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Ambitious cult horror adventure Pathologic is getting a remake

UPDATE: Succeeds its Kickstarter goal with a week to go.

UPDATE 30/09/2014 7pm: The Pathologic Kickstarter has surpassed its $250K goal with a week left before its 7th October deadline.

The crowdfunding effort has currently raised $264,953 with 5565 backers.

For every $50K more than its goal, developer Ice-Pick Lodge will add more content, extending the size of the town and providing further spaces to explore within it. This caps off at $450K, but at $550K, it will release a small prequel to the surreal horror adventure.

ORIGINAL STORY 05/09/2014 7.52pm: Ice-Pick Lodge's 2005 horror game Pathologic is getting a remake, assuming its Kickstarter is successful. And given that it's made $127,217 of its $250K goal in a day, I see no reason to believe that it won't be.

So what is Pathologic, you ask? It's a horror game unlike any other as the nefarious force isn't just some demonic army, mad scientist or mythical boogeyman, but rather a plague. As such, you can't kick its butt - as it doesn't have one - and it will kill people. Lots of people. But you can look for a cure.

Beyond the airborne pathogens threatening you and everyone else's very existence, there's another threat befalling the peculiar town: the military. The game will take place over the course of 12 days and throughout that time the authorities will send a doctor, an inquisitor, and eventually a military commander to assess the situation. If the powers that be deem things bad enough, they can execute a strike on the entire town in an effort to contain the virus' spread.

You'll occupy the role of one of three characters: two of whom are doctors and the other is a girl called The Changeling who believes she can heal with her hands. One of the doctors is sent by the authorities, while the other is an amateur with a penchant for experimental surgery.

Time will play a major factor in the game and there isn't enough of it to save everyone, so you'll have to make difficult decisions navigating this surreal village.

"Choices will haunt your every step," said Ice-Pick Lodge. "You'll want to get closer to your goal, but sometimes it'll all come down to mere survival. In a time when everyone is in danger, would you lend a gun to a person who may use it with ill intent? Would you try to save someone who claims they don't need to be saved? Would you share your medicine with important figures who will unveil the Town's numerous secrets in return, or would you rather help an ordinary stranger in need? Or maybe even selfishly keep the pills in case you get sick?"

Pathologic's main character will be the town itself: a haunted village full of strange rules and customs. "It's a place where the main factory is ruled by a five-year-old girl, where districts are named after body parts, where bulls can only be slaughtered by the initiated, and where ideas and projects banned from the Capital somehow thrive," the developer explained. It will also have a colossal physics-defying building, actors who perform plays to no audience, and it's forbidden to dig wells, for some reason. Curiouser and curiouser.

Survival is a key component of Pathologic and you'll have to eat, sleep and take care of your health, so bartering and scavenging for food, water and medical supplies is important. But you'll have to be mindful of the populace, who might regard you with suspicion, especially as resources become increasingly scarce.

Pathologic's ever-ticking clock means the game will last about 72 hours for all three characters' campaigns, but you'll likely end up reloading and trying new things and whatnot. So it's likely to keep you busy for quite some time. Ice-Pick Lodge is adamant that the game won't be repetitive as each day in-game will feature new events, quests, characters, plotlines and circumstances.

Ice-Pick Lodge is rather critical of its own 2005 release, despite it being well-received in its native Russia. It admits that it had a lot of problems and this modern update will improve not just the graphics, but add a whole new host of mechanics, vastly improved AI for the NPCs who will mill about their business in a more believable fashion, and there will be loads more to discover in this ambitious, fleshed out world.

Pathologic's remake is in development for PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac and Linux. It's not due until November 2016, but you can't rush class. Ice-Pick Lodge wants to see this concept done right, after all, as it likely won't get a third stab at this.

Early birds can guarantee a copy of the game on the platform of their choice, along with a digital soundtrack and artbook, for $20. Those late to the party will have to spend $25 for the same thing.

Back in the day John Walker reviewed the original Pathologic for us, where he fell in love with it despite its flaws that lead to its lukewarm numeric score. "It's probably the most interesting and brilliant 6 out of 10 game you'll find. £25 is far too much for a poorly translated, dated game. But at the same time, there's a reason this won every Russian Game of the Year award in 2005," he wrote in his Pathologic review. "To think what this would have been in the hands of a funded team is too depressing."

Well, soon that may no longer be an issue. So cheer up, John Walker.

The Pathologic Kickstarter runs until 7th October.

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