By John Walker on July 24th, 2014 at 7:00 pm.
This isn’t the informationiest of news stories, I’ll concede, but see, when it’s Pathologic, it gets a pass. It’s Pathologic news. As Alec reported back in November of last year, Ice-Pick Lodge are planning to remake the 2006 lunatic masterpiece. We’ve just heard today that this will be kicking off in August, beginning with a mysterious, yet-to-be-released ARG, building up to the inevitable Kickstarter campaign in September. And, well, that means it’s time to start being interested in that right about now. And shitting heck, look, that top image – that’s… new Pathologic! Click on it for a full-sized version.
I feel like if RPS had to pick a flagship game, it would be Pathologic. Coming out before RPS was born, it nevertheless has always held a place in the site’s core. Hell, Quintin has a Pathologic tattoo, and wrote about it so utterly wonderfully when he was here.
It is one of the most affecting games I’ve ever played. Reviewing it for Eurogamer on release, I was utterly entranced, bewildered, and terrified by it. Writing about it is more daunting than I really know how to deal with, and giving it a score was one of the most awful moments of my criticism career. If one game doesn’t deserve the insult of a score, it’s Pathologic.
So, as Alec felt before, I feel utterly torn by a remake. Part of what made Pathologic work was its brokenness. It was thematic, that it was so rough, that the translation was so poor that it provided an accidental and genuinely beautiful poetry. The fragility of its terrible engine gave more meaning to the cancerous decay of the city. That I didn’t have the faintest clue what was going on only served to make it far more terrifying and engrossing.
Saying that, Ice-Pick Lodge with money doesn’t exactly lead to a mainstream coherent experience. The Void, while one that I could never get into, didn’t take them anywhere closer to normality, and their successfully Kickstartered Knock Knock is bewildering just to look at. So perhaps a remastered Pathologic would maintain those essential weirdnesses, simply because Ice-Pick Lodge are incapable of not.
So, a week until the weirdness begins to unfold, and I start having dreams about that bird-faced man-thing again.