Interview: PATHOLOGIC 2 Will Bring Horror Through Omnipresent Dread Instead Of Jump Scares

Horror is often heavily based on environment and the events that take place, often closing players into small areas and full of jump scares or chasing monsters. But one of the games to have broken this cycle is now getting a second title for players to experience the plague-ridden town in Pathologic 2!

Ice-Pick Lodge has once again put players in the dire, bleak town that is facing a plague, putting them in dark, tense situations and leaving little chance to actually survive! I reached out to the publisher, tinyBuild, in hopes of getting to know even more about this dreadful game and was about to talk to the PR Director, Yulia Vakhrusheva!

Story

Pathologic 2 is an open world survival thriller set in a town that’s being consumed by a deadly plague. Face the realities of a collapsing society as you make difficult choices in seemingly lose-lose situations. The plague isn’t just a disease. You can’t save everyone.

Get to know it, winning the affection of the locals and gaining allies, or try to carve your own path alone. Explore the Town, its inhabitants, and their traditions; fight both the plague itself and its victims; try to make a difference before the time runs out.

Interview with Vakhrusheva

How do you plan to make the open world aspect blend with horror in a way that keeps players interested and on their toes?

"Thanks for the great question!

Indeed, we are all quite used to the idea of claustrophobic horror, aren’t we? It is often featured in movies and single-player horror games. Tight, dark corridors, a monster breathing down your neck… it’s so popular because it works. Even the woods in games like Slender and its numerous clones are designed to feel claustrophobic.

On the other hand, many survival games, often multiplayer ones, employ open spaces to great effect, creating the feeling that you can run, but you can’t hide, because everywhere is dangerous.

This is precisely the feeling we want to create in Pathologic 2. Danger doesn’t lurk around the corner—it fills the poisonous, plague-ridden air itself, hiding in every potentially infected person, in every paranoid citizen ready to attack you the moment you do something wrong. The fact that you’re free to traverse a relatively big town only adds to the tension.

Pathologic 2 may not necessarily be the horror of the jump scare kind, but it sure will fill you with bleak and omnipresent dread."

What aspects can fans of the original Pathologic expect to continue to be present in the series?

"The core pillars of the design remain the same, as does the premise: the events take place in the same town, with the same characters, over the course of the same 12 days. The tone and quirks of the game also remain the same; we’re just designing better systems and a better presentation to get the ideas and emotions across."

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Will this be more defenseless or survival horror focused?

"Definitely survival horror. Actually, ‘horror’ is perhaps too poignant a word; while there’s more than enough creepy imagery and tension in Pathologic 2, its real horror is in the underlying themes—more of an existential kind.

One of the core elements of the game adding to the tension is survival. On the one hand, you will have to maintain your bodily functions—like hunger and exhaustion. On the other, the town is big, and you have a lot on your plate; choosing where to go and prioritizing tasks plays a huge part. And there are also people around you—people that you probably want to protect. And if—or should we say when?—you get infected, a whole new layer of weirdness opens up."

If survival, what range of weapons will be available to the players to use?

"Weapons, ammo, and supplies are scarce in the world of Pathologic 2. You will probably have access to a couple of different guns and knives with various properties, including non-combat ones. Guns are very lethal, but you’ll probably want to think twice before using one—you may only have a couple of bullets stocked.

There are also unarmed non-lethal fights that may leave you mugged, but alive.

Generally speaking, Pathologic 2 is not combat-oriented. Do you remember your latest real-life fight? Unless you’re a pro, it was most likely awkward, unpleasant, and scary. This is the emotion we’re recreating in Pathologic 2—that of a fight where overcoming your opponent doesn’t make you feel cool or a winner. If you fight, you’ve lost the game of settling things peacefully already."

Is it going to be more story or gameplay driven?

"Generally speaking, a good game that has a plot at all should be driven by both its story and its gameplay (unless it’s a specific genre like a visual novel). We work very hard on making Pathologic 2 a truly free experience where you can abandon, fail, or miss huge chunks of the story or even all of it and still have an engaging experience. Having to barter your last loaf of bread for a painkiller is also part of the story.

That being said, the story is definitely one of Pathologic 2’s strongest suits. Most players will likely want to delve deep into the lore and the very weird and complicated story of this Town."

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Will there be any partners, either AI or multiplayer?

"No. However, the game has three protagonists, each with their own scenario. The player can only pick one at a time, but the other two will play huge parts in their story as their counterparts and opponents.

Some characters in the game, on the other hand, will try to help you—whether you want them to or not. And honestly, you probably don’t. Your mission is a perilous one, after all."

What is it that will make your game stand out from other horror games?

"Pathologic 2 has a very distinct brand of horror: oppressive, tense, and bleak. It’s less about monsters and more about pondering what makes them. Your enemy, the plague, is impossible to pinpoint. You can’t shoot it, you can’t kill it—and yet somehow you have to prevail.

The setting and story of Pathologic 2 are also rather unusual. Think Dostoyevsky meets Twin Peaks: a backwards Russian town where nothing is what it seems and people sometimes need their existential questions answered more direly than they need their bodies saved from the plague."

Check out their latest trailer featuring 5 minutes of gameplay:

This game is going to bring a whole different experience than most of the latest horror games coming out and I am really excited to play through such an interested experience! I can see my nerves going crazy as I make my way through the city, especially since I got chills just watching the announcement trailer! Who else is adding this to your Steam wishlist?