Ice-Pick Lodge has released a dozen “environment draft” screenshots from the first build of its Pathologic “reimagining,” which actually look an awful lot like the original—stylistically, anyway. More interestingly, it also revealed a bit about which elements of the game will remain the same, and which are undergoing “drastic changes” in the new release.
The rebooted game will still unfold over 12 days in a remote town in the Steppes, with the same protagonists, NPCs, ideologies, worldviews, and lore, although that will be explored in greater depth than it was in the first game. The general layout of the town will remain the same, although “ordinary houses” will be relocated; similarly, while the stories of the main characters won’t change, the specific events that make them up will.
Among the “drastic changes” in the works include new dialog (although some of the old text will be kept), a brand-new soundtrack, new character photos, changed death mechanics for the Bound/Adherents, more organic main quests for each day—“no more strict and punishing structure of one day = one main quest”—and the elimination of exploits that were prevalent in the first release.
Naturally, there will be quite a bit of brand-new content as well. The Plague is “much more complicated and treacherous,” and fighting it will be “a story of its own now.” You will have the ability to influence the fates of NPCs, and instead of being given specific “quests and tasks” to complete, you’ll encounter events, which you can deal with as you see fit.
“All in all, we keep the structural things, tweak the relationships between them, change the presentation, and rework the mechanics,” Ice-Pick said. “We will elaborate further upon all that in our blog and on the Kickstarter page.”
I am, I admit, a dedicated follower of the “They changed it, now it sucks” school of complaint, but even so I’m really happy to hear that these changes are being made. Pathologic was a remarkable game, but it wasn’t particularly good in the conventional sense; the broad strokes were fascinating, but viewed up close, it was largely incoherent. If Ice-Pick Lodge can maintain the same sense of oddity while at the same time cleaning up the worst of its messes, the new Pathologic could prove to be a very memorable experience.