Horrible plague-ridden fever-dream simulator Pathologic 2 will be stumbling into stores on May 23rd, presumably before letting out a gurgling cough and keeling over. Despite the ‘2’ in the title, this new game is less of a sequel and more of an expanded re-imagining of Ice-Pick Lodge’s cult 2005 horror-survival game. Set in a surreal industrial town inspired by turn-of-the-century Russia, you’ve got to survive for twelve days as a seemingly supernatural plague tears through the population. Below, an unsettling trailer featuring the children living in this bizarre, impossible place.
For those new to Pathologic, imagine Deus Ex, but the fourth wall has fallen down and you’re teetering on the brink of death most of the time. The town is a strange, impossible place with a towering physics-defying polyhedron looming over it, and some vast factory structures that seem more like an insect hive than a human place of work. The town’s inhabitants are just as strange, fond of purple prose and flowery phrasing. Stranger still are the masked figures you’ll meet, acting as tutorial, narrator and director – helpful, but unattached to the story itself. There’s not much else like it.
Curiously, the release date announcement makes no mention of Ice-Pick Lodge’s announced plans to split the game’s sprawling three campaigns into a trio of episodic releases. If they’re sticking to their guns, then the game launching in May should put you in the well-worn shoes of the Haruspex, part soothsayer, part folk-healer, part surgeon. His path to surviving the plague (and saving who he can) relies equally on unravelling the town’s bizarre mystical mysteries and cutting out people’s organs to study and brew into potions. A good pick for a first story, grounding its weirdness.
If you want to give the game an early look, and don’t mind dealing with rough edges and bugs, an early alpha build is still available, letting you experience the first couple days of life (and death) in the city. Not quite a demo of the full game, as the rough alpha was part of the reason Ice-Pick decided to delay and split up the release, but it should give you a general idea of what to expect.
Pathologic 2 launches on May 23rd. Publisher TinyBuild haven’t announced a price yet, but you can find the game here on Steam.