Theodor Bastard

A dead doll on a stage. The machinery of a diseased town. A bizarre and unnerving beaked silhouette that follows the hero.

What we’re describing isn’t Pathologic, but rather the imagery from an animated movie Pustota (Emptiness) made by Kol Belov in 2003 and based on a song of a band called Theodor Bastard. We first saw it when the original Pathologic was still a work in progress—and immediately felt certain kinship. “We were making the game in the comfort of knowing that next to us, other people were creating these wonderful, bizarre things,” says Nikolay Dybowski. “Depressing but magical things; creepy things that are somehow oddly reassuring!”

Over the years he returned to the animated short many times, drawing inspiration from it. However, at the time we never got past watching this one movie. Thankfully, when in 2016 an opportunity to team up with Theodor Bastard to make something together occurred to us, we were ready to jump at it.

“People Dancing in the Face of Death”

Theodor Bastard was founded in 1996 in St. Petersburg and has by now released more than a dozen albums. They play the most wondrous instruments, from ocarina, marimba, and udu to harp and didgeridoo; often sing in remarkably unconventional languages like Aztec or Old Norse. Their approach to music is that of conjurers. “Music is the true magic,” says Fedor Svoloch, the guitarist and leader of the band. “No magician can put his process into words.”

Which means that everyone has their own interpretation of what Theodor Bastard’s music is about. In one of his interviews, Fedor said, “We are simply people who acknowledge death—and dance in the face of it.” He also added that “death is always close by.”

These ideas ring true for Pathologic—a game about death following us from our very birth, about facing it, being tested by it and staying human through the whole ordeal. Perhaps the solution is indeed to dance?

To answer this question, we’re making Pathologic. And we believe that Theodor Bastard’s music and worldview offer valuable insight on the subject.

Collaboration

The idea of this collaboration was immediately accepted on both sides—it honestly felt like it was meant to be. Pathologic’s composer, Vassily Kashnikov, immediately set his mind on finding the right use for Theodor Bastard’s tracks; you will most likely hear them during the most poignant and climactic moments of the game, like in The Marble Nest. The rest of the score will be created by Vassily himself.

“Pathologic is more than a game, it’s a parallel universe,” says Fedor. “We appreciate this approach. Our works also include elements of imaginary worlds.”

To immerse themselves in the world of Pathologic completely, the band even postponed the album they were working on at the moment.

It was an important project that dealt with matters sensitive and dear to everyone included, demanding that hearts be poured into it. Yet the working process was established quickly. “Fedor would send a draft to me, and then we’d get in touch to discuss how else we could use the brand sound of the band for the game and even invent possible contexts for the tracks yet unwritten,” says Vassily. “One of the main conditions of this collaboration was preserving the distinctive style of the band, so we had to be very careful when setting creative goals to find the best use for Theodor Bastard’s music while preserving the game’s mood intact.”

“I was happy to see this collaboration happen,” he adds. “Happy that Pathologic became more rich and robust in terms of music. I think it will serve the game well. As for Theodor Bastard, I had no doubt we’d find a common tongue since day one.”

Now Theodor Bastard’s Pathologic score is already complete, to be released digitally and maybe even physically at a later point.

“I’m impressed with the results,” says Nikolay Dybowski. “Generally speaking, I trust Vassily to do the sound design. However, I already know that there is a certain dramatic point in the game that simply begs to be adorned with the beginning of Umbraya Erze…”

Bizarre and sublime instruments. The words of languages unspoken—either invented or novel to us. The vaguely shamanistic inflexions of the band’s singer Yana Veva.

Theodor Bastard seem to know what the inner side of the world looks like.

Theirs seems to be of the same color as the sky in Pathologic.

Meethos, IPL’s Art Director, was so impressed with the collaboration as to gather a team
to make a full-fledged Darkness music video

Come, Little Birds (For Free)

The Marble Nest, a short teaser game for Pathologic, is now available to everyone for free.

Yep, you heard it right.

To everyone.

For free.

Whaaaat!

Just go to Pathologic’s Steam page (for free), click the “Download Demo” button (to the right, above the list of your friends who want the game, and free), and then send the link to the website to everyone you would like to share the new Pathologic experience with (for free).

>>> GET THE MARBLE NEST FOR FREE < <<

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A table is a site too

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The Pathologic Tabletop site has been renewed.

If you already have a copy of Pathologic Tabletop, you’ll find the soundtrack and an additional page for The Plague’s Notebook there; an extensive FAQ may help you resolve questions regarding the game if you have any.

If you don’t have the game, you can now download its rulebook, see if it appeals to you and (if it does) buy the game directly from the site. No more jumping through the perilous hoops of the Backer Portal!

By the way, if you’re planning to acquire a copy of Pathologic Tabletop at all, not may be a good moment to do so since we only have a hundred of English copies left—and we don’t know yet when the second edition will be printed.

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.

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