12 days in a town devoured by plague. It's an enemy you can't kill. It's a game where you can’t save everyone. Pathologic is a plot-driven survival open-world adventure game for PC/MAC/Linux, PS4, and Xbox One that's being Kickstarted.
A mysterious and deadly disease breaks out in a remote town built upon old tanneries and butcheries. Whilst the disease can be identified by physical symptoms, its roots and origins remain mysterious. The disease is highly infectious and deadly. It affects the neural and the blood-circulating systems, crippling both body and mind. To fight the epidemic the local authorities first send a learned doctor, then an inquisitor ordered to assess the situation, then a military commander. The first has to investigate the disease and find an optimal solution; the second has to save as many lives as possible while executing said solution; the third has the right to exterminate the whole Town should the others run out of options.
Along with the authorities’ agents two volunteers find their way through the Town along with the learned doctor, who goes by the name of The Bachelor. One of them, The Changeling, is a strange girl who believes she can heal with her hands, and the other, The Haruspex, is a talented amateur who’s fond of experimental surgery.
Taking on the role of one of these doctors, you’ll explore the town, its weird traditions, and the complex relationships of its inhabitants. You will only have twelve days to defeat the invisible enemy called the Sand Plague.
Time will become one of your most precious resources. Choices will haunt your every step. 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 selfishlykeep the pills in case you get sick? And sooner or later you will—Pathologic is a bleak and harsh survival adventure that’ll make sure of it. It's all about choices
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.
It’s also the main character of the game.
If there’s one thing games are good at, it’s creating a sense of place, immersive and real. Imagine a remote town—so small it doesn’t even seem to have a name, a town where obscure traditions intertwine with progressive ideas and industrialization. You are an outsider here, and yet the town is yours. You’ll be the one to secure its fate, you’ll be the one it’ll open up to, sharing its secrets and mysteries. Its inhabitants will confide in you, its history will come back to life before your eyes, and its architecture will tell you stories.
Now imagine this town ravaged by an invisible and merciless enemy. The Sand Plague.
But we’re not just building a body—a physical place. We want to make an immersive town that feels alive, yes, but our main goal is to create a town filled with ideas. We want to make you feel that every nook and cranny is worth investigating, that it’s there for a reason.
The town is remote and thus relatively small, but it’s also very dense, open for exploration. Every second building has a name, every district is there for a reason, every street is a thread in the story. It’s a steppe town formed around a behemoth slaughterhouse, but paradoxically the locals worship bulls. A huge construction defying the laws of physics, called The Polyhedron, lies to the west. The air is thick, and for some reason there is a sacrificial site right inside the town. It’s hard to understand how it all holds together. Which is why you’ll have to become a kind of sleuth. Why is it forbidden to dig wells here? How on earth does The Polyhedron not fall? Do actors in the Theatre really perform even when there’s no audience to watch their plays? We want to make each step you make intriguing and meaningful.
Pathologic is hard to define, so we’d rather describe what it feels like and what you can do there. If you’re impatient or hard-pressed for time, it may be a good idea to scroll down to the feature list.
And speaking about time!
The plot of Pathologic is broken down into twelve days, each of them carrying new stories, quests, and events. Time flows mercilessly: if you fail to finish a task when it’s due, the opportunity is lost—as are human lives. You are completely free to roam and explore the Town, bartering, talking to strangers and generally surviving (which is hard enough to begin with and becomes harder and harder as time goes by and the Sand Plague becomes more and more deadly). You’ll have to keep your body healthy. The hero needs to eat and sleep, to take care of their immune system—it’s the only thing that can preserve them from being infected with the Plague. To do all that, you’ll need resources (fresh water, bandages, bullets; even bread and coffee beans!), and procuring them in the Town torn apart by the epidemic is not an easy task: inflation and panic will try to strip you naked, making merchants greedy and townsfolk suspicious. You’ll have to be creative while bartering, try to avoid fights, even scavenge infected houses, and you’ll still feel hard-pressed for stuff.
But your scariest enemy is not a bandit armed to his teeth, but rather the disease itself. Man can kill man, but the Plague slowly kills the whole Town, devouring it district by district. So the sick will come to you begging you to save them… and exposing you to the infection. Is compassion still possible even when it puts you in direct danger?
After the district is ravaged by the disease, muggers and looters find their way there. They are searching for food, weapons, perhaps even clothing—in other words, for resources you desperately need to survive (or are you perhaps a marauder yourself?). And the Plague hides everywhere—in every man and woman, in every object—waiting to strike where it hurts most. So you, one of the best doctors in the Town, will inevitably get sick. Sickness doesn’t necessarily mean imminent death though. You can fight the disease in your own body… but infection makes you a threat—a vector, albeit an unwilling one. You will find yourself killing the Town with your very hands while trying to save it. It will take all you’ve got to bring more good than harm, and there’s a good chance you’ll do that not by providing medicine and pills, but by thinking outside of the box and uncovering the Town’s numerous mysteries.
But it’ll be worth it, because the Town will be yours. You will be there, and every minute detail, plot-defined or AI-generated, will matter.
A handy list of what to expect of Pathologic for those who want definitive descriptions, not some babbling about towns, entities, and invisible enemies.
Fight the disease. Do you think doctors are only there to ease pain? What if it means you have to cut out someone’s heart in order to produce the medicine? Your instruments are crude, and you’ll have to fight the Plague on many levels. Searching for its roots to help the Town is your main goal, but the Plague is also right here, in the streets, in your own body. It’s great to finish a quest and come one step closer to your goal, but it won’t matter if you’re dying.
The epidemic is realistically simulated, which means that it’ll unfold in real time, affecting both the gameplay mechanics and the plot. Do you need to cut corners in a hurry, or perhaps you have to find someone? Tough luck—if the district you need is infected, it’ll become a danger zone. Shops will close, houses will lock down, and the air itself will become poisonous. But you may not have another option.
Survival. You’ll find no zombies here—it’s the real deal. Hunger, thirst, fatigue, immune resistance, and reputation are all gameplay mechanics, but you’ll also find out that sometimes your affection towards certain characters or your weariness can’t be expressed in numbers. Your enemy is relentless and heartless. Ask yourself: does survival only mean preservation of the body?
Scavenge, gather, trade. You’ll always be hard pressed for resources, money not excluded. But money can’t save your life—you can’t eat it, you can’t heal with it, and at some point you may find out that money is worthless. So you’ll barter with townsfolk, and that’ll keep you afloat… if you’re fine with taking bullets from kids and trading your only gun for a loaf of bread.
Fights are both simple and hard. You’ll find threats here and there: the bandits at night, the marauders, the sick insane with pain, and simply those who don’t like you. Pathologic is not a shooter—it doesn’t take many bullets to kill someone. But you may only have one left, or your gun may misfire, or perhaps you simply won’t like killing innocent victims. Running or hiding is generally preferable, but you can’t run forever.
Explore both the town and the characters. In Pathologic nothing is accidental — every place and every person has a story to tell. You are free to go anywhere, knock on any door and enter any house while making your own story, but remember that no one and nothing will wait for you to finish your business.
The town is living and breathing. The weather and the time of day are not the only things that keeps changing: the prices rise and fall depending on the situation, and various events happen in the streets—everything realized in full immersive 3D. People will die, meet one another, perform rituals, and generally live. Sometimes you’ll be there to intervene. Sometimes you won’t.
Time is always running, and for the most part it’s running out. There are so many things to do in the Town… which means you’ll have to choose. You can still pause the game and save whenever you want if needed, but while playing you’ll have to remember to manage the most precious of resources—the one you can’t buy or barter for.
Three playable characters with different storylines. Pathologic isn’t your generic “choose the race and get called differently” game. The Bachelor’s, The Haruspex’s and The Changeling’s storylines contain different quests and events. Each of them will lead you to an answer—but you’ll also find out that it’s just a fraction of the whole truth, a single person’s perspective.
Choices matter. Once again, it works on many levels. Do you finish a sidequest risking to die tomorrow, or do you let it go? Whom do you save, a man of noble intentions that have backfired or his less-than-honorable father who is innocent in this particular case? Do you try to keep your cool, or do your emotions get the better of you?
Pathologic is a big game. The full walkthrough with three characters will take you up to 72 hours. And it’s not grinding: each in-game day you’ll face new quests, new events, new plotlines, and new circumstances.