Pathologic Remake Stuff Is Coming Soon! Eek! EEK!

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.

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35 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    basilisk says:

    Yes! A million times yes!

    I am also very much afraid that the remake won’t be able to retain what made Pathologic so special. But I really want them to take that chance. Because, Pathologic.

    This will be the first Kickstarter that I will throw obscene amounts of money at.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Oozo says:

    PATHOLOGIC.
    Of all the Kickstarter games I have backed and that delivered, Knock Knock was probably the one that was closest to what I was hoping for (even though the campaign was utterly opaque), and I even are among the minority that thought Cargo was, in it’s very own way, enjoyable. I could, however, not really get into Pathologic, even though I tried to do so twice. Maybe three is the charm, but then again, I profoundly trust those very weird people to know what they are doing. (Or not having any clue, but in a somewhat controlled way.) So I can’t hide my excitement.
    PATHOLOGIC.

    By the way: it’s utterly baffling to me that those guys never got a proper profile, not that I know of, anyway. Cara really should get embed with them. The results can’t be anything short of… mysterious.

  3. Vinraith says:

    A remake seems needlessly ambitious, a coherent English translation would be enough for me.

    • cptgone says:

      +1
      …but, of course, i don’t know Ice Pick’s plans/ambitions for the remake.

      If memory serves me right, Pathologic does feature some remarkably pretty ladies :)

      • wwwhhattt says:

        Reading their forum, it could be that they’re changing the script and creating an AI for the plague, making it more like Pathologic 2 than just a remake.
        Now I can’t find anything official about that, just a quote from a comment that seems to have vanished.

  4. bv728 says:

    Knock Knock was a perfect kickstarter, in that it totally echos the themes and strangeness of the game.

    Pathologic with a better translation and graphics will still be pathologic. Just very slightly more comprehensible.

    • cptgone says:

      I agree – the way Knock Knock was KS’ed, and is presented, is exemplary.
      Gaming could sure do with more poetic beauty, mystery, imagination.

      I haven’t ‘won’ a game of Knock Knock yet, but I’m liking what i see so far. Very glad i helped KS it.

  5. Premium User Badge

    golem09 says:

    I just need the translation, since I was completely unable to even play the game. I still wonder how people were actually successful in playing this game in english, I was not, and so I gave up, hoping for a remake/retranslation(mod). Maybe not having english as my first language made it harder, but I’m playing all games in english anyway.

    Really excited to back for this.

  6. Distec says:

    This was one of those games I wanted to try, but I couldn’t bring myself to. Just a wee bit too rough for what my pampered bottom has become accustomed to. If they can shine it up just a little bit, it would probably be a purchase for me.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    I am currently emitting a high pitched noise that can only be written as

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    • Hicks233 says:

      I remember when Ice-Pick showed a couple of promotional shots that they had volunteers for and even though you knew that momentum was going to continue, just seeing that it’s getting closer I had a sharp intake of breath.

      Come on Ice-Pick! :D Really looking forward to this, loved the original and hyped for a remake/continuation.

  8. Darth Gangrel says:

    Eek? Oh, you mean that you are eekcited about the remake.

  9. Shazbut says:

    I hope they totally overhaul it. There is a masterpiece waiting to rise, phoenix-like, out of the cracked shell of the original material.

    Anyway, they can have my money. Really excited about this

  10. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    This is going to be amazing, I will give Ice Pick Lodge any amount of money to do anything. One of view devs I can say that about. Pathologic was the primary inspiration for my own game, Alaska.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    The Pathological articles by Quinns were the first thing I read on this site. Incredible pieces that really made you think about the potential this medium can achieve. I did later pick up Pathologic and, although I enjoyed what I played, I didn’t get too far into it (more due to getting distracted rather than the game itself.) I also have a very strong memory of watching a trailer for the game on a PC Gamer demo disc. The character in the screenshot above really gave me the wiggins when I was younger, but had forgotten about it until I actually played it many years later. (I guess I must have been a teen when I saw it.)

    I can see myself putting a few pounds down for this.

  12. Veldzhes says:

    AT LAST

  13. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    Can’t wait!

  14. rcguitarist says:

    I think those who have a love for this game must have played it when it released way back in the day. Having heard a few people, including RPS staff, talk about how much they loved the game, I bought it in the GOG summer sale. And…..it was terrible! I went into it knowing that the graphics were going to be terrible because of the age of the game, but everything was horrible. From the programming to the story to the controls to the environment, everything was god-awful. Several times I would have a person chasing me only to glance back and see them spinning in tight circles because of bugged programming.

    It’s by far one of the worst games I have ever played and I have been an avid gamer since the days of the original NES. I only paid 99 cents for it but I feel like I still overpaid for it.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      I played it for the very first time ever this January. And I was absolutely spellbound. So clearly, that’s not it.
      It’s not a game for everyone. I’m not even sure it’s a game for anyone. Bouncing right off of it is a perfectly understandable response.

      • rcguitarist says:

        What captivated you about it? Maybe you can help me grow to love it. I feel like I am missing something here, lol.

        • Premium User Badge

          basilisk says:

          The atmosphere, first and foremost. The urgency and the absolute hopelessness, and the fact that I didn’t understand much, because I wasn’t supposed to (playing as the Bachelor, i.e. the complete outsider who is entirely out of his element, not at all unlike the player). The remarkable idea that the game doesn’t need me to keep going (you can quite literally do nothing but eat and sleep, and the story will flow right past you until it reaches the end). The strange yellow light of the steppes. The music. The sight of the otherworldly Executors and the dread, because seeing the Executors means horrible things have happened. The peculiar poetry of miserably poor translation. The horror of knowing something is deeply and disturbingly wrong, and having no idea what it is. And never finding out. And then finding out. And the stairs to nowhere, the letters to heavens. And the pounding in my head. The Sand Plague. And oh, the children.

          John is right; writing coherent things about Pathologic is incredibly hard.

        • malkav11 says:

          Well, for starters, Pathologic is not a game about having fun. This puts it in a tiny, tiny class of games, because the conventional wisdom is that having fun is the entire point of playing games. I won’t claim that all of the things that are offputting about Pathologic are deliberate, because clearly things like bugs and the incredibly off kilter translation were not intentional, but quite a bit of it is. And it’s because of the atmosphere and experiental qualities they are trying to create.

          I will be a day one backer of this proposed Kickstarter.

          • Hicks233 says:

            Pretty much nails it.

            Pathologic is an exercise in misery and masochism. Getting to the full ending is a cruel slog, surviving each day is an obstacle course of dismal surroundings and desperate trade offs. Playing Pathologic and getting the most out of it means letting it beat you down and knowingly asking for more.

        • dskzero says:

          Your comments made me remember when I played it. I did it a few years ago, a completely blind playthrough (I actually kinda documented it http://dskzero.tumblr.com/tagged/Pathologic ) and the first couple of days into the game, as I played them over eleven days, one each realtime day, I was borderline bored and confused. Once I began to tie loose ends and became used to the archaic engine, I couldn’t put the game away and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The atmosphere and general feeling of the game is haunting and geniuously frightening. That said, it’s probably not a fun game and it’s nearly unplayable unless you force yourself through it.

          I think the only thing that left me this bewildered was the book House of Leaves recently. For the record, back then I said I wouldn’t try to play this game again any time near and so far I haven’t been able to bring myself to do so, despite keeping the install with me ever since and having unlocked the third character.

  15. FataMorganaPseudonym says:

    This is the informationiest of news to me, because this article right here is the first I’ve heard that they’re remaking Pathologic, so thanks for posting it, even so.

  16. montorsi says:

    Neat, love these guys. Much like Larian, their quirky titles are a perfect companion to the more mainstream stuff I also enjoy.

  17. Premium User Badge

    caff says:

    I’ll back this, because I have no idea what Pathologic is all about.

    Also, because of Knock Knock – despite it’s fairly transparent mechanics it reminded me of the novels of Kafka, or the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe.

  18. Hicks233 says:

    Well that just caused a boner.

    Time to gear up for a Kickstarter and to spend more than I really ought to.

  19. Zanchito says:

    Please do update us when this is released, I’ve played and loved every other Ice Pick Lodge game and they are, along with ACE Team, the only developers I’d ever consider as safe bets for purchasing before reading reviews (if you’re into their kind of thing).

  20. Curratum says:

    First Kickstarter I will back up. Muchly.

  21. Acosta says:

    I bought a copy of Pathologic thanks to reading the first part of the Quintin writeup (didn’t read the rest because I wanted to experience it myself). Then I got utterly confused by the game and got stuck. Will happily support this.

  22. Pan Vidla says:

    I don’t know why people mention it’s brokeness and poor translation as the most important reasons why the game had it’s charm. The controls were clunky, yes, the graphics outdated, sure, there were a couple of bugs (none of the game breaking), but all in all, from the technical standpoint it worked pretty well. AND I played it in my mother tongue, which was translated directly from Russian, so there was no problem understanding it. Well, at least you understood the words and sentences, but to understand their actual meaning is another matter.