Void

By Quintin Smith on September 29th, 2009 at 12:01 pm.


[It seems to have gone through nearly as many name alterations as the Sugababes have line-up changes. It's the sequel to RPS-championed Russian existentialist minor classic Pathologic, the game Walker described as Oblivion with cancer. It's finally translated to English. It's time to send the man who Butchered Pathologic to see Wot He Thinks of The Void...]

A year and a half ago I wrote an article on RPS talking about how Pathologic was the most important game you never played. Lots of you went out and bought it, and I appreciate that, but most of you reported back that you couldn’t stomach it and dropped out after an hour or three of play.

Next month developers Ice-Pick Lodge release their next game, The Void, in English. This time, the translation is a fine piece of work. This time the game is much smoother, easier ride.

This is an article devoted to why The Void is the most important game you are GOING TO FUCKING PLAY. You hear me? Let’s GO.

The Void!

Is!

A game where you play a soul who finds themselves in an afterlife with no memory of the person they once were. We all have our hopes, fears and preconceptions of what the afterlife is meant to be like. The Void takes all of these in both arms and fumbles them into a bin, preferring instead to deploy all of Ice-Pick Lodge’s imagination and creativity in creating something fantastical, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. In other words, a place that’s actually worth exploring.

Desolation is the word, and the word is whispered. If an area isn’t blasted and blackened then it’s been twisted into a useless shape, and everywhere is still and sterile as a full moon. To call a game eerily beautiful is fast becoming a cliché so I’m going to sidestep that, but I will say that the Void musters up both the ugliest and most beautiful imagery I’ve seen all year.

The sound design lurking behind these barren vistas is similarly haunting. Percussion is slow and aimless, voices are never raised, but sometimes seem too loud. There is dripping, clunking, grinding. And in those few areas where the soundtrack does become excitable it seems to have no idea what to do with itself, always repeating or giving birth to confused-sounding solos.

A recurring theme in the Void is hunger, and that has a hand in the way areas are designed. At the very least an area will hint at bare cupboards, while most regions appear either farmed into oblivion or torn apart by some omnipotent brutalist in search of sustenance. Your own character, your soul, must constantly be fed if you want to survive. Likewise, passive NPCs must be fed if you want to progress, hostile NPCs roam the Void consuming what they find, and even the mindless Predators that sit in an area will pluck away at what’s available there.

To take some words from the mouth of one of the The Void’s characters- “There’s only hunger, slumber, and waiting for the end to come.”

So what is it, this substance everybody needs? What is it that’s lacking in such great quantities to have rendered the world exhausted?

Food? No. Water, perhaps? No.

Colour.

Colour is all in the Void. Colour is what stops everyone from slipping away into nothingness, and in the case of your mute character the removal and application of colour is your only means of interacting with the world. To break it down into terms we’re all used to, your amassed colour is simultaneously your health, currency, inventory, mana, conversation options and weaponry. Just as the real challenge in Pathologic was completing your objectives while manipulating a plague-ridden town’s economy, the real challenge in The Void is completing tasks while constantly having to harvest and tend to the world’s colour.

Broadly, you have to sow colour to reap it back. Take the fireflies you’ll encounter from time to time. They’re flighty, egg-like things, easily spooked. Sacrifice some colour by depositing it on the ground and they’ll lap it up as they pass, allowing you to snatch the colour inside them. Gardens are a better deal. You can infuse dead trees with colour then return to them much later once they’ve bloomed, pulling out more colour than you put in. There are many, many methods like this, waiting to be discovered.

That’s not the half of it though. Check out the way colour works once you’ve actually acquired it:

All those bulbs on the right are your ‘memory’, and show colour you’ve picked up. Each bulb only has limited space, and colour held in your memory in this way is useless. However, colour held in your memory can be transferred into your body, ‘couching’ it. Your body must always have some colour couched in it, or you die. Couched colour, however, constantly drains out of your body into the ‘palette’ on the left. Again, each bulb in your palette only has limited space. Colour in your palette can, finally, be spent to affect the world, fight, or talk to people.

So, your body is kept alive by constantly turning the colour you pick up into colour you can use. Colour is spent predominantly by drawing glyphs, which are magical symbols you collect throughout the game. Hold down ctrl and you can trace these glyphs with the mouse while the game continues in accommodating slo-mo (which in combat will never feel slo enough). The first glyph you get is the Donor glyph, for example, which allows you to give colour to something else. This is followed by glyphs like Shell, which protect you, or Hawk, which binds together twigs to create an aggressive flying creature you guide with further dabs of colour.

I’ve already seen people comparing this mechanic to [zelda-derived dog-god-painting console game - Ed] Okami, which is about as correct a sentence can be while still getting on my nerves. Okami was beautifully constructed but had an utterly straight-laced structure. To put The Void in the same sentence as something so safe is doing it a disservice.

I’m not nearly done talking about this colour system. It’s far more complex than this. I’m also not going to say anything more about it, because learning to master colour is the game.

Rather than Okami I’m much happier comparing The Void with old cult favourite Vangers, which I’ve just remembered also came from a Russian developer. These are both games which revel in dropping the player into an utterly alien environment and letting them sink or swim, games where the real opponent is your own ignorance. And that’s the crux of it, really. The most satisfying moments in The Void come from deducing some minute detail of life in this crippled land, and using it to best one of the other inhabitants.

And what inhabitants. So in the Void live Sisters, Brothers and Predators. Or more accurately, Sisters, Brothers, Predators and You. You encounter the Sisters first. They’re all beautiful women who embody the ennui of the Void. Ageless, mercurial, stoic and knowledgeable, they wait out the game in their respective chambers. The more energetic ones might brood, scheme or berate you from the safety of their thrones, or couches, or swing-sets, but they’re ultimately sad figures and unable to turn down your gifts of colour whenever you need something from them.

Choice Sister quote: “Nobody cares about anything anymore. And nobody knows why nobody cares.”

The Brothers are another story, and are at least half responsible for The Void being as disturbing to play as it is. The Brothers are the few souls who managed to come crawling up from the colourless realm that exists beneath The Void, though they suffered terribly in the process. They’re all blind, for a start, and have names like Triumphator and Whaler. And. Well, nightmarish is a word that’s long since lost its original meaning and become a synonym for scary, so I need to be more specific: their character design is like something you’d see in the worst gorgonzola-fueled dream. One of the Brothers is a non-existent musical instrument who’s constantly blowing into and winding himself. Another is attached to the ceiling from a rope, and has a ribcage with extends far enough that it becomes a birdcage. Then there’s the guy with a fanny for a face. He’s a charmer, actually.

Since arriving in the Void each Brother has long since paired off with a Sister and now ‘protects’ them with a miserable zeal. Since they’re all hopelessly powerful, the early game in The Void is in convincing the Brothers you’re one of them (which for all you know you might well be) while you muster enough colour and glyphs to defend yourself. You’ll soon develop a monstrous loathing for the Brothers since you’re forced to watch them wander the map, cleansing areas of colour. Getting a Brother in one of your gardens is always particularly painful.

Finally, there’s Predators. Predators are the bantams of the Void and are just horrid jerks. In a game where your primary concerns are always ‘How much colour do I have’ and ‘Where am I getting more from’, Predators exist to chew colour from both the world and you, if you get close.

The question of how to deal with Predators was what first made me realise where the game was going. This was an hour or so in.

When you encounter your first Predator a Sister guides you through battering it with colour until it dies, then she congratulates you. COOL! You think. And so you get into the habit of unthinkingly crushing Predators you find with colour. Before long a Brother gives you a reprimand, telling you flinging colour around is taboo. Then the colour itself starts whispering at you, telling you you’re wasting your soul. Then you pick up from a conversation about something else that there’s a relationship between colour spent in an area and the Predators that appear. Suddenly, you’re not sure if killing Predators is a mistake. Suddenly, you’re thinking.

Just as Pathologic was really a story that had the confidence to lie to the player, The Void is a game that has the fearlessness to mislead you, to obfuscate the rules of the world and make you rely on your own intuition and experience. In a year where mass-market games development is trying harder than ever to ensure even the most casual gamer is never confused or lost, I find Ice-Pick’s attitude here much appreciated.

And there’s something else that I liked in Pathologic that’s still present in The Void, though it ties in with this same ethos of treating the player as an adult. There’s an incredible freedom to The Void. For instance, (and this is what blows a hole in any comparisons with Okami, Zelda or Metroid) the order in which you acquire Glyphs is partly randomised. Second, failing a Brother’s task doesn’t end the game, it just results in that Brother coming after you, giving you the opportunity to best him. Third, once you stumble across the secret to it, you can murder Sisters at will.

This is Ice-Pick lodge allowing the sabotage of their own narrative, just like they did with Pathologic. But you know what? That’s okay! Just as walking next to a pond, lake or river in real life when there’s no safety barrier brings a strange, animal excitement, so does playing a game with the knowledge that this path you’re following is of your own choosing, and that a mistake or willful decision would change things irrevocably.

Here it’d be possible to write another 4,000 words breaking apart the design of The Void further, peeling and segmenting it just like I did with Pathologic. It’s unquestionably a game that deserves it, but it’s not something I can do now. I was always comfortable spoiling parts of Pathologic because I was writing two years after the UK release and in any case, I knew 95% of people wouldn’t be able to hack its tone, structure and shoddy translation. That’s not the case this time. This is a review, a buyer’s guide, of a heroically inventive, entertaining game, and writing any more would simply be spoiling what hopefully you’re now keen to find out for yourself.

Wait. Shit. You’re meant to talk about flaws in a review too, right?

First: The Void is hard, and requires some degree of perseverance. I don’t consider this a problem, but some people will. Likewise, I was only angry at myself when I had to reload an old save because of a fuck-up that came from me misreading a single letter of a character’s name. I did not consider this the game’s fault. You might.

Second: There is at least one minor bug that I know of.

Third: Transferring colour to and from your body to maximise your effectiveness before an action can get tedious fast if you’re retreading old ground.

That’s it! You can pre-order The Void from here.

As a kind of epilogue, let me finish by saying that I’m going to be doing one final piece of writing on The Void later in the week on the subject of breasts and art. Because, y’know, The Void’s got me thinking. About breasts. And art. It should be good. Come for the breasts! Stay for the art.

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192 Comments »

  1. Ian says:

    I’m still trying to get around to actually playing some of the other games RPS made (yes, MADE!) me buy, including Pathologic, so I’ll probably not pre-order this.

    Certainly does look interesting and well worth a bash though.

  2. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    mmm, breasts…

  3. Lewis says:

    Hooray, someone else has finally actually played the fucking Void.

    So. I found it substantially less fascinating than Pathologic. I found the narrative interesting, and its design choices interesting, and its characters brilliant. But I never sat mouth agape at what the game was doing, as I did in Pathologic.

    And, yeah, I’m one of the idiots that thought it was too hard. As in, I had to start again after almost 20 hours (because I kept wiping my saves like a moron – I have this obsession with never keeping more than two save slots), which was pretty annoying.

    That said, I like it a lot, and I think… I guess people are generally going to like this more than Pathologic. I don’t, not by a long shot, but it’s a better game, certainly.

    It’s also one of two games ever (bizarrely, I played both within a week of each other) to make me feel physically unwell with some of its dizzying architecture.

    • Quinns says:

      Agreed. Pathologic was by far the more ambitious, messier title, which is saying a lot when The Void might be the strangest commercial game out this year.

  4. Veldjes! says:

    splendid.

  5. Dominic White says:

    Curse you, Quintin! I’m still waiting on my review copy (thank you, lovely people at Ice-Pick Lodge!) of the game to arrive so I can write many words on this!

    I’m planning on doing things slightly differently though. A play-diary of my first attempt to beat the game (the devs have warned me that it’s ratbastard hard), followed by a proper review afterwards.

    From what I’ve played of the demo and read thusfar, it feels like it’s a new-generation artgame as designed by old-school gamers. It reminds me strongly of the very first Freescape-esque 3D adventures, where you’re just put into a dangerous and alien world with almost no clue what to do, and just have to improvise and figure out the best ways to survive through trial and error.

    And that’s great in my book. That mixture of fear, confusion and wonderment is something I hope to regain with this.

    • Lewis says:

      Oh, that’s really worth mentioning: it’s totally art-game. Even though it uses some less abstract mechanics than most of its peers, it’s far more pretentious-arty-artiness than Pathologic. It’s a lot more sparse than that too, and less atmospheric, though probably even more oppressive. Tension would have been a far more apt name, really.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah, even though the German-version demo ends just as the Brothers turn up, it feels like they’ve managed to fuse surrealist art with high-tension retro gameplay. Seeing those Brother symbols wandering around the map looking for you is nerve-wracking. Like a freakish game of pan-dimensional pacman. Alternatively, it’s the worlds first high-concept spiritual gardening simulator.

      It’s just unique, and that’s why I want to write a lot about it.

  6. Chris Evans says:

    Quinn’s, I am lost for words, a great piece of writing about what is sure to be a fantastic and very Russian game. Looking forward to playing this myself, it promises so much.

  7. Meat Circus says:

    Quinns: because swearing is big and clever.

    • DMcCool says:

      Too right! Think of the children Quinn.
      Think of the children you thoughtless beast with your corrupting language. Now wash your keyboard with soap!

  8. Turin Turambar says:

    I am going to buy this so fast the devs head are going to spin!

    Also, i am waiting for a rebalanced and retranslated Pathologic re-release, LxR. ;)

  9. Throdax says:

    I was waiting for this one.

    I was waiting for more people to bestow their sights on the work of art (to me) that is The Void (and yes Tension would have been better).

    As obvious, the comparisons to Pathologic are inevitable to which I personally prefer The Void, which isn’t saying that Pathologic isn’t brilliant. But in both of them the same oppressive feeling is there. The feeling of time limit to something you are not really sure, the rush of finding supplies to keep you alive, lies, deceit, betrayal, doubt, all is there in both and art, plenty of art, of good art.

    A great review, thank you Quin.

    • Chris Evans says:

      I haven’t played it yet (still waiting for review code) but I agree that Tension would have been a much better name than The Void, which is still quite good itself!

  10. Mako says:

    Fuck me, that sounds good. Thanks for highlighting it Q, I’m sold.

  11. Andresito says:

    I had my doubts, but you just sold me the game.

  12. JuJuCam says:

    I think “Butchering Pathologic” was the first RPS article I read. I was one of those that bought it but couldn’t stand to play it. Definitely wanna have a look at The Void.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      “Butchering Pathologic” was the piece that brought me to RPS too. I did try the demo because of it and I do keep meaning to buy it at some point. Sounds I will almost certainly be buying this as well.

      The Brothers sound a bit like a better executed version of the Big Daddies from Bioshock.

  13. Dominic White says:

    N’thing that Tension was a better title. I gather that The Void stuck during their time with Activision, who do tend to be pretty low on imagination.

    What really sets this apart from Pathologic is that while Pathologic was a videogame and an art-game, it didn’t feel particularly like either. The Void is much more polarized. The environment and character design is straight out of a lunatics sketchbook, and the gameplay is much more abstract and traditionally ‘videogamey’. You explore levels, you collect stuff, you use stuff to fight monsters, you battle bosses, etc.

    Abstract art and classic videogames go hand-in-hand very well. Pathologic blurred the line. The Void IS the line.

  14. roBurky says:

    I’m not sure ordering from the website linked to in the article is a good idea. I just did so, but after completing the paypal payment, found myself back on the website but logged in as someone else from Germany. Logging out and back in as myself found the game still in my shopping basket, with no order history.

    It does seem to be available at Play.com as well.
    http://www.play.com/Games/PC/4-/11488036/The-Void/Product.html

    • Quinns says:

      Shit + yikes. Can a moderator change the link in the article to Play?

    • Dominic White says:

      I ordered from Mamba Games fine (before getting that review copy posted, too, so I’ll have a spare copy to give to someone – heh), personally. Just double-checked, logged in under my account, order details were all there as intended.

      Mamba seem to have the added perk that you get unlimited digital distribution on games you order, on top of getting a boxed copy sent to you.

      Hopefully whatever roBurky encountered was a one-off glitch.

    • Okami says:

      I found myself logged in as some guy from Sweden. Weird.

    • Quinns says:

      Mamba are the publishers, so ordering from them has the advantage (I think?) of more money going to the developers (maybe?) because you’re cutting out the middle-man (I hate that guy), maybe (I just play the games).

    • Geoff says:

      American guy wants to know if it’s coming to any of the download services (Steam, Impulse, GOG, etc) or do I attempt to order from Play and tell them to ship to the states?

  15. The LxR says:

    Hey everyone!
    I’ll be reading this thread, answering questions and discussing here, but later in the evening. So go ahead, ask. :)

    • Veldjes! says:

      tell us about your next game. just a bit.

    • crumbsucker says:

      Hi! Is there going to be a special/limited editon?

    • Subject 706 says:

      RPS has certainly sold me the game, thats for sure.

      Is there any chance of a retranslated Pathologic coming out though? I’ve never played it, but I’d really like to, though I’ve heard the translation is beyond horrendous.

    • The LxR says:

      @Veldjes! – Sorry, I can’t just yet! Let me just say, that’s it’s going to be unusual for us, the studio, too… )

      @crumbsucker – None that I know of, unfortunately. But I know that the retail versions of the game will have a very beefy bonus disk (that I made :) ). It will feature: almost all concept art from the game in print quality, the full soundtrack in lossless (FLAC) including unreleased tracks, poems and mantras and totalling to about 150 tracks; all the trailers for the Void and one cool trailer for Pathologic.

      @Subject 706: I’m re-translating the game in my free time, so the work is going VERY slowly. It will take a lot of time to re-translate everything. Unless, we get to make a remake officially.

  16. Surgeon says:

    That sounds utterly mental.
    I’ll be giving this a whirl for sure.

  17. Steve says:

    Hurray! At last.

    To honest i still think Turgor is a better name than either.

    English version ordered.

  18. Jarmo says:

    I just bought the game from Mamba. My order number is 76. A new shop?

    • Dominic White says:

      As far as I can gather, it’s a brand new shop, belonging to a new independent publisher who look to be specializing in old-school adventures, and weird games from obscure Russian studios.

  19. Steve says:

    Umm.. ps.
    That Mamba games linky contains someones session id.

    If you don’t log out of the account first you’ll be sitting with someone else’s shopping basket…

    • Dominic White says:

      Hahaha. That explains the problem then. Quinns, you can put the link back… just minus the identifying part.

    • roBurky says:

      I think there’s more to it than that. My account had other people’s addresses added to its delivery addresses, including one from Sweden.

  20. The Sombrero Kid says:

    pathologic was like nothing else, hopefully this will change the industry like half life did 10 years ago.

  21. damien says:

    i’m wondering if i’ll die any less this time around now that i’ll be able to understand what’s being said to me.

  22. Songbearer says:

    Preordered in an instant. I loved playing Pathologic and The Void is shaping up to be even weirder, looking forward to this.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Grey Cap says:

    I’ve been waiting for the Void for months. . . I can’t sit still! Bit worried about the difficulty though, I can’t imagine Ice pick will have sunk low enough to put in difficulty levels;) Hope I can cope with the unrelenting afterlife!

  24. Lilliput King says:

    “Just as walking next to a pond, lake or river in real life when there’s no safety barrier brings a strange, animal excitement, so does playing a game”

    Quinns, you may be living an overly sheltered life. :D

    Thanks for the words though, certainly looks interesting.

    • Lewis says:

      “Quinns, you may be living an overly sheltered life.”

      Doubt it – Quinns has lived in more countries than most people could name.

    • Lewis says:

      Er, that ended up sounding a lot more aggressive than it did in my head…

  25. diebroken says:

    Great article! Void/Tension is on my pre-order list, along with Scorpion: Disfigured and Serious Sam HD, can’t wait to play it (finally).

    • Dominic White says:

      Blargh. Reply feature didn’t work, post misplaced. I repeat, minus the typos:

      I’ll be reviewing Scorpion: Disfigured shortly after I’m done with The Void. I do hope it’s good. Not really heard much about it at all, but the more interesting new Russian/eastern european studios on the block publishing in English, the better.

    • diebroken says:

      I hope so too, I’m always on the lookout for the more interesting games out there (good or bad).

  26. Quinns says:

    C’mon! You ever crossed a pond using stepping stones? That’s good stuff!

  27. ZeeKat says:

    I have Tension since months, but somehow couldn’t be bothered to wade through the tutorial and put it on shelf for later playing. Gotta try it finally, everyone says it’s great.

  28. Meat Circus says:

    There is something about Quinn’s spasmodic enthusiasm that makes me want to gouge my eyes out. But then I wouldn’t be able to play this game, which seems at least somewhat interesting.

  29. Steve says:

    LxR

    Are there any game play differences between the English and Russian versions?

    A long time ago I heard a nasty rumour that the English version was be simplified or something..

    • Dominic White says:

      I can Field that one: Not simplified. Longer and better balanced (including harder near the end) though. The version were getting is the Russian ‘directors cut’ re-release. More levels, script tweaks and such.

    • Throdax says:

      I can further clear that out.

      The Void, wasn’t simplified in any way or another. It is still visceral brutal and just as unforgiving as the original Turgor. What they did was to give it a better storyline direction and few improved (improved being the keyword here) mechanics.

    • Steve says:

      Excellent.
      Its all good then.

      Further on the Mamba games site…
      In short Its borked and I would have a hard time advising people to use it at the minute.

      It looks like the checkout / basket and such is actually recycling session id’s or simply not changing them at all. (ive seen 4 different accounts with the same id now)

      I e-mailed them about it so we’ll see what happens.

  30. Dominic White says:

    I’ll be reviewing Scirpion shortly after I’m done with the void. Hope it’s good.

  31. klumhru says:

    Is there a direct download somewhere? Living in Iceland means if you buy a game that gets physically delivered you pay over half the price in tariffs when it enters the country and takes 6 weeks to arrive…

  32. Markoff Chaney says:

    One of the final 2-3 games I’ll be buying before the little one comes and money becomes virtually impossible to come by. I really look forward to spending quite a bit of time with this one, and hope the Russian voices (via torrent if I remember correctly from the ice-pick lodge forums) come before too long, as I’ve heard wonderful things about that work. I wonder if they will have to be re-recorded though since this “Director’s Cut” will be substantially different as well. Finally, I want to give my thanks for working so hard on this version and, doubly, for doing the translation work in-house this time. I hope more people can enjoy it and I hope this enables a proper reworking of Pathologic to happen as well. Does anyone know if this work of art is going to be released in any shops over in the states or should I just import it from Mamba or Play?

    • Dominic White says:

      I might be wrong, but I THINK the new Russian version is out already (and yes, I think they re-recorded due to the script changes). Also, there’s actually a chance the english-language dub might be genuinely good. I’ve heard good things about the German one at least, and it certainly sounded quite nice from what I heard of it in the demo.

      But yeah, LxR has mentioned putting the new Russian audio up for download, for those of us who want the original first-string voice cast.

    • Markoff Chaney says:

      The German demo did seem to have more subtlety than I would have imagined, but that could be because I can hardly speak a word of German. Not that I speak any Russian either, mind you. I do enjoy things in their purest, most realized, form if possible, though. Sometimes the purest isn’t the most realized, but that’s a different discussion altogether.

    • hydra9 says:

      The English voice acting is really good, on the whole – certainly much better than the majority of games out there. I don’t think anyone will be disappointed.

      However, Dominic’s right: The game was re-released in Russia months ago, with new voice acting, so if anyone really wants those sound files, it shouldn’t be too hard to make them available in the future.

      And for German speakers… get the German version! The voice acting is supposed to be exceptional.

  33. Headwoünd says:

    Finally some coverage worth looking forward to regarding The Void.
    Haven’t noticed anything interesting in the German gaming media once the game had been released here.

    I think I now should have enough distance from my last “play-throughs” to finally being able to enjoy The Void as a gamer – greetings from this Keyfactor lab rat, LxR! ;)

  34. Kast says:

    8| Yes… yessss… That’s it – student finance or not, I’m getting this ASAP.

  35. Glove says:

    Well, I think I can say in all honest clarity that reading this has been the most interesting and enjoyable time I’ve had reading a review thus far; really great writing. Pre-ordering in the pipe, five by five!

  36. Dominic White says:

    Options and objectives cut? That’s slightly worrying. Can we get some elaboration from LxR?

  37. Halfgild Wynac says:

    Hmm. First, it would be reasonable to point out one more time, that the game released now internationally is not the original “Turgor” released more than a year ago in Russia. “The Void” corresponds to the new version “Turgor: the Voice of Colour” released half a year ago.
    The diferences between “Turgor” and “The Void” are numerous. The game ending is changed. Yes, there was an additional option in the original. Not to spoil anything… let us assume that the Void has endings 0, X, Y. Original game didn’t have Z ending, but it did have XY ending ;) There may be different opinions on the outcome of this. Of course, I think it’s for the better. The removed ending was just two endings placed one after another… I feel sorry for the bridge, though.

    The voiceover cast of “Turgor: the Voice of Colour” also ave gone through some changes; there were a few new actors, and some of the old ones did the other roles. Also we made a few more cutscenes for the endings, added new creatures, changed the body mechanic (in the original one should have collected grown colour to the Palette manually) and made more locations for the Hunters. Ah, and there is lipsync now.

    Now, if we discuss the differences between “Turgor: the Voice of Colour” and “The Void”, it’s completely different. They are minor, as these two are essentially the same game. The game is certainly less buggy (which is obvious), and the ending part was made slightly easier – which actually I would also classify as “less buggy”; in Russian ending cycles were found to be way too hard mainly due to the lack of testing. Fortunately, this fact was revealed as soon as someone tried to play it (I couldn’t complete the game), and then we kind of tweaked some of the numbers once more, so that a skillful player might have a chance not to load autosave made 5 or 10 cycles before (hey! we are not cutting any features here! he still can load it if he wishes so!).
    One more signigicant change was the voiceover cast. We found Russian actors’ accent unacceptable, so the English voiceover was done by a completely different people. Hope you wouldn’t mind.

    So I believe there is little difference between The Void and the recent re-release of “Turgor”.

    • Dominic White says:

      So, there’s still several possible endings, with one new, but one hybrid lost? That’s not so bad, then.

      Still, I like that you even CONSIDERED using the original Russian voice cast for the English version. That would have been insane, but interesting. Probably for the best you went with a whole new voice cast. Still, as others have mentioned, you can often get the best ‘feel’ for a game if it’s the original native voicetrack with subtitles. The first round of acting is usually the most in tune with the characters. That’s why some folks would like the Russian audio files available for download.

      Plus, I like Russian accents. Especially soft-spoken Russian ladies accents.

      Of course, if the english dub is as good as I hear, that’s not nearly as much of a problem.

    • Halfgild Wynac says:

      Err? Sure I sound too serious at times, but I though it was too obvious I wasn’t about the voiceover. Relax, we didn’t try to have English read by Russian actors. The inflexion is just too different. It would never work for any actor who is not proficient enough with English to know how the sentences should be pronounced. Russian intonation sounds flat, unfriendly and hardly comprehensible when mapped into English

    • subversus says:

      do you mean that “Turgor: Voice of color” is impossible to complete? I was planning on buying it after this review but now I’m not so sure.

    • Halfgild Wynac says:

      And why is that? “Voice of colour” in its released Russian version is entirely possible to complete. You just need to know what to do and have some luck. I didn’t know what to expect (note: I am a 3D-artist, not a gamedesigner), so I had to go back 5 or so cycles, and replay the ending. It was hard even this way, but at least I managed to get a good ending (Ole).

    • Throdax says:

      See, Ole wins all :D

    • Veldjes! says:

      Ole is the best) indeed

      btw, Throdax, thank you for yor “Tension Longplay Project” , was real pleasure to watch

  38. Cooper says:

    I saw this on sale in Kyiv. Was very tempted to buy it, despite my minimal knowledge of Russian, given that I had no idea how long I’d have to wait for an English language release. Glad I decided not to and glad it’s out soon. Pre-order on the way.

    The only thing that kept me from completing Pathologic was the difficulty level. I love survival games, and loved what Pathologic did with the world and the mechains, but I reached a point in Pathologic where every spare moment was spent trying to survive so much so that I was failing too many of the main missions to be able to proceed.

  39. drewski says:

    Mmmm. Art.

  40. Sunjammer says:

    I really gave Pathologic a long, hard, try. The first vibe i got from it was that i thought the writing was fascinating, the game felt a lot like Thief, and that there was obviously a lot to it.
    But the overall vibe was that it was an absolute chore to play. It didn’t help that it made a habit of crashing at least twice per session i played it.

    I’m disappointed with myself for not “getting it” as some have, but at the same time i feel like i did get it, but was held back by mechanical design choices. Someone described Pathologic to me as smart people married to less smart game developers, and i think that’s as true as it can get.

    Excited about this one, and absolutely will play it. I hope it winds up on Steam. It’s the sort of impulse buy i can’t resist.

  41. Lucas says:

    The Void sounds interesting, and I’m more inclined to try it than Pathologic because it sounds like its a better game. As great as the Pathologic article series was, it sounded just about unplayable.

    Okami was very easy and repetetive (especially combat), and had some good puzzles, but mostly my issue with Okami is that it’s so stuffed to the gills with loot that you ultimately feel more like a garbage collector than a god.

    I always wanted to play Vangers but never found a copy to buy.

  42. Kylock says:

    Does anyone know of any digital distribution sites us Yankees can use? Play.com doesn’t seem to want to ship to the states, and it isn’t showing up on Amazon. …Hmm… does Amazon.uk ship to the US?

  43. DMcCool says:

    Preorded on the spot. Pathologic has been on my “want” list for so long now, The Void seems the best route into the obstuse Russian game world. Since Empire came out The Void has been the sole game I’ve been waiting to be release, had no idea it was his close though.
    Any game that tries this many new things is a must have, and one that reputably pulls it all off..I wouldn’t be much of a games enthusiast if I didn’t own it.

  44. Marty Dodge says:

    So does booze or other substances enhance gameplay or is it just a psychedelic trip anyway?

  45. Mike says:

    Is it tight, though?

    This sounds fantastic. The three points you bullet at the end have made me a bit cautious, but otherwise – fantastic-sounding.

  46. Hi!! says:

    Kylock: You could just wait for Mamba’s own digital distribution portal to go live. Or you could pre-order the game on disc from them. Apparently the shipping is free (anywhere in the world) if you order before 1. oct.

  47. SirKicksalot says:

    I love all the versions of this game’s cover.

  48. Jarmo says:

    How many hours does it take to complete The Vame? How hard is it? Is it Batman: Arkham Asylum on Hard hard? Is it Pathologic hard? Is it Ninja Gaiden hard? Is it Demon’s Souls hard? Is it Nethack hard? What?

    • Jarmo says:

      …complete The Void, obviously..

    • Dominic White says:

      Or ‘The Game’. Possibly.

    • Lewis says:

      Quinns reckons it’s easier than Pathologic. I think it’s probably about level. The difference is that Pathologic’s more difficult in a sustained sense – moment-to-moment it ain’t that hard, until you realise something you did hours ago means you’ve totally fucked yourself. The Void’s less like that, but more RIGHT NOW I HAVE NO HEALTH difficult.

  49. Jetsetlemming says:

    I also want this game preferably via a source where I wouldn’t have to deal with overseas shipping. You know, on the internets.
    As one of the few people in America to have bought, played, and beat Pathologic, I feel that it’s not an option for me not to play this game.

    • Jetsetlemming says:

      The way this post was written is an homage to Pathologic’s translation and sleep deprivation.

    • Quinns says:

      Per say, oinon, that there such a means of the getting should exist in the world?

      What if…

      I cannot think in such a means. It would be madness! The only thing all of us can do is to wait, but even so I must burst with the truth: such a thing is desirable. I am telling you true. Madness! And yet if we consider the getting a means to an end, as our forefathers might have, I am sure we will find the path which we seek.

      Be strong, oinon. For now, let me tell you a secrets. One of your friends is not who they say they are! You must keep eyes on your back. Or perhaps the knife has already been planted? Reach around and feel with your fingers, before it is too late.

    • Jetsetlemming says:

      Oh, come on, be fair to the game. It was only that bad on Day Seven or so.

    • Dominic White says:

      You could totally tell that the translators stopped giving a fuck after a certain point, though, and just started running things through Babelfish.

      Makes me extra glad that Ice-Pick Lodge are doing their translations in-house now. They actually give a damn.

  50. bobince says:

    Sorry to bring tiresome practical matters into the conversation, but: any DRM?