Different

A lot of people say that 2016 was a terrible year. Some do so with irony. Some mean it.

Others argue that it was rather unexceptional, offering statistics that suggest as much. Others still are always eager to remind anyone who would listen that life generally sucks. (Or that it’s generally lovely, although this idea is for some reason less popular.)

To us, this conundrum is very simple. Everyone is different—and so was everyone’s 2016. What’s tragic for one person is merely a shrug of the shoulders for another; the events in the world surrounding us are the same, yet we all have different takes on them.

This will not change in 2017.

And yet, however different, we still manage to find common ground, understand each other, and share interests. It was very apparent to us when we were reading your feedback on The Marble Nest: sometimes your critique was unexpected, while at other times you pointed out undeniable drawbacks. Sometimes your compliments were surprising, while at other times you justified our hopes.

Sometimes your tastes seemed a bit eccentric (especially the tastes of that guy who asked us to make the movement in Pathologic even slower), while sometimes you remained surprisingly unanimous.

There’s only one thing we know for certain: 2016 was the year when we constructed The Marble Nest. The new Pathologic appeared in the real playable flesh for the first time ever. We checked many a hypothesis; detected a number of less-than-impressive bits, too. But most importantly, we refined the course that had been charted previously. Now we’re sure which way to go.

And this is what we wish to all of you in the new year. 2017 will be different for everyone, but we sincerely hope that each of you will muster up enough wisdom and strength to shape it your own way, turning it into exactly the thing you need.

Even if what you need is to drag a huge bull into a small room.

The Void is back on Steam

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The Void makes a glorious return to Steam. Now with trading cards, badges and stuff, because nothing screams “gamify me” like an artistic game about exploring your soul and creativity.

If you already own The Void on Steam or GOG, the Russian, German, and Polish versions will unlock for you automatically, and your Steam copy will be updated to make the cards and other shiny stuff available.

Please keep in mind that apart from us giving in to the colorful appeal of collectible Steam items, it’s still very much the same game—no fixes, no updates, nothing remastered. It was still released in 2009. The Sisters are still alluring and the Brothers, still grotesque. You know, the usual.

For those of you who might be curious, The Void was taken off Steam due to legal issues, that have now been resolved (which, as a bonus, allowed us to finally include the original Russian texts).

The Color of the Void is once again in your hands and hearts now.

The One and Only

The one and only patch for The Marble Nest is out. We’re calling it “one and only” because we aren’t planning to release any more fixes to The Marble Nest.

We are aware of the fact that a number of issues with the game remain unresolved. However, since The Marble Nest was just a pre-alpha sort-of-demo created to gauge your kind feedback, it would be ill-advised of us to keep pouring resources into trying to polish it. Instead, we are processing said feedback to improve the main game and will now fully focus on developing Pathologic itself.

Thank you very much for all your kind and critical words! We have studied each piece of feedback very closely. If you have anything else to say about The Marble Nest, please keep in mind that it’s never too late to share your opinion on the forums, social networks, or via e-mail: mail@ice-pick.com.

You can find the patch notes here.

Pathologic: The Marble Nest (the First Playable)

The First Pathologic Playable Thing reached the backers who are eligible for alpha access today. You can download and play it right now.

The First Playable Things even has a separate name now, Pathologic: The Marble Nest. Which may be a bit odd, but this is the best way to highlight the fact that the thing that became available to you today is neither a demo (because it features a very limited number of mechanics), nor an alpha version of the real Pathologic (because it’s a separate story with its own self-contained plot). It’s almost like a small autonomous game that uses the assets, characters, and premise of Pathologic, but works on its own.

Kind of.

Why does it even exist? There were business reasons, of course—in the world of game development, you have to have a playable build to show to the press and potential partners. But more importantly, it was our first attempt at actually building the Town, trying out our ideas, and tying everything together. And a crucial attempt it was: during the creation of The Marble Nest we uncovered a ton of issues, but also a number of unexpected synergies. The real Pathologic will be better for the fact that we tried out the ideas on a smaller scale.

Which is, by the way, the reason why your feedback is invaluable to us at this point. We very much encourage you to criticize The Marble Nest. Doing so on Steam forums (if you’re looking for a discussion) or by writing to mail@ice-pick.com (if you’d rather keep your opinion private) would be preferable to us, but you are welcome to use any platform, social network, or venue of communication. We simply want to know what you think.

You are also welcome to share your experience with the world in the form of streams, letsplays, reviews and whatnot.

A normally-paced walkthrough of The Marble Nest will take ~2 hours. You’ll get a chance to explore The Stone Yard, interact with a number of characters, and traverse the plot that is loosely tied to the motifs of the main game.

The Pain of Early Builds

Now, we know that, as Kickstarter backers, most of you probably do have some experience with Early Access, alpha builds, and other less-than-finished projects. Still, we would like to remind you that it’s hard to overestimate the importance of polish. Something as seemingly non-essential as clunky UI, a partly-implemented mechanic, or a bugged script can make or break the impression. So please keep in mind that The Marble Nest is not even an alpha build—it’s more of a pre-alpha. Few of the things you’ll see are final.

It’s not a demo. It’s a mood-piece that we made to showcase the setting and atmosphere of the game.

On top of that, it’s not exactly well-optimised. Optimisation is a strategic process that will continue until the very release of the main game and is closely tied to the evolution of the engine. While The Marble Nest offers quality/performance settings, it still requires a strong setup (Core i5, GeForce GTX 950+, 8 Gb+ RAM are advised). If your specs are below these, you can still run it on lower settings, but it likely won’t be smooth.

Did we mention that you can’t save in The Marble Nest? Or that it’s only available on PC? That even on a good rig, it will take several minutes to load?

Welcome to the marvellous world of early builds.

Nevertheless, we still believe that The Marble Nest can give you a good idea of what to expect from Pathologic in terms of storytelling and mood and is thus worth sharing. Moreover, we hope that if you glance past the inevitable early-stage imperfections, it can even serve as a self-sufficient experience.

To obtain your copy, simply go to your Backer Portal Dashboard, and you’ll see a button there to redeem the Steam code. No additional hassle (like selecting the right version in Steam settings) required: the thing that you’ll download will be The Marble Nest. It’s available in English and Russian.

Welcome to the Town.

Come, little birds, and gather around the marble nest.

Ice-Pick Lodge in Cologne

Some part of the Ice-Pick Lodge team is in Cologne right now! You can find us at GDC, Innovate Kiosk, until August, 18. And after August 18 meet us at Gamescom business-zone, Booth C34, Hall 2.1.

If you visit any of these events, you could see a demo-version of our new Pathologic and ask any questions to our developers. Follow us at our newsfeeds! More news about our progress: coming soon!

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Not a Remake

The new Pathologic will be different from the original one—that much we have already said. But on the scale of “totally new characters” to “just kinda retexturing the Polyhedron a bit”, what scope of changes are we talking about here?

Short answer: …is pointless, is it not? “Well, many things will change, but we’ll preserve the core concepts and, like, characters and stuff” just doesn’t cut it. Not anymore. We feel it’s long past due for us to give you the long answer—which will also inevitably have to be compressed, since the truly detailed explanation takes ~70 hours and demands you play the game itself. Still, we are going to try. We’ve even ordered an additional pack of bullet points to go with the customary verbosity.

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First thing first: it’s not final, but it’s a true, real, honest-to-god screenshot

Continue reading Not a Remake

Classic Ice-Picks! (Not Really)

At the end of October, we are planning to release the original Pathologic on Steam.

Not the Remake. The original game. It will, however, feature a number of enhancements, such as improved graphics and visual effects; cloud saves (and other modern-ish stuff it was deprived of previously); and a completely new translation produced by an in-house team from scratch.

Now may be a good moment to reiterate that this is not the remake, which is still in the works, but rather a thing that we heartily call “Pathologic Classic HD: Now Comprehensible”.

Now, we know it may be a bit confusing—

Continue reading Classic Ice-Picks! (Not Really)

Knock Knock I’m Back

The long and winding story of Knock Knock PS4 pricing has finally come to a close. It’s been an enlightening experience; we’ve come to realize that it is essential to research anything that seems obscure to you in excruciating detail (unless you’re the Lodger). Also that PSN only has three regions.

The current price is 8,99 EUR, and it’s final. If you’ve been waiting for the pricing situation to resolve, there’s no more need to wait until dawn: now is the perfect moment to finally buy the game. Thank you for your patience—and have a good spook!

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