Friday, September 5, 2014

Pathologic Kickstarter is live

It's already topped $100k at the time of writing, nearly halfway towards its goal of $250k. I backed it as soon as I heard. Read on to find out why.

Adam Smith's article on Rock, Paper,Shotgun gives a good analysis of the story, character, use of language, and overall philosophical arc to the remake. It's worth reading. He spoke with the developers at Gamescom, and the article allays any and all concerns I had about the update.

What personally excites me, even more so, are the mechanical enhancements.

The team promises to keep the following untouched:
- The atmosphere;
- The setting;
- The ideas that lie in the very core of the game;
- The general storyline;
- The characters;
- The map, the general feel and the concept of the Town; it’s already an existing place for us, so we won’t change it, but rather add more detail to it.

In addition, here are some improvements they promise:

- There’ll be new quests, events, and plotlines, and some filler quests that were added for the sake of adding something will be rid of.
- Graphics will be much better. We’ll do everything we can so that the game looks adequately even ten years from now.
- Gameplay will be way more balanced. We’re not talking about making it simpler and survival easier, mind you; but fights used to be annoying rather than tense and emotional, scavenging was very rudimentary, and the economy of a plagued town was hardly a system at all. We plan to change all that, making all these mechanics robust. That doesn’t mean the game will become a breeze, it just means we’ll replace artificial challenges with real ones. 
- Street NPCs will have advanced AIs that’ll make them feel way more alive. Once again, we’re not abandoning the concept of them being “extras” in this play, we just want those extras to perform better.
- We’ll also add realistic behavior patterns to the disease.
- Localization will be done internally or with the help of trusted outsourcers who are not only native speakers, but also talented writers.

And here are some things I've deduced from their Kickstarter page and images, even if they're not listed in bulletpoints:

- Shops will lock down when in a plagued district
- Regarding survival, Ice-Pick Lodge list the previous parameters (immunity, hunger, exhaustion etc), in addition to thirst, which is new
- Guns will misfire (this might not be new - I can't actually remember if guns misfired in the original or not, they may well have done)
- In addition to the time of day changing, there will be changing weather (it sort of changed in the original, but only between cloudy or drizzling)
- A more complex inventory system, keeping track of individual pockets, belt pouches, and your backpack. I like this!
- Apparently you will have the chance to rob shops (or at least try to)
- Guardsmen will then pursue you - if you're caught you will be put in prison with infected people (you could end up in prison in the original game, but only as a specific plot point for one of the characters)
- Bandit AI can be scared away by firing in the air

The flowchart diagram (above) from the Kickstarter pages highlights how any potential day might play out, and reveals aspects of the AI, economy, and overall gameplay which will be improved on. All of this pleases me.

If all this wasn't enough, there's also a tabletop version of the game, for higher tiers. Which is an unexpected but delightful surprise.

Anyone who has read my thoughts on the game will know I am heavily biased towards it, and have been since I first played the PC original some years back. I hope my enthusiasm encourages others to try it.It's clear the team have their own vision for the game, and they're sticking with it. Whatever myself and other fans ask for aloud or secretly hope will be implemented, ultimately I liked the original (and by extension the development team), because of their decisions, because of how and what they created. For the remake, above all else, I hope the team achieve what they personally want, and they show me things which I hadn't even considered. The best creators don't react to the demands of their consumers, but rather provide them with content which is beyond their imagining. I have complete faith in Ice-Pick Lodge to deliver.

My only question now is, do I upgrade my computer, or buy a PS4 to play it?

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