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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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.