A Kickstarter-funded remake of the cult horror game Pathologic is now a new project called Pathologic 2, set for release in 2018. Studio Ice-Pick Lodge released the news on the eve of the Pax West gaming show, along with a five-minute gameplay trailer that reflects a lot of the original game’s tense creepiness. Ice-Pick Lodge also says it’s partnering with the developer and publisher TinyBuild, which made indie platformer No Time to Explain.
Ice-Pick Lodge ran its Kickstarter campaign in 2014 with a 2016 release goal, and it released a short teaser called Pathologic: The Marble Nest earlier this year. Now, its developers say they want to work more in tandem with audience feedback, including that of Kickstarter backers and Pax West attendees who try a demo at the show. “In the old structure, we would spend months on getting complicated systems in place, and hope everything comes together in the end,” writes TinyBuild producer Alex Nichiporchik. “Today we spend shorter sprints on accomplishing smaller tasks, and playtest what we’ve accomplished — figuring out if the direction is still the right one.”
This kind of development structure could make Pathologic 2 more accessible than its predecessor, which was known for its difficulty and seeming indifference to players. In Pathologic, players took on the grueling task of stopping a plague in a remote Russian town, scrounging for food, water, and antidotes while scrambling to tie up plot threads over two strictly timed in-game weeks.
The trailer shows some of the same systems and the plot seems roughly similar to the original, though it’s only loosely referenced. But Pathologic 2’s interface looks less clunky, and at least in the video, there’s more focus on the strange masked figures who largely operate in the background of Pathologic. Did I not mention the masks? Oh, well. You’ll see.