– [Alex] Followed by,
Retired Numbers in Sports. – Sports, 200, please. – [Alex] “After they retired
Derek Jeter’s number 2 in 2017, “the only single-digit number
left for this team was 0.” Randy.
– What are, what is the Yankees?
– Yes. – Sports, 800, please. – [Alex] “To honor Jackie
Robinson, in 2014 UCLA “retired this number in every sport.” Katie.
– What is 42? – [Alex] You got it. – Sports, 400. – [Alex] “Every team in
the National Hockey League “has retired number 99, in
honor of this ‘Great One.'” Katie.
– Who is Wayne Gretzky? – Yes.
– Sports, 600. – [Alex] Answer, (sirens)
Daily Double, alrighty. (applause)
Took us a long time to find it. You can’t catch Jennifer in the lead, you can get close. – 3000. – [Alex] Three it is, here is the clue. “The Seattle Seahawks retired this number “to honor the extra player, the fans.” – What is one? – [Alex] No, it’s 12, the 12th
man, they refer to themselves as that. So you’re at a thousand, and here’s the thousand dollar clue. “In 2013 da Bears said
this coach’s number 89 “would be the last number
the Chicago NFL team “would ever retire.” Katie.
– Who is Ditka? – [Alex] Mike Ditka.
Look! It’s hilarious! I couldn’t just pass by, and decided to make this video Just posting in social networks isn’t a solution On 24th of November on GameGrumps Hosts tried Dendy games Dendy became somehow a worldwide cult It’s both strange and fun at a same time In “More bootleg russian games” video Guys showed this cartridge Whis a name “Cool jumper guys first”, written on a box with a marker Just several seconds flash, as it’s not a real deal They even inserted it in a Dendy, and saying “doesn’t work, don’t know what’s written on screen”, powered off and went on. And yersterday same chanell posts a video named “Lost piece of gaming history uncovered” Somehow a miracle! In this video Game Grumps make an outstanding statement That cartride is a long ago lost russian game project! And not just a game! Internet mutiplayer only Dendy game! Any russian gamer older than 25 years immediately will ask: WHAAAAAAT?! Internet multiplayer game for Dendy? The bullshitiest bullshit of all time! I thought the same thing, but than they show THIS! I won’t play detective and tell this NOW – video is a fake! But just think how deep they’ve gone to make it! Even made fake add, involving some russian guys. The only thing they’ve missed – Dendy came to russia in the 90’s, and nobody says “Comrade” since middle 80’s But this video has much more LOL’s and I want to show them to you. I’m another person’s content parasite today and making reactions video) But, oh my god, everything is just wonderfull in this video! If you understand english, link to original video is in description Arin tells us, that he’ve got message from his ukrainian friend She says: “saw your video, can translate what’s on screen” Dendy doesn’t recordnise internet adapter Arin makes confused face: I didn’t know Russian mem, about “I didn’t know”, sorry Didn’t know Dendy had internet adapter, and starts to google INTERNET ADAPTER FOR DENDY?! It’s alredy hillarious for any russian gamer older, than 25. But it’s only begining… Another cool story about BABUSHKA The most famous russian word, after Blya As expected, internet knows nothing about THE GAME But video in youtube later was found quite easilly, yep! And next magnificent move: He disassembles ordinary Dendy Junior he bought on ebay And founds inside, oh miracle… Additional 9 pin connector I’m sure every one, ore every second of you disassembled his Dendy Junior And no one ever saw this Maybe author has a unique Dendy? As unique, as a cartridge? Devkit! I’m laughing out loud, writing this! When I watched this video first time, they really got me off the rails with this fake add And for a moment I even thought, maybe it’s real?! Guys are the best, really! And it was not a place to soil port, it was a port, already there! Some more actions in Google And WOW! Converter from 9-pin to etherner exists! And now the funniest part ETHERNET IN A DENDY ETHERNET IN 90’s RUSSIA IT’S THE MOST FUNNY THING I’VE EVER HEARED! If you’d said dial up converter, ok, maybee I’ll got your hook. I understand it’s to complicated. But ETHERNET IN 90’s RUSSIA? REALLY?! Ok, not in Russia, in Ukraine. Same thing. Some more “theatre” and sadness, because it doesn’t work But… An Idea! He’ve got answer from ebay seller and he tell that got this Dendy from russian add company Though that company Arin finds add video and info that it’s a prototype, never been public And somehow, maybee from same add he realises important thing about ethernet adapter. It has to be externally powered Every time i sat ethernet adapter for dendy, I can’t stop laughing One more day to get amazon parcel aaaand… Game starts, but has glitches Author calls his almighty friend to help and friend says, that he’ll figure everything out! And some time later game appears to be FIRST BATTLE ROYAL in the world! for Dendy Please kill me someone, ot I’ll die laughing The game wasn’t finished, but guys will dump it, finish and make public. Just wait! Another fake prove is that after they powered ethernet adapter up, the game let them into game lobby And where did game sent ping? Never started servers? Or maybee just google.ru, so it will know, that internet connection is established? Answer was found quite fast in twitter Author of the ROM on that cartride wrote, that video is fake in twitter And on youtube people belive it’s real(( Here’s the power of internet and fake news ETHERNET ADAPTER FOR DENDY!!!! HOLY SH… That’s the story Some people find really rare stuff and make it public And some make up news about far country, that lot’s of gamers want to know about Thank you for watching Let me know what you think about it in comments. Have a nice day!
Welcome to Ask Matt! Today’s Ask Matt was sponsored by a FUN little game Called PolyBlast. And what I mean by fun is insanely annoyingly addicting. More about that at the end of the video, but I thought What a great idea Let’s make an Ask Matt all about video games and gaming, Because surprisingly, we haven’t done that yet. What’s your favorite video game you’ve done? I’ve never made a video game, so… Sorry! Can girls game too? Cause my brother says no! What, is your brother 12 years old? Hehe… probably, right? Legit question. How do you record your face and screen at the same time? I actually have a proprietary method that I made up that’s very very successful, and I don’t know if I wanna reveal that to everyone just quite yet until I’ve perfected it. Who’s your favorite gamer? Septic-Pewdie-Plier. What, it’s a person. How do I hold the controller? The most important thing is for you to hold the controller as far away from your body as possible, because your body gives off electromagnetic radiation, and sometimes it can interfere with the wireless controller. Also, wear a tinfoil hat. Weirdest game ever played? Definitely Blobfish… what? *cough* How many game consoles do you currently own, and what are they? From N64 on, pretty much everything. Do you know of any small ‘Tubers? I don’t really know that many small YouTubers, uh, but I… I dunno why. I just tend to hang out with, like, physically larger people. What game are you NOT noob at? Matt: I could pretty much kick anyone’s butt at Mario Kart 8 (Amanda: No!) Matt: Yes! (Amanda: No!) Matt: Yes! (Amanda: No.) Matt: … Yes. What game infuriated you the most? Hmm This one. aaaaaaaAAAAAAA… NOOO! Ahh… Hate that game Have you ever played Until Dawn? I don’t like horror games… Just don’t like putting that stuff inside my head. If you had to chose, what Five Nights at Character Freddy… If you had to chose, what Five Nights at Freddy’s character would you be? I think Rose or umm… Meloncollie. They’re pretty cool. (Amanda: Are those actual characters?) Yes…? Do you enjoy it? What, gaming? Nah, I just do it for money. Do you ever talk to your video game? A lot, but usually I’m just yelling at it. Mean things… I get really pissed with downloading games. What’s the best way to download without buying? Cause I’m cheap. Uh I would say download free games, because if you’re downloading games that cost money and you’re trying to do that for free, well… That’s called theft… And I don’t condone that. What is your least favorite thing that game devs put in their games? I don’t have a least favorite, but I do have a most favorite. I LOVE my microtransactions. OHH and that purchases. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! What would be your ideal video game? Anything that involved, like… food, Lightsabers, and uh… a wand…? If you could design a game, what would it be about? Refer to the last answer. Do you even NoScope bruh? Bruh, I don’t even know what a Scope is, so ‘course I NoScope. Are you… white? Not on the inside. What is the best way to troll someone while playing a game? Tickle fights. People hate that when they’re trying to uh, you know, kill some peeps. (Amanda: or trying to do anything else!) OH NO STOP! *sigh* I have no pride. Who got you into gaming, and what age were you? My grandparents actually were the first ones that introduced me to gaming, because they had a Super Nintendo system, and I believe they were around the age of 55? Is there any game that you were really exited about that got canceled? Ya, there was this Star Wars game that I was super stoked about, 13-13, that got canceled… Like this if you cry everytime… What if you were in a game right now? I’d have the high score. *fart sounds* I don’t know why I did that random fart noise. NO IDEA. What do you say to guys who don’t think girls genuinely like video games? Nothing. ‘Cause they probably wouldn’t understand anything I said anyways… Is it possible to actually finish a game of Monopoly? Is it possible to actually start a game of Monopoly? Eheh hashtag board…. game… AHHHHHAHAH! Do you like playing games with Amanda? Uhmm… sometimes… Because she gets physical… And not the good kind. I need men! Hello! Hey…? The heck are you talking about on this? Haha… My brother says girls can’t be gamers, but I’m better than him and he won’t admit it! Your brother most likely thinks girls still have cooties as well, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. I’m a 9 year old asking for your XBox Gamertag. Ya, it’s uh StrandedUnicorns107Sparkles. … Haha… (Amanda: That’s really legit. He likes unicorns and sparkles.) Matt: SHH! What’s your favorite board game? The one that I’m, not BORED at… Am I right?! Have you ever played a game that made you rage qurit? Qurit? Have you ever played a game that made you rage quit? NOOO? I don’t believe this for a second. *Mario death theme* WHEN HAVE I EVER JUMPED ON TOP OF THAT?! Don’t watch it. Are you a sore loser when playing a game against a friend? What’s losing? Never heard of that before. What’s your favorite genre of games? Star Wars. What was your most memorable gaming moment so far? This one. Ya, I just am trying to put this in a real life scenario. This dude is just like… Hey man I’m gonna fall off- HAHAAH! New record! Who’s judging this? WOOOOOW! Are you into Zelda games? If so, which one? My favorite Zelda game would have to be Ocarina Smockarina. It was just a worthy addition. Favorite video game console ever? I would have to say GameCube, because it was a perfect mix of awesome single-player games, and awesome multi-player local games. How do I explain the WASD keys being so worn? Just say you really like typing the word SWADS. Favorite Star Wars game? All of them. Please. Do you play World of Warcraft? and if so… Alliance or Horde? Definitely I’m Allianced with the Horde. How do I game like a pro? Mountain Dew, uh… Doritos, and not moving for extended periods of time. That’s how I do it. Super Mario and chill? No. Because like I said… Amanda gets physical, but it’s not the right kind… Are you gonna do a gaming video with jacksepticeye anytime soon? That’s entirely up to him. Go hit him up. *Gurgling and screeching noises* What am I? About to die? Which games can Amanda Faye beat you at? (Amanda: ALL OF THEM.) Matt: None. Absolutely zero. (Amanda: Get out of here.) Matt: Zero. (Amanda: NO) Matt: Ok, maybe Duck Hunt, but, who cares about that? AM I right? How do I get my XBox 360 to work? If you have that red ring of death right on the front of your XBox 360, I would personally recommend giving it a nice bath. Y’know, sometimes your XBox is just too dirty, so run it under cold water. Have you ever played Mortal Kombat? No. Too graphic. Yikes. If you enjoyed this video, make sure to give it a like, and thank you very much to the sponsor of today’s video, which is PolyBlast. An addicting, maddening game that’s easy… but hard… I made that sound creepy. It’s not creepy. It’s a really cool game where you just pick up anywhere, chill with it. It’s retro, got a slick style to it, I dig it, And like I said, it’s pretty addictive. I’m gonna give you a little tip (Shh) I’m going to give you a little tip… If you hit five in a row, you get a frenzy. THEN YOU GO CRAZY! *in a tune* Also, if your friend has the same device, you can challenge them and see who’s boss. Which will always be me. No matter what. Because I’m the best. It’s one of those games that addicts you to it via frustration, because it’s difficult. I feel like I’m not doing this game justice. Go check it out, link in the description below, It’s actually available yesterday. So, you can go download it right nizzy now! Anyways, big thanks to them, go check it out using the link in the description below. Alright, guys! Hope you enjoyed this, high five. WOO! Missed. HIGH FIVE!
Hello guys this is a new game you wash download from googleplay link to download the game you will find under the video game name Euro Train Simulator Free – Train Games 2019 if you have any questions do not hesisate to ask, I will answer your questions with pleasure
Welcome to Saiman PLAYS! And today, we’re going to play a GAME, and this is game is-
FISH and this is game is-
I AM FISH Never teach a fish swimming,
and Saiman gaming. This game is made by the game developer ‘Bossa’. Bossa also made ‘Surgeon Simulator’.
You might have watched its videos. It was a very popular game on YouTube. The same people have released
this new game called ‘I Am Fish’. It is not the entire game.
This is just the prototype of the game. Bossa has three releases in total.
One of them is ‘I Am Fish’. Let’s do this, guys.
Let’s do this. Are you ready? “Are you ready?” “Are you READY?” “ARE YOU READY?” [cheers] “Requires Controller”.
Yes, I have a controller, everybody. Actually, this video got delayed due to this controller. I couldn’t get this controlller anywhere.
It showed as ‘currently unavailable’ on Amazon. What am I supoosed to do? Go to an
actual shop and buy this controller? Heh. It works, right? HOME! Sorry, I had to press the Home button. Okay… Alright, everybody.
Are you ready? Let’s keep the difficulty at normal, okay?
The controls of this game are really frustating. So let’s keep it normal, okay? “Press A to begin.” A? This is A, right? Yo, A, X…I get confused by them.
I am a PlayStation boy. So these…X, A, Y, B,
these are confusing times. “Swim towards the light.”
Okay, game. We’ve to hold these two buttons to swim.
Okay. Okay. What? Now do I… Now… Okay, so yes, so… Okay, so yes, so…
In short, in this game, this fish has acquired some sentience. ‘Fish: Become Human’.
Instead of ‘Detroit: Become Human’, this is ‘Fish: Become Human’. The fish has gained sentience, and it doesn’t want
to stay in a fish bowl for its entire life. So, it wants to go in the lake. There,
with this glitch, you can see the lake behind. We have to enter this lake. One day this fish watched
‘Finding Nemo’ on TV, and that change its life. Basically, in this game, we are fish,
and we’re trying to find freedom. I recall a proverb, “Do not judge
a fish by its ability to climb a tree.” So, this game took offence to that proverb. One checkpoint done. Yee, YEE! [gets overwhlemed by his gaming skills] Thank, God, there was a cushion over here. Trying not to get a single scratch on this bowl,
otherwise the fish is dead. Okay, we can go out.
Nice. Let’s go out. What’s there? Wait a minute.
Wait a minute, fish! (x2) What is that?
What is that bouncy thing? Maybe it is something very useful.
Let’s go and collect that. As you can see, the controls are very confusing. It’s not, like…
It’s not as easy…easy as it look. Easy, at..
It is not as easy at, as…as it looks. Did I collect that? Where is it? There was no sound effect
or animation when I collected that. Very good, very good.
No, fish beta! There, go to the door, fish. Oh, ho! We’ve to go there, goddamnit. Yes! Here! We’ve to go here.
Very good, very good. [cheers] Yee. Okay, guys, we’ve made it out of that flat. And as we can see, we’re on a top of a building. And where’s it going? [primal noises]
Yee! (x9) [primal noises]
Hoo! (x4) [primal noises]
Stop! (x5) Oh, shit! The fish bowl has almost cracked. I think if there another crack
on the fish bowl, it’s going to… break open and we’re going to die.
But, we’ll not let out fish die. Okay? Slow down, fish, slow down.
Okay, there’s something here. Yeah, we can go down from here. Yee! (x9) Hoo! (x2) Hoohoo! (x6) [bowl cracks open, Saiman screams] How did this happen? “You died on the way towards freedom.” [Cardiac arrest simulator] This is so sad, everybody. Thank, God. It started at the checkpoint.
I thought it’d start from the beginning. Okay, let’s go down now. Okay, so, this is another way.
Before this, we’re down there. Now, we’ve reached this terrace up here.
Okay, let’s check out what’s that over here. [fish bowl clinks]
Wha…Is this fish alcoholic? Who the heck does this? Next checkpoint is there.
Very nice. Also, guys, I am working on
a very special video which you’ll see soon. Due to that, I couldn’t upload last week.
I am sorry. It’ll be worth the wait, everybody. Bravo! Very good, fish beta.
Very good. Very good, beta.
Very good. (x2) Ah, what a somersault!
Very nice. Okay, we’ve reached this terrace.
On the first try, we did land here, but our fish bowl broke. And we found another
checkpoint here. Very nice. Yee (x7) Don’t worry, guys. We just got
a checkpoint before that, so we’re sorted. Uhm… We’ve to fall on the cushion down here.
Okay, very good, very good. What do we do now? Oh, shit! We’re on the street now.
Go fast! (x3) Oh, shit! Okay, so we’re near the lake. We’ve to go into it.
How? How should we? Uh…
It’s done, right? “Why do you hate me?” “Here’s what you would’ve got,
but you’re still in the bowl.” We’ve to smash the bowl, right? Before falling into the lake,
we’ve to smash the bowl. Yeah, that makes sense. What’s the point of going into the lake
if you’re still in the fish bowl? I got it. Very smart game, huh.
Very nice. And now we’re… We’ll figure out how to smash the bowl. Yeah, there it is! [bowl shatters]
YES! We completed this level with a C grade. C grade,
cigarette. Next level, next level. “I Am Fish. Press A to begin.”
Okay. So, this is our next stage. And the music has also changed. Very nice. No, no! [Fish bowl shatters]
No, no! I am sorry. I am soory.
I was no ready, okay? I was not ready. Now I am ready.
Uhm… OMG, it threw the monitor.
Is this fish CarryMinati? It broke the monitor. The controls of this are frustating,
but I would not break my monitor. I am not CarryMinati. Or I should say,
I’m not as rich as CarryMinati. I cannot afford another monitor.
Uh… Okay, we’ve successfully landed on this cushion. And where do we have to go now? We’ve to go through this ladder, right?
But it is at some height. How am I supposed to go there?
Goddamnit! Go straight, fish. Straight. Ha! Oh, shit! Aah! [groans] We’ve complete it, guys.
Don’t worry. Goddamnit! A- (x8)
Almost! We almost reached there. [fish bowl shatters] Ha! (x4) Hoo! (x3)
Finally! Foof! Speedrun, guys. I am doing
a speed run of this game as you saw. I slid like a pro on that ladder. Yee (x4) Stop! (x4) I think there’s a…trampoline down there. Would the fish bowl shatter on the trampoline? [fish bowl shatters] Where are you going from, bro? Yes! Very good, very good. [cheers] Now where? [fish bowl shatters in the pool]
Woah! Okay, we’re in this pool. Okay, we’re out of the fish bowl, everybody.
And now, where do we have to go? Where do we have to go? Why am I translating from Hindi to English? Is this my content? Okay. Do we have to go into this hole?
I don’t know. We go in it. Let’s do this. Just go into the hole, come on!
[cheers] Okay, we’re in this drain now. And, uh…there’s a lot of junk in this drain. [cheers]
Oh, we’ve to collect that slice. Should we collect that slice?
Should we be a completionist? I don’t even know what it is. Eh, Ha! I collected that. Yes. Eh (x11)
Eh, don’t get stuck like that here. Eh (x4)
Wha…? Oh, we continue from here. Very good. [cheers] I collected that slice.
I am very happy. Yeah, very good. VERY good.
Fish beta, very good. Now, we go into this hole.
How many do we even have? Goddamnit, I can’t go into the hole properly. Am I a noob, guys? Am I a noob?
What do you think? Am I a noob? I am not a noob, guys.
I have done gaming in my time. I don’t play games like PUBG,
but I’ve played a lot in my old days. Go into the hole. Go into the hole, fish.
Can’t you see? Yes! Okay. Where would it go? The fish would definitely die of that! I don’t know what this fish is made of. We’re in a trolley? So, all of this hard work we did was for
this fish to go from a fish bowl into a trolley. What kind of fish is this, bro? I mean, what kind of fish
has this much power to move a trolley? Okay, we’re going outside. Eh! Now what? Man: Hey! What did the music change?
Why do I hear boss music? Why do I hear boss music, guys? Is that…
I think that man is following us. Man: Hey! Hey, baba. Don’t give me anxiety, game.
Please. Man: Hey! I think…
Am I going the right way? It seems I cannot go through these stones.
Avoid the stones. Yes, yes! Very good.
Very good, very good. Very good.
Very good, fish. Eh (x13)
This man! Man: Hey!
Saiman: Don’t “Hey!”, man. Why can’t you let a fish live? Bye! Bye, man!
Bye! (x3) Okay, so…this is it, right? [cheers] F? F!? Alright, Fs in the chat for me.
They gave me an F after such a good speedrun. But it”s a cute game.
I love the animation. It’s very simple and colourful. It reminds me of those old PS2 games. But, I like the game.
It’s fun. I love the part where it jumped out
of the trampoline and it landed into the pool. I like ragdoll physics. So, I hope to see more of that in the full version of this game. As I said, this is just a prototype.
It’s just an extended demo of this game. This is not the final version.
This is not the full version. I could’ve played the third level in this game
as well, which I played on camera. But the thing is- there’s a certain part in that level
where my game keep on hanging. I don’t know what is the reason for that. But I thought that that’d be frustating
to show on camera, so I deleted that part. But, yes, I hope Bossa fixes that level. And if you liked this video,
please let me know. I’d like to make more gameplay videos. Alright? Suggest me which games I should play. Goodnight, bye.
Shab-ba-Khair, Kailash Kher. Wish you a happy married life. [Outro plays] [Outro fades out]
Pathologic 2 is one of the most unique and
brilliant games I’ve ever had the chance to experience. It is a game truly literary
in scope, over fifteen years in the making, and has one of the most well-realised and
well-crafted worlds I’ve ever seen in a video game. It is the lovechild of Camus,
Dostoevsky, and Planescape Torment, with a dash of Brechtian theatre and Tarkovsky’s
Stalker thrown in for good measure – but it’s such a memorable experience that I don’t
think even these comparisons really do it justice. If you’re familiar with me, or
my work, you may know me as the person who made a very long analysis of Pathologic 1,
and hey, well, now I’m back again. I’m SulMatul, a longstanding fan of Ice
Pick Lodge and their various works, and I intend to do my best to analyse this beast
of a game – but I have several caveats to get out of the way. Firstly, this game is
not yet fully realised; we have one campaign, or story, out of an intended three, and each
story will have an entirely different series of themes and perspectives to analyse. Second,
I’m a primarily an English-speaking fan, so I’m relying on the translations of the
game – which may differ from the original Russian text. Third, I’m no art critic,
or even a student of the humanities – I’m a doctor by trade, and whilst that may add
something to my own experience of the game, I’m by no means an expert on art or literary
theory. That being said, let’s get into the meat
of the game; this analysis will be split up into several parts, and will be heavy with
spoilers throughout. If you want to experience the game yourself, you can pick it up on Steam,
and I’ll leave a link in the description below. If you want to see some more concise
reviews of the game, MandaloreGaming, RagnaRox and Hbomberguy have all made excellent videos,
which I’ll also link below. Firstly, I’ll go into a rough summary of
the plot events for the current story of the game, the campaign of Artemiy Burakh. Some
of the events will be summarised slightly outwith chronological order for the sake of
easier continuity in my narrative flow. Second, I’ll talk about some of the major characters
we see within this story, and how their complexities contribute to the overall themes of the game.
I’ll also discuss the nature of the mechanics and the notorious balance and difficulty,
and how these all contribute to the ludonarrative, and the emotional impact left upon the player.
Finally, I’ll conclude the video with an interview with the developers.
This video is very long, so I’m going to include timestamps in the description below
so you can jump back and forth as you like. 1: Plot
The Main Plot Act 1
The central plot of the game follows your character, Artemiy Burakh, a doctor returning
to his hometown – the town upon the Gorkhon, a settlement in the backwater of the vast
Steppe plains. It’s set in a fictional land with cultural influences from Russia, Mongolia,
Kazakhstan, and other peoples of the steppe. However, the game proper begins with a rather
unusual scene; it begins at its end. You awaken, an actor upon a stage, and step
forward to see a theatre of corpses; your audience is dead, and the town’s other healers
are even more lost than you. Towering figures dressed in bird-costumes, resembling both
carrion crows and warped plague-doctor masks, inform you of your failures; the town is lost,
a plague consumed all, and you, its one hope of salvation, failed to provide a cure.
You exit the theatre and pace down a street in chaos; boarded up windows, crying townspeople,
and corpses are strewn everywhere. Stage-lights illuminate army tents, resembling refugee
camps, and the screams of the infected being burned alive ring all around. Military men
inform you of their intent to bombard the entire place to the ground, and incinerate
everyone left in it. The stagelights guide your way to the town’s cathedral, where
you encounter two agents of the government; an Inquisitor, and the army General. Neither
care for your excuses, and the town is to be raised.
As you try to desperately halt the oncoming bombardment, time stops, and you are approached
by the director of the town’s theatre; in a Faustian bargain, you are offered a quote
unquote “second chance” to save everyone – despite this ostensibly being your first
time coming to this scenario as a player. You take your chances with the theatre’s
director, and are placed, once more, at the chronological start of the events of the game,
beginning with your return to the town via train.
Through flashbacks and fever-dreams, you are given the exposition for your return to the
town; your father, the town’s only local doctor, has urgently summoned you back from
your studies at the capital. He fears that something terrible is about to befall the
town, and needs your help in order to prevent it. You are also made aware of your unusual
heritage; you are partially related to The Kin, the culture of the steppe-folk that lived
in the area before the town was built, and your skill as a healer is half based on your
studies of modern medicine, and half based on the shamanistic practices of an ancient,
native Steppe culture. You also meet a Fellow Traveller on your journey – a man who literally
steps out of a coffin to greet you. His role will become more important later – though
if you’re aware of common Russian myths, you might already have gathered that his part
is a sinister one. You don’t get a very warm welcome on arriving
in the town; you’re immediately attacked by three men with knives who have mistaken
you for a murderer. Furthermore, you find that other townsfolk believe this apparent
murderer is a “Shabnakh-Adyr” – some form of demon that is rumoured to disguise
itself as a woman – and they have already murdered one young girl in a fit of paranoia,
and quickly go about setting fire to another. You’re plunged into immediate chaos and
confusion as the once-peaceful town of your halcyon childhood is overtaken by senseless
violence. It isn’t long until you find out that there were in fact two murder victims
immediately on your arrival – one of Simon Kain, a town elder, but more importantly,
the other – your father, Isador Burakh. The townsfolk quickly start to suspect you
of patricide, and you are forced to go into hiding with your old childhood friends; Rubin,
a trainee doctor who studied with your father, Griff, a young man who now roams with the
local gangs, and Lara, a troubled but determined young woman who provides you shelter. Griff,
however, attempts to employ your medical services in healing up a wounded gang member – coincidentally
one of the same gang members responsible for burning the aforementioned young girl alive,
leaving you a choice as to whether he is worth saving or not. Rubin is quick to join the
townsfolk in suspecting you of patricide and has left his home – in his place you meet
several other characters instead; Bachelor Dankovsky, one of the other doctors who has
recently arrived at the town, and immediately reacts to you with hostility, and two lost
children. The children you meet also provide you some
shelter from the hostile adults of the town, and take you to their leader – a teenager
named Notkin. In other games, childhood may represent innocence, however in the world
of Pathologic we are shown a much more brutal portrayal of youth; in the same way that the
adults have formed gangs and play power politics, we see that the children have formed their
own rivalries, and regularly fight and hurt one another. Notkin’s gang have had their
dogs poisoned and killed by a rival gang member, and they ask you to bring them justice. Finding
this rival teenager presents another difficult choice; this kid saw you arrive in town, and
could provide an alibi that proves you are not your father’s killer, however this would
betray the trust of Notkin’s gang, who are providing you shelter. Bringing the kid to
justice might mean killing him – outright murder of a child. You are given a third option,
to bring the kid a leash to psychologically prevent his escape from Notkin’s gang, however
the mental destruction that this child then endures is possibly more cruel than outright
murder would have been. You come to find through talking to various
townspeople that Alexander Saburov, the town’s de-facto administrative leader, believes the
rumours of patricide, and is seeking to arrest you. These rumours are only put to rest when
you’re taken in by another powerful man in the town, Vlad Olgimsky the Elder – a bourgeois
factory owner, and the wealthiest man in the town. His relationship to the native Kin of
the steppe and to the townsfolk themselves is an awkward one; both at once, he is seen
as a stern-yet-kindly patriarchal figure, a father to his workers, and yet also displays
abject cruelty and callousness at times, remaining a complex figure throughout the game. With
your innocence eventually believed, you have some time to prepare yourself for the oncoming
days, and on the stroke of midnight may view a play in the town’s theatre – an event
I’ll discuss later. Act 2
With the town’s complex interpersonal and intercultural politics laid before you, you
awaken to the news that your father is to be buried. You make your way to the graveyard
at the edge of town, to be greeted by the peoples of the Steppe – unusual folk that
culturally and ethnically appear very different from the more Europeanised townspeople. Herb
brides with flowers and mud in their hair cluster alongside tall Eurasian men and women
in notably more traditional garb, and around them are Odongs; strange, unique creatures
that are never truly explained, beyond being “the mud left over when mother nature was
done”. The sense that this culture is alien and strange, both welcoming and hostile, regarding
you with a sense of expectation, lies heavily in the air as you approach the gravesite.
You find your father’s body, repeatedly being supernaturally rejected by the earth
– you may choose to examine it, or to leave it at your discretion. What is expected is
that you declare to the world – and to The Kin – whether you are prepared to take on
your father’s legacy and become their guide in the troubles to come.
You are taken aside by Aspity, a representative of The Kin, and someone that may or may not
be supernatural, too. The witch-like woman offers you your father’s inheritance – which,
aside from material wealth and his house, also includes his legacy. It becomes clear
that “inheritance” comes with far more responsibility than it does benefit. Your
father also made a list of names of people he believed needed to be saved in order to
preserve the town – a list that happens to be all the major children that you meet.
Aspity herself continues in her role of representing and guiding the Kin, and can be seen at night
to be giving advice to them. When asked, it seems that the ethnic tensions between the
Kin and the Townsfolk are worsening; there are Kin that believe they will rise up and
reclaim the land, and kill the settled townsfolk in the process.
Of the names on your list, you only recognise a few. The first I’ll mention is Taya Tycheek,
the daughter of the overseer of the Abattoir and the Termitary – the enormous brutalist
industrial complex that houses much of the Kin. You find that it’s been locked under
the orders of Vlad Olgimsky as there has been rumours of an outbreak of disease – and,
despite your best efforts, the doors remain locked in quarantine. There is no leaving
for those trapped inside; a woman accidentally falls to her death in an attempt to escape
– or, is it intentional suicide? Is suicide her escape from the horrors to come? A question
that goes without an answer. The next name on your list, Sticky, turns
out to be a capricious orphan boy that was trying to study under your father. Whilst
he is initially a source of some cheek and frustration, he quickly comes to your aid
in reassembling the machines your father used, even going so far as to steal expensive machine
equipment for you. He remains your understudy in your hideout as you take on your father’s
mantle, and becomes a vital asset to helping you make the tinctures and medicines that
form the backbone of your healing work. Grace, the young girl who lives in the graveyard,
is your next charge to be protected; you find her, on advice from the strange Changeling
character, trying to commune with the dead – an act that burns away her life force
as she does it – or so it’s believed. You may ask her to stop, or you may attempt
to commune with the dead yourself, talking to your dead father in an attempt to get more
answers. You also commune with the dead on a second occasion, meeting the actors who
played the men with knives you fought and killed at the train station, hearing their
stories so that even the deaths of the extras aren’t rendered meaningless. How much of
this communication is quote-unquote “real” is left to the player to interpret.
Outside you run into the next child on your list – a lonely orphan girl named Murky. You’ve
actually bumped into her once or twice before, where she remained standoffish and untrusting.
This time, she offers a different way to talk to the dead than Grace; if you trust her,
she takes out into the Steppe and bids you close your eyes and listen to the twyrine
– the local intoxicating herbs that grow near the town. Unfortunately, this is shown
only to be the imagination of a lonely orphan who wants a friend. When confronted, she returns
to being standoffish and hostile, though you do have collected herbs to show for your trouble.
These can later be used to make the tinctures that can fight the plague.
You return to the central town to find the other characters on your list; Capella, the
daughter of Elder Vlad Olgimsky, is another important person to be protected for the town’s
future. Outside her house, you find a collection of children burying a dead doll – play-acting
portents of the mass graves to come. The games they play with death are laced with irony;
they are treating death and suffering as a game, which, whilst initially jarring to see,
is in fact a reflection of what we as players are doing.
Capella herself is more helpful than the other children; she is old enough to understand
her responsibility as a future leader of the town, though also appears to believe she has
the beginnings of clairvoyant abilities. Regardless of whether you believe her or not, she foretells
that you will spill rivers of blood, so much that you will be wading in it – a prophesy
with more literal significance than it initially appears.
Alongside Capella, the other children of the town appear interested in helping you in various
ways. Aside from trading the things stolen from their parents’ cupboards – including
razors, sewing needles, and the occasional vial of morphine – they also introduce you
to a game of hide-and-seek. Whilst, functionally, the game serves as a way for you to find secret
stashes of helpful items, the children are clear that there are rules to such games;
you must leave as much as you take, or the game won’t work. You have to play fair – though
what constitutes “fair” for these kids is often confusing and esoteric. The rules
the children operate by are as esoteric as that of the politics of their parents.
It isn’t long before the inklings of the plague come through the town – which you
are shown in two ways. The first is that you are prevented from picking up the deed to
your father’s property; the district in which the clerk lives is covered in black
smog, and the clerk himself has fled. The second, and more emotionally pressing, is
shown once more through the town’s children. Notkin, the leader of the gang in the warehouses,
has found that one his young kids has become sick. You get the chance to experiment with
your father’s machinery in order to make curative potions from the Twyrine herbs, and
you’re put to work trying to find a way to help this infected child. With some luck,
or skill, you may manage to give them the right antibiotics to allow them to live another
day – a temporary fix, but a small victory nonetheless.
The plague starts to show itself in earnest; many of the districts on the east of the town
are swallowed by it, and you’re instructed to give prophylactic medicines or tinctures
to help various important characters. Two of these are names not upon your list; the
artist and architect Petr Stamatin, and the histrionic compulsive liar, Anna Angel. Both
these characters are important for other storylines in the town – though the Haruspex has lesser
interaction with the both of them than the Bachelor and Changeling will in their routes.
In an effort to investigate and stop the spread of the plague, Notkin, and the leader of the
rival children’s gang, Khan, both are having a conversation in a bar you stumble into – and
it just so happens that Khan is one of the remaining Important People on your list. You
can choose to help them with this investigation, albeit to the children’s protest – finding
an abandoned house in which Death Itself appears to stalk, and hounds you once you’re inside.
Doing this may prevent a district or two from becoming infected for a little longer – but,
of course, it has its own costs, both obvious and hidden.
Act 3 As the next days progress, the plague begins
to swallow more of the town; what once were safe districts to traverse become incredibly
dangerous, your likelihood of catching the infection rises rapidly with every plunge
into infected territories, and chaos descends on the town as the infected and the desperate
stumble into the criminals and the destitute. Knife-wielding thugs at night are accompanied
by burnt-out arsonists, set on lighting all the infected ablaze.
The town declares a state of emergency, and, in true theatrical style, you are summoned
to the town’s meeting hall to deal with the panic of the outbreak. The bells toll,
and the fourth wall is briefly cracked for the game to emphasize this turning point in
the play. It is decided that the town’s theatre will
be converted to a hospital for the sick – a decision that may prove just as costly as
it is helpful. You’re given a pay reward if you appropriately help out at the hospital
each day, though as the days go by the requested services become more and more onerous. You
begin one day with the administration of painkillers, followed the next day with diagnosing patients,
then the next with treating them with appropriate antibiotics – though these rapidly become
extremely expensive – then the next with giving up on treatment altogether and resorting
to dissection of the organs of the dead for examination. Any treatments you do offer seem
to merely just buy a short amount of time before the inevitable – even the child that
you treated in Notkin’s warehouse merely dies the next day, and Notkin’s investigations
likely leave him infected, too. One of the final tests of the hospital is to completely
cure a patient – a feat that is almost impossible, and I will come back to later.
You begin to make some piecemeal reconciliation with your childhood friend Rubin, who offers
to help cover your work at the hospital whilst you search for a cure – a fabled panacea
of your father’s invention. His feelings towards you start to soften as he’s no longer
convinced that you murdered your father, but he does still regard you as an outsider, and
blames you for abandoning your father and remaining away from home for so long. This
blame is layered with jealousy, too; Rubin was your father’s pupil, and yet you are
the one that is to claim your father’s legacy. There is one final name on your list; the
name of the Udurgh – a term the Kin use, though you are unaware of its translation.
Upon speaking to Rubin, then Aspity, then eventually the son of Vlad Olgimsky – Vlad
Junior – you slowly become aware that it’s a term that means A-Thing-That-Contains-Many-Things,
or perhaps meaning “a thing, more than the sum of its parts”. Vlad Junior’s explanation
suggests that it might be a word for the Kin itself – the Steppe people’s sense of
community. The sense of your link to the Kin is further
disturbed through the nights – on one hand, you can visit Aspity to hear more of the Kin’s
plight and struggle as a working-class minority group in a rapidly industrialising world,
yet on the other, you find them trying to hunt down Rubin, just as you’ve made amends.
Rubin asks you to help protect him in the night, as he is working on something considered
taboo to the kin – or in some way violating their culture. Several nights in a row, you
are confronted with the decision whether to fight the Kin, or whether to potentially lose
your friend – and one of the town’s only other doctors in the midst of the plague.
The taboo work which Rubin is doing appears to be in relation to the dissection of the
body of Simon Kain – the other man who died upon your arrival to the town. It appears
to be that this dissection has caused the Kin to become disturbed; whilst it is permissible
for you to dissect a body, as a Menkhu, taking on the jumbled butcher-priest-physician role
of your father, it is an outrage for anyone else to do so. Regardless of what explanations
about necessity or progress you have to offer, the Kin will not be swayed from their tradition,
and blood is shed. It is not only the Kin that you have to contend
with; a further quest sees you managing the townsfolk’s reactions to infection; even
in supposedly “clean” districts, paranoia and fear have caused some townsfolk to barricade
others inside their houses – and others still harbour the dead, a sense of sentimentality
and wish not to see their loved ones burned overwhelming a sense of self-protection. Still
others, beyond this, seek to extort the vulnerable – of which Var, an organ-man, is one – and,
perhaps, the more interesting, is Anna Angel. Anna, a histrionic and unreliable woman, is
presented initially to the player as a germophobe – however, the layers of her deceit are
revealed when trying to rescue a baby from a house in an infected district. You stumble
through the house to find Anna there, arguing with a Steppe woman – both have come through
to rescue the child, however the child is related to neither of them. Both are intent
on capitalising on the reward from the rescue of a baby – an automatic pardon of any past
crimes. The steppe woman wishes her husband pardoned for criminal acts in the preceding
days – Anna, however, has far older crimes to atone for. I’ll discuss these later – however
the impact upon the player is one that emphasizes the fear and desperation coursing through
the town in the Plague’s wake. This desperation is brought to a head with
Lara’s plans. Your childhood friend wants to set up a place of safety for those who
have been left destitute or homeless from the plague, and is willing to let her large
house be used for this purpose – she requests that you attain some water barrels to provide
for those she’ll care for. The barrels themselves, however, may be dangerous, as you don’t
know whether the plague is waterborne or not. Upon finding muddy and unpleasant water, you
are left with several choices; to bring the sample to Dankovsky, order the barrels’
destruction and doom a whole third of the town to a lack of clean water, bring the barrels
to Lara and risk potential infection, or to do nothing. All choices have drawbacks, and
no choice is the “correct” one. However – and, the following is a spoiler for that
quest – the barrels are in fact infected. Giving the barrels to Lara will result in
her district becoming infected and put her at significant risk of catching the plague
herself. Destroying the barrels does weaken the water supply for a huge district of the
town and put you at a significant disadvantage later. There is no correct choice.
In the midst of all of this, Capella and her prophetic powers appear to be growing; a melody
heard played, seemingly unconsciously by various different townsfolk who otherwise cannot play
a musical instrument, is attributed to her and her deceased mother’s power infiltrating
the town. There is some implication that the fourth wall is being somewhat knocked upon
to do so – however the implications are clear; alongside the supernatural disaster
that is the plague, there are supernatural miracles rife in the town’s history, and
there may well be connections between the two.
Amidst the chaos, the looting and the arson, the Saburov family still are convinced they
need to discover the true murderer – a drive which may also influenced by supernatural
entities, like the unusual Rat Prophet – a mysterious creature with whom you have terse
dealings. I’ll come to discuss him more later. You are offered a selection of various
crooks and ne’er-do-wells to judge, however it is obvious that none of them are the murderer,
and the desperate search for someone to blame amidst the destruction is a destructive, useless,
and altogether human desire. Saburov himself is uninterested in providing the true murderer,
but merely a reasonably guilty party. The one useful information you do get from the
ordeal is that it seems both your father, Isador, and Simon Kain, both knew they were
going to die prior to their murders – with some implication that they had accepted their
fate. The dealings of Saburov family present a second
issue; their insistence in identifying the murderer is interpreted by the townsfolk as
a distraction – a cover-up for the fact that they may be the people hiding the true
bringer of the plague. A rumour springs forth that they are responsible for hiding the Shabnakh-Adyr,
the plague-demon hidden in the form of a human girl. The rumours centre around the mysterious
Changeling, however you quickly come to realise the young orphan girl, Murky, is another potential
target for the crowd’s lynching and burning. Fortunately, you ward Murky away from the
town, however she retreats to the Steppe wilderness to stay with a sinister “friend”.
Murky’s retreat to the steppe comes at an important time for the Kin, too – upon the
sacrificial mound to the south of the town, the Kin have brought a bull. They believe
that the plague can be halted by sacrifice to Boddho – the deity that embodies the
earth. To carry out this sacrifice they need a Menkhu – a surgeon, a person who, quote
unquote “knows the lines” of flesh. You carry out this butcher’s task, carving the
bull into the correct pieces, living up to your title of Haruspex. The ritual appears
to yield more than it initially seems; in speaking to the Kin, you find that the bulls
cannot be infected by the plague. You take a sample of blood from the bull, and along
with Bachelor Dankovsky, attempt to analyse why this might be.
After some number of hours of analysis, you find that the immunity the bulls have to the
disease is not something transferrable to humanity – however there still may be some
connection to bulls and a curative panacea. After talking to Rubin again, and receiving
a strange, prophetic dream, you are inspired to walk to the village of the Kin on the outskirts
of town. Rubin has been working tirelessly on a vaccine, but is burning out from stress
and overwork, and has relatively little to show for it; if you are unable to make a curative
panacea before the fourth act, he will die from having had to take on this burden for
you – likely killed by the Kin for treading the grounds you should have walked, and performing
the acts reserved for you, a Menkhu. Feeling the call of the Kin, you arrive at
their village, far from the borders of the town. Though it is abandoned, there are many,
many sprigs of twyre to be found to make more prophylactic potions, and, most importantly,
there is a pool of what appears to be blood. This blood, the blood of the Earth, of Boddho
herself, appears to be still warm, and somehow important. When you take it back to your workshop
and use it to make a tincture, you find that it works perfectly; you have, at last, created
a cure for the plague. In this brief moment of elation and hope,
you are reminded that Murky has still retreated to the steppe with her quote-unquote “friend”.
Going there, you find Murky, and then Clara, the changeling girl – or at least, someone
that appears to be her. You have two separate conversations with two Claras, neither of
which seem to remember the other – and there is a heavy implication that one of these is
an imposter. Furthermore, the imposter appears to be an avatar of The Plague Itself – shortly
replaced by an Executor in beak-masked garb, taunting you for your belief in a world so
simply saved. If you thought that a noble fight and easy victory would be won by challenging
your opponent and coming out on top, you have fundamentally misunderstood the nature of
your enemy. The plague will claim either you, or Murky – the infection immediately takes
hold. In my game, I found my shortlived hope immediately fading as I burned away the cure
I had made only moments before. Though your hope has been raised with the
discovery of a potential cure, the town itself still burns with the dying, the criminals,
and the arsonists. You hear news that the authorities have dispatched an Inquisitor
to re-establish order and quarantine. This is not welcome news; visiting the house of
Yulia Lurecheva, the town’s unusual engineer, you find her talking to a distressed young
woman. The young woman is, herself, the daughter of an inquisitor, and asks you a series of
morality-play riddles – emphasizing that the arrival of this Inquisitor will spell
the end and execution for much of the town. You later find her corpse beside the cathedral’s
steps; she committed suicide as a means to escape the arrival of her father’s brutality.
Tragically, it is not her father, but a different inquisitor that arrives by the dawn; her death
is rendered meaningless. The anxieties of the townsfolk, and particularly
the town’s children may be allayed; your criminal friend Griff offers a solution; come
nightfall, you can ask for his help to acquire and lay explosives beneath the train tracks,
and detonate them prior to the Inquisitor’s train arriving. Traipsing out to the steppe
to foil the arrival of the inquisitor, you find him instead sitting by a fire, almost
relaxed in posture; in the end, he tells you this idea was foolish to begin with, submitting
to whatever his fate under the inquisitor may be. The tone shifts back towards one of
inevitability, where the idea of having any agency itself is questioned. Act Four
The fourth act begins with a cinematic; the Inquisitor arrives to town, and the gallows
are erected. The theatre’s play prior to her arrival shows her signing death warrants
and executions, draconian measures where every crime is met with capital punishment. She
sets up her base in the cathedral, and before its great doors a line of townspeople are
summoned, one by one, to answer for their actions over the past week. Approaching the
townsfolk in the line, you find them scared, confused, and apprehensive, many of them awaiting
their own demise. Those who have already spoken to the Inquisitor reveal that they, too, were
asked the morality-play questions, and fear that the incorrect answers will have cost
them their lives. The Inquisitor herself, Aglaya Lillich, is
a tall, imposing, and stern individual, though her outward composure seems to soften somewhat
on further discussion with her. Whether this is legitimate, or whether this is merely a
ploy for you to give her your trust, remains ambiguous. She asks you, too, several moral
quandaries, though it appears that you, the player character, have agency in ways that
other characters do not; she remains intrigued by your answers and actions.
The main acts that you must assist her with involve the re-opening of the termitary; the
great factory workhouse where many members of the Kin have been locked in quote-unquote
“quarantine”. Arriving there, you find that she has ordered the doors opened – however,
unsurprisingly, the plague has already outstripped you, and has already ravaged the inhabitants.
Instead of a crowd of thousands, you find merely a scattered few survivors – though
the young girl on your list, Taya Tycheek, is amongst those who lived. This young girl,
daughter of the previous foreman of the abattoir and cultural leader of the Kin inside, is
now the Kin’s new Mother Superior. You talk to her in an attempt to persuade her to escape
the termitary – the close-packed workhouse is still a breeding ground for the plague.
She refuses, however, as she will not leave the rest of the Kin behind; either all must
go, or none shall go. The act of uniting the Kin is a difficult
one; many do not trust you, many believe that you mean them harm in the ways that the Olgimsky
family has meant them harm. Many believe that your time spent as an outsider has removed
you from the Kin, and that you are as alienated to them. You encounter an elder of the Kin;
a tall, imposing man named Oyun, clad in the mask of a sacred bull. He tells you that he
knew your father, and whether you trust him or not, his advice to unite the Kin still
remains important; he advises brutality and leading them by-the-nose, in the same ways
that the Kin themselves lead their cattle across the steppe. He respects strength; though
whether you see this as raw brutality, or as the guiding inner strength of a leader,
is left intentionally up for interpretation. You may take on his advice, and unite the
Kin via violence, killing the members that refuse to leave, or you may leave them be
and choose to return later – though this is a gamble that may not go in your favour.
Further to this, the Kin wish justice for the incarceration that led to the infection
and decimation of their people; they want the blood of the man responsible. For them
to agree to trust you, they require vengeance. You can retrieve them Vlad the Younger; the
young man with grand ambitions and progressive plans for the town, the son of the patriarch
Big Vlad the Elder. Vlad the Younger, despite his initial morally ambiguous actions of giving
the orders to lock the termitary, is accepting of his responsibility and his fate; he will
leave to surrender himself to the Kin’s justice voluntarily. It is possible to prevent
his death, however – if informed of his son’s actions, Vlad the Elder will choose
to go in his stead. In both instances, men who appeared selfish and scheming act on a
sense of justice, or a sense of familial love, even when their own lives are at stake. It
is possible, albeit difficult, to save both these characters – though this is of course
at the cost of the Kin’s justice. Resolving this is the main way to allow Taya
and the trapped Kin to leave, and thus protect her from infection. Oyun also reveals that
the blood that you are searching for – the blood of the Earth, of Boddho, of the land
itself, is to be found within the Abattoir itself, the enormous meat processing slaughterhouse
that the Kin’s workhouse is attached to. Soon, he will endeavour to unlock it.
Returning to the town, the oncoming days bring further pain, confusion and death on a massive
scale; the graveyard is overrun, and piles of the dead begin to mount outside in mass
graves. Grace, the young girl in the cemetery, is overwhelmed and terrified; still hearing
the voices of the dead, their screams flow over and over the earth, and are a burden
she is unable to bear alone. Concerned for her health and sanity, you touch the mass
grave and also hear the relentless cries of the souls already lost. You are presented
a choice; to burn the dead, which Grace begs you not to do as they would remain suffering
forever, or to leave them be, continuing to torment her. There is also a third, supernatural
option; the ghostly visage of the Rat Prophet appears, and offers to remove your problem
– for a price. What that will cost, exactly, for you or for the souls of the dead, is not
made explicit. Regardless of your choice, you are then confronted by an adult of the
town; even after the plague, it will soon be winter, and Grace, a young girl alone in
a graveyard, may not survive. You may choose to let her continue to live in her home, or
to make her leave – in the latter event, she is adopted by the somewhat unhinged artist
and architect, Petr Stamatin. Returning to the Inquisitor, you find that
she has ensnared Griff; where once you knew a cocky and arrogant man, now you find a criminal
reformed by the burden of existential dread. He speaks to you about the realisation that
he is merely a puppet; he dances to the strings of his fate, which he no longer believes he
can escape. The longer the plague progresses, the more the fabric of the game’s reality
wears thin; Aglaya understands that her role is decided by authorities; her destiny is
already written in the play’s script, as is the destiny of Griff, too. He tells you
that he is relinquishing his life of crime, and with it his sense of agency and sense
of self. You are given the keys to his warehouse, and in his stead meet far more violent criminals
– though their parts in the play are cut decidedly short.
With the fourth act approaching its climax, the town’s situation becomes increasingly
desperate. The Inquisitor, failing at her task of containing the outbreak, is interrupted
by the arrival of the military. Men with guns set up barricades on the streets – but even
then, they can barely hold back the advancement of the plague, and it isn’t long until their
ranks are decimated, too; all the strength of arms in the world, and flamethrowers, and
guns, are nothing to a microbe and a cough. Aglaya looks towards the superstructure of
the Polyhedron, as you look towards the Abattoir. Her concerns are that the building that defies
laws of physics and reality is, in some way, connected to the plague that seems to also
be defying the laws of nature – a prediction with some portent. Your task is contained
in the other side of the city; the Kin has allowed the path to the Abattoir to open to
you. Within, you find a strange, Neolithic cavern,
filled with torches, pools of panacea-producing blood, and enormous, aggressive members of
the Kin. If you are to demonstrate true strength, it is strength met in bloodshed, victory met
in violence. You meet other Steppe girls there, dancing with the Plague itself, rituals to
appease Boddho – and you encounter a Steppe girl that you’ve met before, by the name
of Nara. She appears several times in the game prior to this, teasing that she knows
you, and that she has been promised to you – the implication is initially one of marriage,
but as you see her upon the sacrificial stones in the abattoir, you realise that the promise
is of a much grimmer sort. With the skills of a Menkhu, you cut her open, and remove
the contents of her insides; a spindle in the place of her emotions.
Knowing the lines, the connections between all things, you draw the connections between
the trash found in the Kin’s hearts, and with it create a heart of your own; the heart
of the Zurkhen, of Boddho herself, of the Kin, and of the world you are trying so desperately
to protect. It tells you that the Plague will only affect humanity; that which is distanced
from the world of nature and miracles; “the disease only affects those who sever themselves
from the earth”. It tells you that this great slaughterhouse
was once a sacrificial chamber; great bulls, ancient aurochs, were slaughtered here, their
blood feeding the earth, and the earth’s blood feeing the Kin. It bids you also jump
in, to sacrifice yourself to Boddho. You awaken in the bowels of the earth, surrounded by
walls of flesh, and wander until you find the truth beneath the surface; the literal
Heart of the Earth. Beside it, an enormous spike, a hair’s breadth from piercing straight
through it; the base of the Polyhedron. The Town is built upon the Earth, and the
Earth lives and breathes; just as portrayed in the 2005 version of Pathologic, the earth
is a Bull, upon which humanity lives. Act 4 (Continued)
Your victory, once more, is shortlived; though the cure is within your grasp, the Plague
itself comes to confront you. Every child that you have worked to protect, every character
that is important to you and the future of the town, is claimed by the plague. It breaks
its own rules, and there is no way to prevent the children from becoming infected. Worst
of all; even with every curative panacea possible to create, you would still not have enough
for all the children. The military, still failing to maintain order,
appear to be falling to the plague just as quickly as the townsfolk; the army is unable
to halt the spread of the plague, and the general of the military forces appears at
odds with the Inquisitor. Aglaya, for her part, appears to have also come to the same
conclusions that you have, even without seeing the spike beneath the earth; the Polyhedron,
this superstructure that supposedly generates miracles, wedged into the earth itself, is
to blame for the outbreak. In her view, to destroy it is to destroy both the supernatural
miracles, and the supernatural plague; in yours, to destroy it is to tear out the spike
that pierces the Earth, leaving the blood to well to the surface to provide panacea
for everyone. Aglaya agrees to start drafting the orders
to bombard the Polyhedron – however, the artillery crews the military have brought
in are also being ravaged by the plague. The military General, Alexander Block, is found
rapidly losing control of the military as a third die to the disease, and another third
mutiny; the soldiers were provided no special protections and had no specialists to manage
the plague, and feel that they are being thrown in to a worse meat-grinder than the front
lines, or that they can no longer open fire on their own civilians. The sense of inevitability
draws in as the loyal soldiers close the hospital, believing there to be no cure.
Within all this, your old friend, Lara, has one last act she feels she must undertake;
with the city burning, world ending, and any sense of self-preservation long gone, she
acquires a pistol, and makes moves to assassinate General Block. The general happens to be the
same man who ordered the execution and court-martial of her father long ago – and, whilst Lara
seems a tempered and altruistic soul, the annihilation of her world seems to give her
a sense that she has nothing to lose – a sense that the player may be starting to share.
By the time she arrives at the general’s headquarters, the general himself has been
whisked away by the mutineer forces, denying her chance at revenge.
The final day of the game draws close, and it brings with it the conclusions to the remaining
story threads. The first of these is the Inquisitor, Aglaya Lillich; following writing the orders
to destroy the polyhedron, she proposes an escape plan; she believes that you are the
only character within the play that retains any degree of true freedom and autonomy, unlike
other characters like Griff, who still remain trapped, puppets dancing upon their strings.
Much like a Greek hero, she pays the ultimate price for attempting to escape her written
destiny. She asks that you meet her at the train station come nightfall, where you board
the train, and make your escape. It almost seems you are successful, until fate reminds
you that it refuses to be defied; the traincar is stopped by the general’s last loyal forces,
you are placed under quarantine arrest, and Aglaya is shot on sight.
Even if you do not take on this quest, and Agalaya does not leave the town with you,
her corpse is found the next morning beside the town hall. There is no way to save her.
The next story thread to be addressed is the mystery that started it all; the murder of
your father, Isador Burakh. Following your journey into the bowels of the earth, your
fever-dreams are prophetic and unnerving. You dream once more of returning to the Abattoir,
and, finally, you encounter your father’s ghost. He tells you that he knew of the plague,
and could have stopped it, yet chose not to; the town should live or die on its own, survive
the disease on its own, develop its own societal immunity, or perish, if it couldn’t withstand
the trauma of living. More than this- he was, in fact, Patient Zero; he intentionally became
infected, and allowed that infection to spread. With the deaths of Simon Kain, and of the
Old Mistresses – the prophetic women, and mothers of Maria Kaina and Victoria Olgimskaya
– the bulwarks keeping the town’s miracles alive were lost. In this, the counterbalance
to any supernatural miracles, the supernatural plague would be inevitable after Isador died
– and so he accepted his fate, allowing the plague to manifest, hoping the town would
learn to adapt and endure. It could no longer remain as it had done in the past.
As Isador says; “To face the future is the way of love. To face the past is the way of
love. But the two are incompatible, and it broke my heart”.
This leads you on to understanding the final choice of the game; the choice of working
towards the town’s future, or to try to preserve it as it once was.
The murder, itself, was no true murder; it was in fact a mercy-killing. Elder Oyun, seeing
Isador infected and dying with the plague, euthanized your father out of a sense of compassion;
like putting down a sick animal. After confessing this to you, he retains his sense of honour,
and will accept whatever fate you decide for him – be that execution, or mercy.
As the final day dawns, the last moments of your struggle within the town are a desperate,
frantic sprint to make the last cures and heal all children under your care that still
survive. The play itself begins to unravel, as the writing begins to break down and the
theatre’s fourth wall begins to shatter. The final quest becomes a mad dash to find
the inquisitor’s bombardment orders; there are several copies taken by couriers to be
delivered to the barely-surviving general. You encounter the other soon-to-be playable
characters – the Bachelor, who bids you listen to his reason to preserve the Polyhedron,
and the Changeling, who insists that she can find another miracle cure – however they
both are too late to affect the inevitable ending. The Bachelor killed the courier he
met and burned his orders, wishing to preserve the polyhedron. The courier near Clara was
killed and fell in the river, his orders lost to the waters.
In your search for the final courier you find a disturbing character, instead – in the ransacked
remains of the pub you meet a man who claims to be you. He, too, knows you are all merely
actors within a play, and that he is the next actor slated to take the role of Artemiy Burakh
if should you fail. Everyone, including you, remains disposable.
Finally, as you find the last fallen courier and acquire the orders to bombard the Polyhedron,
the Kin approach you; they beg you not to give the order – for to destroy the polyhedron
would remove the spike from the earth’s heart. Although she is mortally wounded with
the Polyhedron’s spike, to withdraw it in such a traumatic manner would spill all her
blood. This is the blood you need to create the panacea to cure the plague – but to
gain it would mean the Earth would bleed out, killing her, and the past world of miracles,
the world of the Kin. The final choice of the game is whether to
choose to ensure the Polyhedron is destroyed, and the town is cured, or whether to accept
the world of miracles, both good and ill; “Plague, monsters and wonders are all connected.
Kill one, and the rest will suffer, too. Is my goal worth the sacrifice?” The Diurnal Ending
There are two endings to the game; the first is where the papers are delivered to the commander,
and the polyhedron is bombarded. The artillery shells fire, the Tower of Miracles collapses,
and from its base wells a pool of precious blood; the blood so needed to create a panacea.
The final day dawns; a peaceful day, the plague vanished, and the town altogether silent.
Those who survived gather in their clusters around the town, mourning their losses, and
contemplating what must happen next. The men and women who believed in miracles
and utopian dreams – the Bachelor, the Stamatin brothers who were the architects of the polyhedron,
Georgy Kain, Simon Kain’s living brother, and various others, all discuss and regroup,
with their dreams to build a new town on the other side of the river, still steadfast in
their pursuit of future dreams. Taya and other members of the Kin, accompanied
by Notkin practice their new lives; soon-to-be members and leaders of a revived Kin, but
this time altogether too human, and altogether less miraculous. They have a new, smaller,
industrialised world to come to terms with, and will struggle to find their place in it
– and, for people like Aspity, they may have no place in it at all.
Murky and Sticky, the abandoned children, return to your house – you have acted as a
father figure and protector through the days of the plague, and have accepted responsibility
and care for both them, and the town as a whole.
Rubin, if he survived and did not leave with the army, accompanies Lara and Griff upon
the broken architecture that litters the town; life shall continue on for them, the most
human of all the characters, continuing on their lives as best they can amidst the wreckage.
You can even hug Lara, if you played the game well.
The Changeling speaks of a different path; she mourns the path she didn’t win, and
implies a meeting with Higher Powers and those who broke the fourth wall – a path Artemiy
will never see. Her twin, however, is with the new young Mistresses, Capella and Maria,
standing adjacent to their mothers’ graves. The Olgimsky family, and younger members of
the Kain family are there, too; together, the new Mistresses and magi shall rebuild
their new order, and once more, a town shall form – divorced from its old miracles, yet
still cautiously optimistic. The Saburovs, if they survived, have a sombre
moment of seeming reunited – and, if Grace survived, they will adopt her. It is possible
that the young gravekeeper may become the next Clairvoyant Mistress, much as Katerina
was, though with the death of the Earth’s heartbeat her clairvoyance may no longer last.
If you’re a truly inquisitive soul, you may even find the avatars of the developers,
standing atop the town alongside the rat prophet. Finally, you take your place on the stage,
at last, to conclude the play. As the curtains draw, and the director of the theatre seems,
at least, somewhat pleased with your work, the town seems safe. A world saved, a people
rescued, and a series of miracles sacrificed, never to return. The Nocturnal Ending
The other ending to the game comes from burning the papers, denying the military the orders
to bombard the polyhedron, and the will to preserve miracles, at the cost of the town.
The life of miraculous creatures is important; the lives of the Kin, the Worms, the strange
creatures of the steppe, the forgotten miracles like the Gigantic Aurochs, and, the living
being that is The Plague itself. Sticky and Murky, your almost-adopted children,
appear to have joined the cult of the Bulls, and join alongside the religion of the Kin.
The Bachelor, the other Utopians, and everyone else within the town that would not otherwise
join the Kin leave, into the steppe, to walk until they die. Those that knew you as friends
– Notkin, Griff, even Lara, have forgotten you, as the world rejects their place in it.
Those that represented the future are lost; those that stand with the past remain. Elder
Oyun remains, his guilt for euthanizing your father still hanging over his head.
Clara appears to watch over you, though remains as enigmatic as ever. The only person to truly
seem to believe you have made the right choice is Aspity, the voice of the Kin, and the voice
of the past. The shackles of industry, of colonisation, of a culture laying foundations
and roots into the earth, is gone, and the culture of the Kin can once more thrive.
The Polyhedron, the tower of miracles, remains preserved –and you are to climb atop it.
Without the town’s future, the new Mistresses no longer include Capella Olgimskaya, or Maria
Kaina – instead, they are Grace, the gravekeeper, Taya, the tiny mother superior, and Clara,
the changeling who shall shatter the fourth wall.
The long, slow climb up the Polyhedron reveals much, and bit by bit you speak to the last
residents of the town; the children that remain atop the polyhedron. Each tells you a confession,
and each confession comes closer to breaking the fourth wall as you realise you aren’t
talking to the children, but talking to ghosts of the game’s developers. Atop the Polyhedron
itself stands the Rat Prophet; the character who constantly defies the illusion of Stage,
and talks directly to the player. Amidst the sky, the visage of Boddho herself appears,
the giant bull that is the world. Within the town, even the once-proud houses
of the Kains have been claimed by the Kin, and are surrounded by clouds of plague – clouds
that hold you no harm any more. Your future is to live with it, to be as one with it,
unaffected like the cattle of the Kin. The Cathedral itself has been changed; it is now
an altar for the women of the steppe to practice their rituals. The last remaining townsperson,
Eva Yahn, remains – now trying to become part of the Steppe culture, herself, though
it seems like this is a fatal ambition; she will never truly be a part of the Kin, and
it may cost her her life. At last, you return to the stage, bid your
adieus to the director, and once more turn back to a decidedly darker town. The Stage Plot
There is an entire layer to the story of the game that I have not yet touched on – that
of the Stage Play. This story sits on a more meta level than the outright story of the
town and the character arc of Artemiy Burakh, though, as the story progresses, the dividing
line between the story-as-literal and story-as-stageplay starts to blur, and the role of the Player
and the role of Artemiy Burakh becomes equally blurred.
From the very beginning of the game, the entire structure is set out as if it is a stage play,
and you merely an actor within it. Your first act within the game involves talking to the
Director of the Play – your play, the game itself, and asking for a second run. There
is a semi-ironic acknowledgement of none of the events being portrayed as quote-unquote
“real” – however, the lack of a literal truth does not mean the story lacks emotional
truth – quite the opposite. The entire purpose of the play is slowly revealed,
through intermittent parts, and often revealed through failure and death. Death is a constant
companion in this game – not only a thing to be avoided and feared, but an omnipresent
entity, and personal nemesis, all in one. You meet Death in the opening moments of the
game; a fellow traveller in your train carriage gets out of a coffin – a cramped wooden
box, much like your traincar. You play a game of chance – a gamble of secrets and wits,
much as a doctor plays a game of dice every time he tries to cheat death. The Traveller
arrives alongside you, the Player full-well knowing that the act of playing the game is
what will bring Death to the town. The game’s story is laid out as a five-act
play; the first act forms the tutorial and introduction to the world and characters,
establishing the internal politics of the town, the nature of the townsfolk and the
Kin, and the central tensions. The second act comes as the plague strikes, the status
quo is disrupted, and Death takes his harvest – the tensions between the characters rise
as the situation becomes more desperate. The third act is where the climax of the story
is approached; the town falls into complete chaos, the Inquisitor arrives to establish
order and fails, your heritage to the Kin is explored further, and your ability to save
everyone is called into question. The third and fourth act are bridged by the climax of
the story; Artemiy’s descent into the Abattoir and retrieval of the Panacea.
However, where a standard play would include the remainder of a Fourth Act and conclude
with a Fifth, Pathologic does an intentionally strange thing; it shows that the play begins
to go off-script and off-rails, and posits that the director has lost control by the
time the fourth act has begun. Whilst the fifth act could be seen as the Day 12 Conclusion
arcs, the game itself explicitly avoids this, and shows the stage as collapsed into chaos
by the time of the general’s arrival, and your quest markers never update beyond a fourth
act. Much of the behind-the-scenes story is lived
out upon the event of dying in the game; unlike most other games, and unlike Pathologic 1,
dying does not return you back to a menu to re-load your game and try again. Instead,
the game keeps track of the number of times you have died, regardless of whether you reload
or not – there is no dodging the consequences of death via savescumming.
Upon death, you awaken in the theatre; there, you meet the director of the whole play, the
ironically-named Mark Immortal. He informs you that Death is inevitable, suffering is
a given, and, most importantly, that every quote-unquote “stage death” of the hero
will cause irreversible consequences to the world.
With every death comes a new change; your body is weaker, your maximum hit points or
exhaustion limit or thirst limit is reduced, or dialogue options with important characters
are removed – including your ability to hug anyone or express warmth. The game becomes
harder as you die, making death itself more likely – the effect snowballs to an almost-unbearable
degree. Each time you encounter Death, you encounter
the stage director, or one of his assistants. Each of them speak to you, not as Artemiy
Burakh, but as the person taking upon his role – you, the player, becoming a performer.
The defining line that separates the player from their character becomes blurred, especially
as the Stage itself becomes part of the game’s internal play, and the backstage characters
venture forth into the world of the game; the Rat Prophet, particularly, is a major
example of this. He brings knowledge of the backstage workings of the play to the on-stage
script itself; he is found acting as a Deus-Ex Machina on more than one occasion, and with
enough player deaths he will be found standing outside the theatre itself, goading the player
with knowledge that their failures and deaths are undermining the play and destroying the
game’s world. By the fourth act of the game, this blurring
of realities, and acknowledgement of the plot as a fictional play, is stated outright – it
is explicitly acknowledged by Aglaya and Griff, who find their lives as characters without
agency to be existentially distressing. It is forced upon the player, too, who encounters
an actor that claims to be the next Artemiy. It is not only the protagonists and player
characters that experience this meta-narrative; the Plague itself takes form as a character
to be spoken to on more than one occasion, changing form from an invisible, unknowable
power to a personal nemesis. The antagonist shows up in other ways, too; the Fellow Traveller
offers a faustian bargain if you continue to die repeatedly – offering you a deal
to remove any penalties from Death, but at the cost of the “true” ending of the game.
Indeed, if you take on this deal and get the ‘bad’ ending of the game, you see the
other protagonists – Bachelor Dankovsky and Clara the Changeling – both standing
on stage as actors, rehearsing their scripts to try again.
The director uses his time spent with you to give voice to the developers’ intent;
you are to understand that Death is inevitable, inscrutable, yet can be overcome; detaching
the self from the individual body, and subsuming oneself in something that lasts eternally
– such as a culture, or a kindred, or a miracle project, or utopian ideals, or even
just in leaving the legacy of a story. Suffering is not only an inevitable part of life, but
a trial, and such fictionalised suffering is a means of coming to understand oneself.
This toying with theatre technique and direct addressing of the audience is overtly metatextual;
the play is explicitly not entirely real, it is a play. It is not like other games,
in which the in-game world is presented as quote-unquote “real” – the nature of
your character as An Actor Playing Artemiy Burakh or as Actually Artemiy Burakh is fluid.
There is a blurring of boundaries between each layer of the fiction – and thus a blurring
of boundaries between fiction and reality. The game itself is to be understood and examined
as a fiction, and its characters are to be analysed as fictional. The only “real”
character amongst it is you. The play is self-evidently a tragedy with
You, The Player as the protagonist; though Artemiy is your in-game avatar and has his
own goals, the exploration of character flaws and weaknesses is an exploration of the player’s
weaknesses – it isn’t just Artemiy that fails to save everyone, it’s you as a player.
It is not only Artemiy’s flaws that are revealed through tragedy – it is yours. 2: Characters
I’m going to begin this next section of the analysis of this game with an overview
of some of the major characters. This is by no means an exhaustive list – and, if you’re
familiar with the structure of Pathologic 1, you might already anticipate the caveat
here; all the character analyses from this route will be from Artemiy’s perspective.
This means that there are some multifaceted figures whose arcs we have not yet seen, and
some characters with whom we hardly interact at all. I’m going to talk most in-depth
about the characters relevant to this campaign, and will address the remaining cast when the
Bachelors’ and Changelings’ scenarios are released.
If any of these characters die, they will appear backstage in the theatre, and tell
you what their intended role in the play was. I will include these, so you may draw your
own conclusions. The Townsfolk
The Olgimsky family are an unusual family in the town; headed by Vlad Olgimsky the Elder,
this dynasty operates a bourgeois empire and is responsible for the town’s entire economic
output to the outside world. The town, a newly crafted settlement in the outskirts of the
steppe, was built over where the native Kin once lived, and once herded cattle. Now, this
cattle-herding process has been settled and industrialised, and the profits of this enterprise
return to the elder Vlad Olgimsky. This vast man acts as a bull in his own right;
a true patriarch, domineering to some, protective of his own, and operating as an indomitable
pillar in a brutal and cut-throat world. He is evidently a dangerous man to cross, and
holds power over the entire cattle production enterprise – and, therefore, over the entirety
of the native Kin who work there, as well as the poorer townsfolk. Whilst not technically
in a position of judicial or administrative authority, his economic stranglehold on the
town places him amongst the great families. However, to cast him purely as another Villainous
Member of the Bourgeoisie is far too simplistic; he is a man who expresses great affection
and tenderness to his own family, and extends his definition of ‘family’ to protect
Artemiy, as well. His humanity is clearly demonstrated in a scene where you find a looted
shop – despite the profit that may be gained from re-opening it, Elder Vlad would prefer
it remain as a memorial, both to the dead, and to his late wife, Victoria. He is also
more than willing to die in the place of his son, and surrender himself to the Kin and
face their vengeance, despite the Younger Vlad being the one actually responsible for
the deaths within the Termitary. His final words; “My path was called “The
Diaphragm.” I thought I was free to decide the fate of the Kin. But fortune… heh…
had something else in mind.” Vlad the Younger is of a different breed to
his father, and yet retains many of his traits; instead of retaining power via fear and aggression,
Vlad the Younger is of a laisses-faire mindset; his ethics and ideology are those of a businessman,
and his goals are to continue to run the cattle enterprise according to colder economic principles
– though he may lack the brashness and bluster of his father, and his mode of power is expressed
differently, he still ultimately wishes to continue his father’s economic legacy, and
wishes to use this to sustain the town. For a price, of course.
Despite his outwardly capitalistic outlook, he still maintains more of a fascination with
the native Kin than many other townsfolk do, going as far as to study their culture, language,
and taboos in far more depth than his contemporaries. He also engages, with the Kin’s assistance,
in digging a well in the town – an act that is taboo, but is done with some degree of
sensitivity as to not anger the Kin. He, also, is responsible for the locking of
the termitary – an act that dooms many of the Kin inside to infection and death, in
the cramped and overcrowded living quarters. This act was done to prevent the rioting Kin
from harming other townsfolk, and to protect the town – though, of course, it turns out
to be a bad judgement call. Notably, the townsfolk believe his father would not have made such
a grave error. Regardless, he is willing to meet the Kin’s justice for this act, and
will do so unless actively stopped. He remains a complex character that cannot easily be
judged. His final words: “My path was called the
blood of the earth – well, I found out what comes from where, and the conclusions are
obvious.” The second Olgimsky child, Capella, is an
adolescent during the events of the game – one foot in childhood, the world of dreams and
ambitions and games, the other in adulthood, responsibility, and in coming into her mother’s
legacy. Her mother, a character who died before the events of the game, was one of the Clairvoyant
Mistresses, able to divine the fate of the town. Capella may be beginning to share her
mother’s abilities – though in many ways, it seems that they are less her own abilities,
and more her mother’s spirit, returning to manifest itself through Capella.
The ghost of Victoria Olgimskaya, Capella’s mother, returns in multiple points through
the game. The most notable example comes with her influence on various townsfolk, including
the Changeling Clara, to play a childhood melody that Capella recognises – another
example of the past never truly leaving the town. Capella’s journey is one of internalising
and understanding her history and her mother’s legacy, yet choosing to create a new world,
different from that of her parents; in the Diurnal ending, looking towards the future,
she will be one of the new Mistresses of the town. In the Nocturnal ending, looking towards
the past, she is absent, likely dead. Her final words: “My path was my namesake—”Capella.”
If not for the plague, I would have spread among the children a heathen cult. Our parents…
would have lived forever…” The Nocturnal Ending shows a different set
of mistresses to the new town – one of which includes Grace, the gravekeeper. She, like
Capella, is also prone to visions and Clairvoyance – however hers is tied to the dead, to the
Rat Prophet, and to the lost. She has compassion, yet that compassion is something that harms
and erodes her. Those she speaks for, the Dead and the Lost, sap her strength – and
yet, she has no source from which to replenish her own strength from. Her story is one of
resilience and attrition. Though her journey may have several different outcomes, depending
on her survival. Her Diurnal ending, looking towards the future, sees her adopted by the
Saburov family – perhaps to become the next faulty seer, walking in the footsteps of Katerina
Saburova. Her nocturnal ending sees her become the True Mistress of the Dead – though whether
this is for good or ill is left uncertain. Her final words; “My path was called “The
Burden of the Living.” I… I just wanted to care for those leaving us behind.”
The Saburovs themselves are given relatively little screen time in the game; we see Alexander
Saburov as a hawk, a hard-headed and inflexible man with a penchant for draconian justice
– on the one hand, attempting to show determination and strength in the face of overwhelming odds,
but on the other, his pursuit of ‘justice’ comes down to repeatedly trying to find a
scapegoat for the catastrophe around him. We will see more of him in a coming route.
His final words; “My path was called “The Restoration of Power.” I wanted to return
strength and dignity to our country. I could have become the Ruler were it not for the
plague.” Katerina Saburova, as I have alluded to earlier,
is also a clairvoyant mistress – however her clairvoyance was not as strong as that
of the other old mistresses of the town – the now-deceased Nina Kaina and Victoria Olgimskaya.
Unable to bear the pain of her visions, she slowly turned to morphine – and in her addictions
became vulnerable to malevolent forces, such as the Rat Prophet. She is led to false conclusions
in how to defeat the plague, despite her ragged-worn compassion. Her role is also to be explored
more in a coming route. Her final words; “My path was called “The
Rat Prophet.” I didn’t know that it was he who whispered to me in dreams. Until the very
end, I believed it was the Earth.” Lara Ravel is a character portrayed with more
depth; a woman with seemingly-boundless compassion and a childhood friend to Artemiy, she remains
one of your most reliable confidants throughout the game. Unlike the Olgimsky family, her
kindness and protection comes with no cost nor expectation of repayment; she only asks
for your assistance in providing that same compassion to others. However, such limitless
compassion has its drawbacks; much in the way that the player will falter and die if
they overstretch themselves, Lara places herself in consistent danger and can easily become
infected in her attempts to provide shelter for the poor of the town. Her actions through
the mid-game involve requesting you provide her water for her shelter to the poor and
destitute – an action that will cause her district to become infected if it is carried
out. Her family and home life is also presented
with some complexity; the daughter of a celebrated war hero, she has inherited a house far too
large for her, and she leaves the majority of the rooms boarded up and disused. Her respect
for her dead father’s memory appears to be mixed with a sense of unaddressed grief;
his death still hangs over her, a sword of Damocles in the making.
Once the stresses of the plague reach their height, her role as a compassionate, caring
and pacifistic figure fades; General Block, the military commander, was the man responsible
for her father’s court martial and execution. Once the plague has burned away the town she
cares about, there is nothing to stop her carrying out her revenge – she has very
little to live for, and nothing to lose. She is barely stopped in time, and only escapes
her own execution via luck. In the Diurnal Ending she is found standing
atop a ruined stairway, gazing out across what remains of the town. She appears hopeful,
though her words are bittersweet – she expresses some affection towards you, and appears willing
to help act as a maternal figure for the lost children you seem to have adopted. Whether
that is to lead to anything more between her and Artemiy is left intentionally vague.
Her final words; “My path was called the home for the living. Kindness guided me, but
I could never know I was to meet my father’s murderer” Stakh Rubin, the second of your childhood
friends, also presents a complex figure. He remained with your father, Isador, working
as his student whilst you left home to study medicine in the capital. Your return to the
town is met with anger and accusation by the townsfolk, whom Stakh agrees with. For the
first few days he meets you with open hostility, believing you are responsible for your father’s
murder. Even once this rumour is decidedly disproven, he still regards you with hostility;
he views your failure to return to the town in time to save your father as equivalent
to being responsible for his death – the failure of responsibility of a doctor to save
a patient, and of a man to save his family. He also stands in direct competition with
you in many ways; he remained your father’s pupil whilst you did not, however you are
the person to come into your father’s legacy and inheritance, whilst he is not. He is one
of the few physicians with any skill in the town, and also is working on his own cure
– albeit a different one that does not rely on the Kin. He also engages in self-destructive
and dangerous actions in order to save the town – and, should you fail to find the cure,
he will do so in your place and pay for it with his life.
His means of salvation comes in the act of desecrating the body of Simon Kain – the
second of the town’s old guard to die immediately before your arrival. Though the full reveal
of what Simon Kain was will be revealed more in the Bachelor’s campaign, for the purposes
of this discussion, Simon had a body that was somehow immune to the plague. Rubin’s
actions in the game involve exhuming this body and dissecting down its essence in order
to build a vaccine – an act that involves the cutting of a body in a way the Kin regard
as taboo. If he is left unprotected, they will kill him.
Eventually Rubin comes around to begrudgingly respecting you again – and will work in
the town’s hospital and cover your shifts whilst you exit to build your panacea. Following
the arrival of the Inquisitor, if he remains alive, you may have your reconciliation as
he sleeps, exhausted from a week of constant work.
If he remained alive and did not leave the town to join the army, he can be found in
the Diurnal Ending on the same steps as Lara – his final reconciliation with you an admission
that you have, truly, become the man worthy of your father’s legacy.
His final words; “My path was called The Warden, with the fruits of my sacrilege I
sated the town.” Grigory Fillin – or Griff, your last childhood
friend, took a rather different path in his life; he has become the de-facto leader of
the town’s criminal underworld, and your interactions with him take on a rather different
tone – his first task for you is to patch up a murderer and retrieve a shiv from the
man’s gut – however his respect for you will not lessen even if you allow this murderer
to die. Griff’s appearance as a dangerous man, however,
is shown outright to be merely a mask; a stagehand above Griff, acting as his quote-unquote ‘conscience’,
is explicit in telling you that the bravado he has shrouded himself with is an act, and
that the ‘real’ Griff is the same child you once knew, now merely playing a role of
a dangerous thug – consistent with his general attitude of irony and mockery.
However, the dividing line of where a performance ends and authenticity begins is a difficult
one; Griff is still indirectly responsible for much of the violence carried out by his
men – and, though it rapidly escalates out of his control, he does not so much try to
stop it, as regard it all through a lens of detached irony.
This sense of ironic detachment is played upon and heightened further in the run up
to meeting the Inquisitor; his response to your request to blow up the train tracks is
to lead you to believe he’ll help you, then withdraw his assistance last-minute as a demonstration
of how foolish an idea it is to fight fate. His sense of inevitability is broken in further
when the Inquisitor arrives; the Inquisitor shows him the nature of reality – that he
is merely a figure in a play, a part to be acted out, that he has no means to fight his
own fate, and no means to have agency of his own.
His inability to change his own fate stands in contrast to you, the player – or, at
least so it seems. You have some agency in your actions in the game, yet, you too are
still acting out the part written for you – for Artemiy. His final words to you, in
the Diurnal ending, reflect his changed views on his own fate; he can never quite go back
to who he used to be, but will go into his future, ready to play his role once more – whatever
that role may be. His final words; “My path was not called
“The Spider,” no, think wider—it was “The Silkworm.” At the end of a railroad, I pulled
strings firm… yet unaware, someone more cunning pulled mine upstairs.” Aglaya Lilich, the Inquisitor herself, is
a character unlike many of the others; she has no part in the backstage play, and, no
matter what path the player chooses, she will always die. She has no means to escape her
fate – and, most tragically, she is aware of this. Much like a tragic Greek hero, she
has had her destiny foretold, and every act of struggling against it only entangles her
further in the web of her inevitable fate. She appears as cool, collected, and dangerous;
the Inquisitors in general are presented as agents that the Powers that Be send in to
address problems that are otherwise unsolvable. In a similar vein to Artemiy, a Menkhu, connecting
the quote-unquote ‘lines’ between living things, Inquisitors are presented as being
able to also draw such patterns, such lines between seemingly-unconnected events, and
use these to intuit ways to solve problems. Her intuitions prove correct; she is aware
that the Polyhedron – the enormous megastructure that seems to defy the laws of nature – is
somehow connected to both the manufactured miracles of the Kain’s Utopian project,
and the catastrophic plague as the Earth’s reaction. She is aware that some characters
are to have greater roles in the plague’s management than others – and, perhaps most
telling, she is aware that you, Artemiy, and the player controlling him, are different
to the other townsfolk. Though Artemiy is as much bound by the strings
of his fate – of the script he is playing – as anyone else, he demonstrates that this
doesn’t matter to him; what is important to him is to act according to his morals.
If he is manipulated to an external force’s benefit, it doesn’t matter to him – so
long as he has acted as he sees best. It is this quality that Aglaya believes sets Artemiy
free – even if he is still tied to his destiny, his willingness to still act as he sees fit
gives him more solace than she has ever managed. Her final acts in the game – to sign the
writ of the Polyhedron’s destruction and to try to make her escape – are tragic;
the last desperate attempt at demonstrating her agency, by a figure who already knew that
her efforts would be fruitless, yet was compelled to try anyway.
In the face of inevitability, it is sometimes better to stand and roar against your fate,
against God – even if it seems pointless. To quote Thomas Dylan; “Do not go gentle
into that good night – Rage, rage against the dying of the light”.
The Utopians, as a group, have very little screen time in this game – however I feel
it important to at least address each of them in short, here. They’ll get more coverage
in the following routes of the Bachelor and the Changeling, but in the interim, they do
still play a role in Artemiy’s view of the town and its people.
Andrei Stamatin is a charismatic, dangerous and sharp owner of the local drinking establishment,
and a dealer in twyrine. He and his troubled brother, Petr, are responsible for the creation
of much of the town, and are the architects of the Polyhedron – the superstructure that
defies nature. They, along with a third architect, were also responsible for the Cathedral – a
great, looming structure in the Stone Yard that, for all its grandeur, remains empty
and soulless. The various scattered staircases abandoned through the town are their creations,
too – prototypes of their Polyhedron project. Andrei remains the more upbeat of the pair
– regarding himself as the bulldozer that clears the way for his brother’s brilliance
– though this has at times led to other dangerous problems, including the murder of
the third architect. They have both fled to the town for various breaches of the law – though
whether that is the law of the nation, the Laws of Nature and Physics, or Both, is left
deliberately unclear. During the Diurnal ending, he is seen angrily mourning the loss of the
Polyhedron, swearing revenge for its destruction. His final words; “My path was called “Larger
Than Life.” There isn’t a single boundary I haven’t broken. I’ve done everything I ever
wanted to!” Petr is the gentler of the pair – a troubled
artist and addict to Twyrine, the town’s local hallucinogen of choice. His house is
littered with paint and sketches, the feverish scrawls of both brilliance and madness. Where
his brother’s role is to demolish old boundaries and rules, his role is to rebuild in brilliance
– or hubris, depending on your perspective. He has some kindness and compassion in his
heart, too, and will adopt Grace, the young gravekeeper, as a fellow misfit, if they both
survive long enough. His final words; “My path was called “The
Calligrapher.” They wouldn’t let me forget what I’d done, but they couldn’t kill me.
That means this is just the beginning.” The Kain family, much like the Olgimskys and
the Saburovs, are the third powerful family of the town. They also are not given as much
screen time in this route as they’ll get in subsequent routes – however their role
in the events of the game is still important. With the creation of the Polyhedron by the
Stamatin brothers, the Kains have come across the final means to build a utopia they’ve
always dreamed of – a transformative immortality, and a perfect society, all in one. The true
mastermind of the project, Simon Kain, is a brilliant, seemingly-immortal man, however
he, along with your father Isador, dies immediately before the events of the game.
The remaining Kain family are composed of Georgy, the eldest, and the town’s judge,
Victor, the husband of the late Nina Kaina – one of the deceased Clairvoyant Mistresses
of the old town, and Maria, Victor’s daughter, who is, much like Capella, also beginning
to channel the spirit of her dead mother. Victor’s younger child, Caspar Kain – otherwise
known as Khan, is a character I’ll discuss later.
Georgy Kain is shown relatively little in the game; his main objectives appear to be
to ensure the survival of the Polyhedron and the miracles of the town, and to continue
the project of the deceased Simon. To this end, despite knowing that Simon, and your
father Isador Burakh, are responsible for returning the plague to the town, he does
not stop them – in the Diurnal Ending, it is shown that he regards this as a necessary
step, a sacrifice in order to advance humanity, and advance the miracles of the town. His
house is called the Crucible, and he is shown as a man in a workshop – a sculptor and
creator, both of physical things, and of people. His final words; “My path was called “Necrology.”
Few can survive the trial of death… I did everything I could so that a handful might
pass the test.” Victor Kain is a man of few words – his
interactions with Artemiy are very brief. He mourns for the loss of his wife, Nina Kain,
who was one of the Great Mistresses of the town before. Under her guidance, the people
were fearful, but loving – she was the perfect image of blood, passion and strength. Victor’s
actions and desires were to return her memory to the town, in some small way or another
– though, in the context of the Clairvoyant Mistresses, ‘returning’ them to the town
has a much more literal meaning. His final words; “My path was called “The
Mistress.” I tried to anchor the memory of my unearthly wife here in this town.”
Maria Kaina is met only a few times within the game; she is imperious, commanding, and
arrogant, assuming to wield great power – however, there are various instances where she seems
to do this successfully. She interacts with Clara and Capella, presuming that they three
will be the New Mistresses, and during at least one interaction alters the game mechanics
in order to prevent you interrupting her further. Through the course of the game, she appears
to become more and more detached from reality, and more involved with talking to the unseen
ghost of her mother – how much of that is her genuine clairvoyance, and how much is
her perceptions of reality slipping in response to stress, is left unclear.
Her final words; “My path was called “The Return of Magic.” I wanted the power to create
a place of miracles, and precious anarchy.” The last of the Utopians, unrelated to the
Kains, is Eva Yahn – a dreamer and lost soul. Living in the abandoned Observatory
– another experimental structure, like the Cathedral and the Polyhedron. This building,
created by Farkhad, the deceased architect that worked with the Stamatins, had its own
curse; whilst the Polyhedron could preserve and augment a soul, the observatory, quote-unquote
“stretched it out”. Most were unable to stay in such a house for long – except this
young woman. Contrary to her provocatively-clad portrayal
in Pathologic 1, Eva appears somewhat dishevelled – certainly not sexualised. Somewhat disconnected
from reality, she appears somewhat innocent and very naive. Though it does not occur in
this version of the story, her desires are to still provide the soul to the otherwise
soulless Cathedral – an act that in the original game required her suicide for her
spirit to provide meaning to the otherwise sterile stonework – though whether this
act was ever necessary is debatable. She presents as someone who romanticises the world around
her heavily, to the point of distorting her views of reality.
In the Diurnal ending, she remains alive, keen to participate in the Kains’ project
for a new town – though her potential suicide is referenced. In the Nocturnal ending, she
can be seen dancing with Steppe girls – trying to immerse herself and find meaning in a culture
that will never truly accept her. Her final words; “My path was once called
“Goldilocks,” but then I wanted to offer my soul to the Cathedral, so that it would hold
something truly immortal.” Yulia Lurecheva, whilst not one of the Utopians,
is still adjacent to them in her role in the town; where Andrei and Petr Stamatin are the
architects of the wondrous creations, Yulia is the engineer that built the roadmap of
the town – the alleyways and streets, mapping them out more as vessels in an organism than
crossroads in a planned city. Her role is also one of compassion, however hers is more
detached than Lara’s; she assists how she can in the hospital, though her role there
is brief and limited. Her soul will be bared more in an upcoming route.
Her final words; “My path was called “Tripwires of Fate.” I built the roads of this town such
that humans became red blood cells in its veins, and I laid bare the logic of imminence” Anna Angel is, perhaps, one of the characters
most draped in mystery. A figure who never really reveals any truth to anyone, she is
a shallow, vain mysophobe. She is seen dressed in an enormous parka that entirely drenches
her form and shields her from any real view throughout the game, and the fragments of
her history learned from other figures paint a mixed and confusing picture; a woman who
once travelled with a circus known as the Diamond Caravan, she was very likely involved
in the kidnapping of children – and, according to some, may have been involved in their murder.
She spends her time in the game berating you for leading the infection to her door, hiding
in her room, and occasionally trying to break into infected houses to quote-unquote “rescue”
a child – an act cynically done to earn pardon for her past crimes, rather than for
any sense of compassion. Wearing several layers of fake personas and false identities, it
is unclear if even she knows who she really is, underneath it all – when performer and
performance blend together, and the performances are all based on lies, the result beneath
is hollow – a shell of inauthenticity. Her actions appear to only have cynical motives;
means of hiding herself further or avoiding discovery for who she really is. Even in the
final moments of the game, she still shows only childish fear and further obfuscation
of her identity. Though her story is to be explored further in an upcoming route, she
remains the living embodiment of the phrase, “the mortifying ordeal of being known”.
Her final words; “My path was called “The Angel of Death.” I’m not sure, myself, why
I was in the Caravan… …forgive me, please! I promise I’ll be good!” The remaining children of the town are the
main group that Artemiy is destined to protect; in his goal of creating a future town where
they may continue their culture and future, Artemiy’s path is distinctly a forward-facing
one. His role in nurturing and protecting the town’s future is most closely seen in
his actions to protect the other kids. Notkin, the first of the kids that Artemiy
interacts with, is presented as an adolescent, clad in too-big clothes, one foot still in
childhood, and with a connection to simple, more earthly things, like playing with cats
and dogs – in opposition to the rival gang that plays with dreams and polyhedrons. He,
like the adults before him, represents the town’s future connection to nature, and
to its own humanity; his first interaction with you is one of imploring justice – a
very human question of whether it is ever justified to kill another man. This question
returns to haunt you at multiple parts throughout the game – and the fact that it is put to
you by an earnest teenager, a child, albeit not an entirely-innocent one, lends it more
poignancy. Notkin’s childlike naivety is contrasted
by his attempts to be a sombre and serious leader – going so far as to semi-adopt the
stay kids of the town, and attempt to protect them and save their lives when the plague
breaks out. His attempts to investigate an infected house with you are a noble endeavour
– though a costly one, highly likely to infect him.
Of all the characters in the game, he is most likely to be the first that is infected – and,
even if cured, the most likely to be re-infected and most likely to die. In your dreams, the
Powers that Be comment that they believe he will be the first to venture through the door
to death. In the Diurnal Ending, he can be found listening to the words of Taya Tycheek
– the future of the town’s earthly endeavours resting on his small shoulders.
His final words: “My path was called “A Half-Soul More.” I wanted to create a real
utopia, a fraternity of boys and pups, girls and kittens, tots and cubs…”
Standing in opposition to Notkin is Caspar Kain – otherwise referred to as Khan. Much
as Artemiy is of the earth and Daniil, the Bachelor, is of the Polyhedron and Utopian
dreams, such is the dynamic of Notkin and Khan. Bold, assuming, and not entirely kind,
he is far more a boy trying to play the role of a harsh king, than a forever-young Peter
Pan in a forever-childish Polyhedron. He takes his responsibility with some seriousness,
bordering on the precocious – reflected in the small snippets seen of him in interacting
with Capella, and his sense of duty in clearing the House of the Dead. He is otherwise an
unusual one for Artemiy to protect, more resembling the other Utopians than anyone else – however,
he is to be part of the town’s future balance. His role, as seen in the Diurnal Ending, is
to one day marry Capella Olgimskaya, and form a new dynasty – joining the Utopian dreamers
to the future representative of the common townsfolk.
His final words: “My path was called “The High Day.” If not for the plague, I’d have
seized power from the adults and instituted a dictatorship of the children. But Capella…
Capella had a better idea.” The next two children that you encounter form
an emotional core to the story; Sticky and Murky. These kids, their birth names forgotten,
are both orphans, and both look to you as a father figure – and both, in turn, remind
you of your own father’s actions. The first, Sticky, is a young boy, barely
past twelve years old, and orphaned after his father went to war and his mother died
to sickness. In the years before your return to the town, your father, Isador, treated
him with some kindness, and allowed him to stay in his warehouse and tinker with his
potion-makers and equipment. Though lacking anything much of a formal education, he is
sharp-witted and able to assist you on more than one occasion – the most memorable of
which being when he offers to help sneak into a store and steal you vital equipment, whilst
you distract the shop’s owner. Without fully understanding exactly what you’re doing,
he still watches your work keenly, and can offer helpful advice on occasion. His memories
of your father are fond ones – of a caring, paternal grandparent who looked after the
town and its people. His role is both to act in place of a son and future pupil of yours,
and to remind you of Isador’s kindness and compassion – the positivity with which he
regards you as a father figure is the same positivity that you regarded your own father.
Murky, in contrast, offers you a confused and conflicting relationship, reflecting the
conflicted parts of your own relationship with your father. A young, homeless girl,
she first meets you in Notkin’s lair, and seems wary and hostile towards you. Despite
this hostility, she still seems to follow you, every so often latching onto you as a
figure of strength – each time, letting you in a little bit, but each time also clamming
up if pushed too much. Eventually you come to realise she stays, homeless and alone,
in a box car outside of town – littered with small tokens, childlike drawings, things
of value to her – but still open to the elements, cold, and lonely. Her destitution
is reflected in her appearance, too; unwashed, unkempt clothing and hair, dirt on her face,
she is already in a position of vulnerability long before the game begins – and, in this
regard, becomes the embodiment of those you need to protect within the town, acting as
a quote-unquote “conscience on dirty feet”. This role as your de-facto conscience is revealed
to be even more apt when her background becomes revealed to you; her homelessness, her destitution,
her orphanhood were all things caused by your own father, Isador. During the previous outbreak
of the plague, he quarantined an area of the poor district – dooming many people to death,
including Murky’s mother and father. Her view of Isador is therefore far more tainted;
she sees him as a monster, committing monstrous deeds, in the name of something she is too
young to understand. In both the Diurnal and Nocturnal ending,
Sticky and Murky remain your wards – they, as the children you have effectively adopted,
will follow your path, wherever that may lead. In the Diurnal ending, Sticky is to become
your future pupil, and Murky is given a home under your roof. In the Nocturnal ending,
Sticky remains your pupil – though of a different sort, and Murky, in some strange
irony, is the one to offer you her boxcar as a roof over your head.
His final words: “My path was called “In Defiance.” I almost tracked down that weird
creature, but then I found a better goal. I’m going to become a real doctor.”
Her final words; “And my path was called “Feed the Doll.” I also wanted to be with
Mom and Dad.” The Kin
Taya Tycheek, the last of the children under your care, is found within the Termitary,
and viewed as a Holy Child by the Kin who live there. The daughter of the now-deceased
Overseer, she is afforded a leadership position – a strange contrast, as the biggest, most
brutish and scariest of the peoples met in the game are led by the smallest and youngest
girl. She is clearly adored by the Kin who follow her, and she and they feel a sense
of solidarity; despite your best efforts at cajoling and persuading, she refuses to leave
the Termitary unless all the Kin may leave with her.
Despite her commanding the power over the entirety of the Kin, she is still, at heart,
a very young and immature child – even in her final speeches in the Diurnal Ending of
the game, her moral edicts are interspersed with commands about candy, and other such
things. In many ways, this immaturity reflects the position of the Kin; in a new world, their
old ways have died out, and their own rebirth and re-learning their place in it must also
ensue. In the Diurnal ending, she is seen giving
out her new commands as the moral and quasi-religious leader of what remains of the Kin – merely
play-acting a role, but acting it with such confidence that it should eventually become
a truly authentic one. In the Nocturnal ending, she is seen, sitting atop the Polyhedron,
once more inheriting her role as a soon-to-be Clairvoyant Mistress of the town, the Mistress
of the Bulls. Her final words; “My path was called…
something or another. I forget. Had something… something to do with bulls.” Aspity, an unusual witch-like woman, scarred
and haggard, with a blown pupil, is one of the few other members of the kin with whom
you have closer interactions. She speaks for the Kin, and speaks for the future that she
wishes for them. She is first met in the graveyard outside the town, burying your father’s
body alongside the rest of the Kin, and approaches you afterwards to give you your father’s
inheritance – both in his physical effects, and in the burden of his responsibility. She
holds you with affection and compassion, and in you she rests the hopes of the future of
the Kin – going as far as dying to protect you, if you let her treat the children in
Notkin’s warehouse in your stead. By nightfall, she is found in her burnt-out
house on the edge of town, approached by various members of the Kin; in them, she speaks of
ideals of rebellion, of reclaiming the land back from the town, and of allowing the Kin
to return their world of Bulls, of Miracles, of Animism to the steppe.
Her predictions about the cause of the plague are not unfounded; the town and its leadership,
in building the Polyhedron, did sink a spike deep into the heart of the Earth – a truth
that you literally see for yourself. Her solution is, however, the unusual one; her ideals call
for a return to the past, and not a pursuit of the future.
In the Diurnal ending, she is one of the few characters that will berate you and mourn
your choice to remove the Polyhedron and let the Earth’s blood spill. In the Nocturnal
ending, in the return to the past world of Miracles, she lauds your choice; whilst nearly
every other character has died or left, or been changed alongside the changed world,
Aspity is finally at peace – her prophesies of a return to the ways of old were carried
out, and her hopes in you proved true. Her final words; “My path was called Earth.
I could have told you all why the black soil is not to blame for this catastrophe” Foreman Oyun – one of the last surviving
leaders of the Kindred, appears relatively late in the game. A giant of a man, he is
first seen dressed in steppe garb, wearing an enormous Bull-mask; every bit a half-man,
half-animal minotaur. In this, he reflects the nature of the Kin themselves; one foot
in humanity, one foot in the past – a past that Oyun, himself, describes as an animalistic
one. Whilst he is not an unintelligent character, his views are traditional and narrow; he understands
the world in the Kin’s terms, and bids you engage in his tasks in the Kin’s ways.
Despite his attempt at command, he is an unfortunately powerless character; where he feels his role
should be one of respected strength within the Kin, he is in fact only to act as an overseer,
an underling to the Olgimsky family. The world he understands is slowly dying out, and he,
like the Aurochs before him, is soon to fade with it. He was, in fact, always your father’s
murderer – though this was a mercy-killing of a feverish, infected and unwell man – the
culling of a sick member to protect the herd as a whole.
The world around him is moving on, whilst his ways are stagnant and unfruitful; despite
believing in the Way of Strength, he is forced to kill Isador – a man he believes is wiser,
stronger, and more worthy of leadership. He is locked away from the Termitary, unable
to get back to his people. In his struggles to return, he is shot like a dog by Olgimsky’s
guards. He is unable to find the mythical Aurochs to save the town. His raw strength
means little in a world more composed of industry than magic.
On the discovery that he murdered your father, you may confront him about this; he does not
fight you, and is willing to succumb to your judgement – the last marks of honour in
his fading life. If you choose that he should die, he will be sacrificed within the abattoir,
and you will dig the grave for his corpse. If you allow him to live, he may be seen in
the Diurnal ending, also listening to Taya Tycheek’s sermon.
His final words; “I am a servant. Broken, by another’s will” The Stage
The Play itself is orchestrated by those backstage; on a meta level, the ‘true’ backstage,
in the real world, is the game’s developers – but, in true form to Pathologic these
boundaries are somewhat blurry; they have their own appearances within the game, and
their avatars became characters in their own right.
The Director of the whole play, Mark Immortell, is an enigmatic and aloof figure – eccentric
in appearance, and sadistic in his outlook, his entire goal is to deliver the most engaging
possible performance to his audience. He has no past, no future, and, if he should appear
within the game, there is the distinct impression that it is part of an Intended Scene that
he has arranged. There is some blurring of lines, as you, the player, are both Actor
and Audience at once; the main times he will interact with you are if you should fail,
die, and end up in his backstage arena. His ongoing discussions with you through these
repeated encounters with death are of an interesting nature; on one level, he will criticise you
for your failure to adequately play the role of Artemiy Burakh correctly, yet on another
will praise you for your individuality and ability to make your own decisions. On one
hand, he will berate you for succumbing to death, and yet on the other will only discuss
the meaning of death with you should you die enough times.
His outlook is eventually laid bare; his Theatre of Cruelty is, in a Brechtian sense, a critique
of video games, of conventional storytelling, and even of most Western philosophy. It is
difficult to fully say what his entire thesis is, as there are still two more campaigns
to be released – but it is apparent that it is, in his view, only through facing suffering,
death, and inevitability that we can truly learn from it. In the Haruspex’s case, the
eventual lesson is deceptively simple; Death can be avoided through something greater than
the sum of one’s body; that it may be, in some senses, defeated through a community,
through forging a future that extends beyond your own, and through your own sense of self
becoming tied to more than just your single, frail, physical body. This lesson, however,
is likely not to be the only one drawn; the Bachelor and the Changeling are likely to
draw markedly different conclusions. Mark Immortell, for his part, is merely there to
foster the analysis and the criticism – to guide you to your own conclusions, not to
dictate answers. Though he is a voice of the developers, he
is nevertheless distinct from them – both an in-universe character, and a real-world
reference point to hang the story upon. The Fellow Traveller is another figure that
blurs the boundaries between the stage, the backstage, and the role of the audience and
player. In the opening tutorial, laced with metaphor, you find yourself in a traincar
– a cramped wooden box. Within your traincar, the Fellow Traveller is first met as he steps
out of a coffin – another cramped wooden box. In the vein of much Russian folklore,
he is travelling alongside you – perhaps to the same destination, and has his own agenda,
too, and appears enigmatic, inscrutable, and very likely someone not to be trusted.
Though it is never explicitly stated, the Fellow Traveller appears to be Death itself
– on a meta level, Death comes to the town alongside you, the player; the game would
not occur, the stage would not be set, and its characters wouldn’t be subjected to
the plague unless you, the player, chose to play.
The Traveller tells you that he is also coming to the town, to take something of a Harvest,
of sorts – a harvest of lives, innocent or not. He, however, appears to be not only
the Death of the townsfolk, but the Death of the Play itself. His role is to disrupt
the play – where Mark Immortell’s actions are to push the game into further levels of
suffering, the Fellow Traveller appears, and will trade you extremely valuable items in
return for junk, disrupting the intended tragedy. Where the game will prevent you from buying
food after the Inquisitor’s arrival, and shops will only trade in food coupons, the
Fellow Traveller will sell you these coupons at a vastly reduced rate.
Perhaps, most tellingly, where Mark Immortell will punish you for dying, and apply more
and more penalties to your character, the Traveller will offer to remove all those penalties.
For a price. With all the suffering removed, all the intended
purpose of the Theatre of Cruelty, the purpose of Mark’s play becomes obsolete – the
Fellow Traveller has killed it. On completion of the game under these terms, the final day,
the ending of the game is removed. Death, in the end, won – and in the place of a
narrative conclusion comes an abrupt cutoff, heralded by Mark Immortell and the other actors
upon the stage informing you of your failure. In this, the Fellow Traveller provides the
counter-thesis to Mark Immortell’s treatise on Death – he clarifies what Death is. Death
is not merely the ending of a life, or the absence of it – but the removal of meaning
itself. Even in the suffering portrayed by Mark Immortell, all of it had meaning – tragedy,
emotion, passion, despair, fate – all of it. In the world the Fellow Traveller wreaks,
this meaning is snuffed out, and all that is left is a hollow Nihilism.
The short version; don’t take the deal. It won’t help you. The Stagehands, too, form an equally important
part of the running of the play – appearing as morph-suit clad Tragedeans, or tall, imposing,
bird-beaked Executors. They form another blurred part of the stage’s boundaries – on one
hand, within the stage play, orderlies dress themselves up with protective cloaks borrowed
from the town’s local theatre – bird-beaks and masks included. These protective cloaks
serve to keep the orderlies moderately shielded from the plague, yet also appear as literal
omens of death – carrion-fowl arriving to prey on the deceased. On another level, such
stage-cloaks are worn by the fourth-wall-breaking stagehands, who inform the player of what
they are to do, and then return to playing their assigned characters.
To quote the game’s design documents; “There are the events taking place in the
town, which are real. And there is their stage adaptation, which is also real. There are
the actors who play the protagonists and reenact the events of their lives (since upon loading,
you’re reliving that short—or not so short—stretch of their deathbound journey. The actor walks
out into the town, looking for inspiration, “walking the hero’s paths”.
And there’s a fluid ambiguity in not having a clear way of telling who you are right now:
the real Haruspex or Bachelor, living his life, about to die—or an actor playing his
part and thus getting a chance to go back to the past?” The final character from the Backstage to
appear is the Rat Prophet; an unusual figure, he also blurs the bounds between the fiction
of the game and the meta-fiction of the stage. He appears to be, in some ways, demonic – yet
he is not a Creature of the Steppe, as many of the magical beings in the game are – but
more a Creature of the Stage that accidentally is let loose. On one level, his influence
is terrifying – he is seen Eating the Dead with Grace, and seen poisoning the mind of
Caterina Saburova – however, on another, he is often jovial, regularly breaking character,
revealing himself to merely be a small actor, merely wearing a mask.
He is, himself, a contradiction – and therein lies his power. 3: Themes
Humanity against Nature In many recent works of fantasy fiction, Nature
is presented as a passive force – a balance to be protected, oft composed of beautiful
waterfalls and streams, or woodland glades. Pathologic 2 instead presents the forces of
Nature as far more awesome and terrible – things older than Humanity, and far stronger, far
more dangerous. Death itself, and its manifestation in the Plague, is presented as an immutable
force of this nature – a thing so powerful and beyond human understanding that it feels
like a horrific eldritch deity. The setting of Pathologic 2 during Russia’s
industrialisation therefore comes as no surprise; the beginning of the 20th century heralded
a change in the way much of humanity lived. Where once individual people lived or died
at the whims of a cold, callous world, new technology granted previously unknown degrees
of freedom. People were living longer, travelling further, and becoming more interconnected
with one another. Slowly, the forces of nature weren’t something to be hidden from, but
things to be harnessed, utilised, or contained. The magic of the unknown slowly gave way to
reason and science. Humanity, no longer so bound by previous limitations,
achieved many seemingly-impossible things; flight, quick worldwide travel, birth control,
vastly extended life expectancies, minute calculations of the laws of physics – a myriad
of human endeavour springing up in a short space of time. In contrast to the confusing
and chaotic natural world, humanity imposed order and regularity.
This contrast is reflected in Pathologic – most clearly in its factions, their divisions,
the superstructures that represent them, and even in the two major endings. On the one
hand, the Kains, the Stamatins and the other Utopians subscribe to an ideal of reason,
to the triumph of humanity over all else – a triumph represented in their immortal, pure
Polyhedron, untainted by the plague. On the other stands the Kindred, their ancient abattoir,
soiled in blood and earth and clay, standing itself as another part of nature rather than
in opposition to it. The Kin also view themselves on similar terms; the world is a bull, and
humanity are merely creatures walking on the fur of its back. Oyun goes as far as to suggest
that his Kin are also animals – a herd of people, to be corralled much like a herd of
cattle. Though this may sound unnerving to a modern ear – the idea of treating people
like animals – in this instance it is not a derogatory statement, but merely an expression
of a different worldview; one in which humanity is a part of nature, not distinct from it.
By extension, the Town may be seen as either as an example of humanity’s progress, or
humanity’s hubris – it is either an achievement of industry, bringing progress and light to
a feudal peasant or nomadic backwater – or it is a cancer, burrowing into the back of
the Earth. The Abattoir may be seen as a home of bloodshed
and barbarism, or it may be seen as a part of the natural cycle – blood sacrificed
to feed the blood of the Earth itself, the product of a native culture, and a means of
balancing an ecosystem of the nomadic peoples. The conversion of such a sacred site into
an enormous meat processing factory can be seen as barbaric in itself – or it may be
seen as a means to bring industry, progress and education to a backwater community that
otherwise would still believe in magic, and brutish displays of strength as the path to
leadership and dominance. The Polyhedron may be seen as humanity’s
crowning achievement – a pinnacle of architectural design that can, in itself, grant immortality
and reflect a human soul – or it may be seen as an aberration, a cursed structure that
has brought disbalance and deceit, piercing the earth’s heart for nothing.
The Plague, too, may be seen in these terms – especially within the endings of the game.
The Diurnal ending shows humanity’s survival – the survival of the town and its progress
towards a new generation. However, this is achieved at the cost of miracles – at the
cost of the wonders of the old Natural world, and at the cost of much of the Kin. Humanity
withstood the test and bested Death, bested Nature’s Plague, and in so doing, nature’s
Heart stopped beating. The Nocturnal end spells the end of the town, of its most Human elements,
and returns it to a state of Nature – the state the world existed in before the existence
of industry. This state includes magic, miracles, enormous Aurochs the size of the sky – but
at the cost of its people. Those that remain, the Kin, are themselves conforming back to
Nature’s whims – returning to a culture older, bloodier, and more terrifying than
the civilisation brought by Industrial Humanity. Both of these endings are bittersweet, and
both require sacrifice – either the future is sacrificed to preserve the past, or the
past is lost, to make way for the future. Tradition against Progress
An interrelated, though subtler conflict, is that of Tradition against Progress. Although
often those closer to Nature, such as the Kin, are more inclined to stick to tradition,
and the Utopians vie for Progress, this is a conflict that is experienced more on an
interpersonal and internal level than a societal one.
The Kin, as a whole, are undergoing a societal and cultural shift; their original culture
of nomadic steppe-herding is no longer viable, and in its place they have taken on work in
the industrialised abattoir – uprooting their heritage in the process. There are some,
like Aspity, who cling to the old ways, refusing to change as the world changes around them,
rejecting the new world in its entirety – there are others, like Oyun, who attempt to engage
in the new world whilst applying the values of the old, and remain lost and confused.
The fact that the future of the Kin rests with a small, five year old girl is significant
– Taya represents their only salvation, a move away from their stagnation whilst also
not representing an outside, unwanted influence on their culture.
The Kin, divided amongst a confused series of loyalties, quickly become fractured, and
draw you into their internal violence – however, you, too are affected by this ideological
conflict. The ideals of the Menkhu, the sacred surgeons,
are also changing; the traditional roots of your father, Isador, are of dubious value
in the modern world. In an effort to adapt and change, you, Artemiy, were sent to modern
medical school in the capital, prior to the start of the game – and yet, this change
is seen as an alienation from your culture. You have one foot in both worlds – looking
both towards the future, the prosperity of the town and of its people – and one in
the past, of the Kin, of shamanistic practices, of blood sacrifices, magic and miracles. Many
of your acts within the game are in efforts to balance these – of appealing to the Kin
and their culture, whilst also trying to protect them with modern means. Your understanding
of the plague and its cure all come from the old world; of herbs, and blood, and panaceas
composed of mythic chimeras of Man and Bull, of knowing the sacred lines. However, those
your father has asked you to protect – the children – are the representatives of the
future, of the change to the new world. The final choice in the game is essentially
this dichotomy; as Isador presents to you, you can look towards the future, and look
towards the past, but you may never have both. The Diurnal Ending, composed of a new dawn
and a bittersweet last look at the town, is the story of survival, grief, and rebuilding.
The Nocturnal Ending, composed of twilight, darkness and magic, is a story where a future
is torn from the town, replaced by its old, lost world. Childhood against Growing Up
The children of the town also present a similar conflict of past and future; that of wishing
to remain in childhood, or allowing oneself to grow up.
Childhood in Pathologic 2 represents many complex things, though innocence certainly
isn’t one of them – the children of this game are, much like Nature, presented as complex,
violent, and oftentimes cruel. The very first interactions you have with the childhood gangs
of the game involve the act of traipsing into the Steppe to sentence an adolescent to death
– a teenager who, himself, was violent, and slaughtered innocent animals as a means
of a gang-warfare power-play. Notkin’s gang is also perceptive, too; Notkin himself is
one of the first people to see past the rumours of your patricide, and seems to instinctively
know your innocence of that particular crime – whilst also holding no illusions about
the other blood on your hands. However, despite this, there is still a certain
sense of naivety and wonder – half the children of the town are infatuated with the enormous
Polyhedron superstructure – a tower composed of dreams and miracles, of wishing to stay
within childhood forever. Khan, himself, is an interesting figure in this regard – an
arrogant king of the children, yet also somehow halfway a Peter Pan figure – commanding
and imperious like his sister, yet also still a child, still with simplistic and naïve
hopes of a childhood takeover of the town. Both gangs of children, Notkin’s and Khan’s,
participate in a game of finding secret caches, which you can participate in. The laws of
this game are both very innocent and very serious, all at once, in the way of all children’s
games – their rules are clear that you must leave something of equal value to what is
taken, which they implore you to listen to. The other games you run into are all equally
filled with naivety and earnestness – the children even bid you to quote unquote “summon
a train”, which, if you try to do, may surprise you with the results.
The other games the children play are not merely frivolity; they mimic the behaviours
of the adults around them. On more than one occasion, the actions that adults have taken
– such as the harassing of steppe girls, or the burning of suspected Witches at the
stake – are then play-acted by children the following day. These become increasingly
morbid – play-acting at murder and violence, or even harassing other children for the actions
of their mothers and fathers. Though it is debatable whether any of the
children are truly innocent, they are certainly the products of their parents. The town’s
future rests on their shoulders – and though there may be some changes, many cycles of
ignorance, violence and confusion merely seem to replay themselves, over and over.
This is not only shown with the children in-game, but with the young adults, too; nearly every
character is prone to making their parents’ mistakes. Younger Vlad, in his efforts to
bring progress to the butcher business, ends up locking up and inadvertently killing nearly
all the Kin – continuing Big Vlad’s callousness. Capella, in her efforts to be the maternal
influence on the town’s lost children, begins to literally become and channel the soul of
her own mother – as does Maria Kaina. Khan, retreating into the Polyhedron and establishing
a Utopian Kingdom, is acting out the fantasies of his father and grandfather, and every other
Kain before him. Even your childhood friends are not immune; Griff is mimicking the role
of a crook, playing it out like a childhood game. Lara, in her increasing desperation,
takes to the attempted murder of the military general – an act that would entrench her
in the same position as her father, if it weren’t for your intervention. Stakh Rubin,
and, of course, your player character, Artemiy Burakh, are both acting out the same role,
and making the same mistakes as your father figure, Isadore – on one hand, accepting
responsibility for the town and its survival, and on the other continuing the legacy of
the Kin and the Menkhu. The struggle between childhood and adulthood
is not a simplistic one of past and future; it is one where adulthood often represents
the same mistakes of the past, yet to remain in childhood represents stasis. To grow up
is to try to forge your own path to a new future, yet also to act in the way the adults
before you have done, and make their mistakes, too.
What can a future mean, when it is rewritten, over and over, with the same mistakes of the
past? I would argue, though, that the game still
presents a hopeful view of the future – at least in its Diurnal Ending; although these
children are re-treading the ground their parents walked, their cycle, their view of
where their town should go, is eminently more positive than their plague-ridden past. With
the catastrophe has come awareness, in many ways greater than that of the adults they
interact with – and with that awareness, more compassion. Agency against Fate; The Absurd
The debate of free will and agency against the concept of destiny and predetermination
is an ancient philosophical question. It is played out, in full, in the events of the
game, and reflected in the narrative and ludonarrative, engineered into the mechanics of how the game
works. The emotional impact of the games systems
contribute to an increasing sense of hopelessness, fear, and inevitability; survival becomes
increasingly desperate as the game’s days progress onward, and you find yourself starving,
infected, and barely able to save anyone else, let alone yourself. The difficulty is not
within the technical skill of performing tasks, but in the management of the daily grind,
and in sustaining the will to keep going – the game is designed as a marathon, not a sprint
– and yet, in that marathon it is often difficult to see the light at the end of it
all. Failure is not only expected, but intentional. The player is intended to feel like there
is no means to fight their destiny; even the cover art specifically advertises that you
cannot save everyone. The game itself is set out to make sure you
know that the ending is, in some manners, already written; you begin in a nightmarish
version of the game’s ending, where the plague has won, and the world is collapsing.
You already know how the story is going to go – you know it’s going to be a tragedy,
and you know you can’t avert fate. You are even told this by multiple members of the
backstage crew, including the Fellow Traveller, and Mark Immortell – and, with each failure,
each death, the game’s difficulty increases; the likelihood of this Bad Ending is increased
at every turn. Yet, as a player, you’ll still naturally
try, regardless. The act of continuing to play the game is an act of rebellion against
this inevitability. You are not the only character in the game
to wage this fight against Fate Itself; Aglaya, the Inquisitor, also plays against her fate.
She knows, from the start of her role, that her fate is to die – and yet, despite this,
continues to try to escape. She does not submit to inevitability, despite seeing the strings
that bind her, and despite understanding that she is merely a puppet in a theatre. Instead,
she convinces other characters of the strings that bind them, notably Griff, and tries to
manipulate them. When performed on you, the player as Artemiy, however, this does not
immediately work – Artemiy, too bull-headed to care that he is being manipulated, represents
a freedom from these ties of fate; if he is being manipulated by the play’s directors
into doing what he always wanted to do anyway, it is not real manipulation.
Aglaya, however, is still not immune to her fate; regardless of whether she convinces
you to escape with her or not, she will still be executed. Much as Oedipus could not escape
his destiny, Aglaya’s role is like that of a tragic Greek hero – the more she attempted
to escape her death, the closer she stepped towards it.
The sense of inevitability – the sense of unavoidable pain, and loss, and suffering,
compounded with a raw sense of chaos, and utterly uncaring gods in the form of The Plague
and the Stage Crew, leaves a sense of meaninglessness. In a world where there is only death and suffering,
the struggle to find meaning starts to become lost; how can one find meaning as a citizen,
in a state tearing itself apart? How can one find meaning as a parent, when ones’ child
has abandoned them for Utopian Polyhedron Dreams – or has died? How can one believe
in a sense of justice when good people are becoming infected and perishing in the streets
– and you’re finding yourself becoming a looter and criminal, just like all the rest?
This sense of meaninglessness and despair in the face of inevitable suffering is The
Absurd – and Pathologic 2 depicts a perfect emotional portrayal of it.
The Absurd, as a philosophy, came into its own at the turn of the 20th century – around
the time of the First World War. The industrial revolution was displacing traditional work
and values, the horrors and completely meaningless suffering of the war caused most assumptions
about values in Europe and elsewhere to be heavily questioned, and the quote-unquote
“Death of God” brought with it both terrifying insecurity and new freedom.
These are all themes represented in Pathologic 2; the setting, approximately at the turn
of the century, is significant; one culture is giving way to another, rural life is becoming
defunct, and native peoples and cultures are becoming swallowed by a newer, industrialised
life. The machinery of heavy industry means that people are only so much cheap meat – the
disposability of many of the factory workers and other poorer peoples of the town serve
to reinforce this, as does the vast wealth inequality between them and the bourgeois
Vlad Olgimsky. A needless, enormous slaughter, en-masse occurs – and the townspeople all
display different responses to find meaning in such a cacophony of slaughter – some
looking for someone to blame, others looking to establish justice, many merely becoming
atomised as the greater society they’re in falters and breaks down. The game’s Death
of God is displayed in more than one way – though, in its most literal, the Earth itself, the
great god upon which the world sits, has had its heart pierced and is slowly dying – in
its place, a fabricated paper deity of mirrors and dreams, in the Polyhedron.
At heart, much of the game is about facing existential dread – death itself, and the
absurd – and coming to ones’ conclusions about how to wrestle with it. Reality and The Stage
Within any game there is often a sense of a narrative – the same as in any plotline
in a movie or a book – which you, as a character in it, are supposed to follow. Though any
game does offer some player agency in how the script is followed, ultimately, there
remains the question of how much agency one can truly have when merely filling a role
– thus dividing Player from Character. The game outright lampshades this issue by
showing that you are, quite literally, following the script of a play; the game itself is framed
as a play, performed by actors upon a stage. The unique thing about this play, however,
is that its main player – you – are also its main audience.
The effect of this is to imply that you are not exactly Artemiy Burakh – that you are
merely an actor, playing his role. Death is presented as a failure to adequately play
the role – and that you should return to the stage to re-play that part correctly.
This directly addresses one of the main issues dividing players from their character avatars;
the player knows that they are not the same person as the character, and that whatever
the character suffers isn’t necessarily what they, as people will suffer. However,
in acknowledging the difference, and in allowing the player to see the backstage, the game
blurs the distinction between player, player character, and the worlds they operate in.
There is more inherent emotional investment as you, The Player, are just as much a character
as Artemiy Burakh is. Once this is established, the game is able
to hit home with further themes that strengthen its emotional impact; though you are stepping
into Artemiy’s shoes, the game is presented from the outset as a “re-do”; you are
merely another actor, playing the same role. You are not special. You, despite your efforts,
are not heroic. You are no more inherently meaningful than anyone else. The meaning you
come to in the face of the absurd – in the face of death and senseless suffering – is
your own. Though, perhaps, the Stage Play narrative’s
greatest strength lies in its Brechtian aspects. Brecht, a playwright who lived through the
upheaval of the 20th century, including both World Wars, wrote a method of theatre that
questioned established norms, highlighting internal contradictions within society. Whilst
many aspects of Pathologic 2 could be analysed with a Brechtian lens, the one that most stands
out is Verfremdung – or, the process of making the familiar seem strange.
This process is carried out effectively within the ludonarrative; the design of the town
streets seems akin to any other town – until the odd back-alleys and stairways that lead
to nowhere start to build a sense of the alien. The people themselves seem like any other
NPC townsfolk – until their strange customs and outward hostility make the player feel
isolated and alone. Even the mechanical acts within the game – like the autopsy of a
body – are rendered strange, even as the player has become used to them; after a certain
number of player deaths, organs are replaced with cotton wool – and, within the abattoir,
replaced with spindles and junk. The counterbalance to such hostility are other methods employed
by Brecht – the direct address of the audience by the Tragedeans, acting as characters’
consciences, is a stylistic choice that allows a character to be hostile to Artemiy, yet
still sympathetic to the player. This serves a dual function; it both emphasizes Artemiy’s
return to a culture that he no longer fully identifies with, immersing the player deeper
into his emotional state – and it serves to make the game’s world feel hostile and
enigmatic to the player themselves. Further elements of this process – of engendering
strangeness in previously familiar scenes – are found in the backstage; where, should
you fail the game entirely, you will find the Bachelor and the Changeling – no longer
as their aloof and enigmatic characters respectively, but as actors, nervously rehearsing their
lines on the stage, alongside the ghosts of those who died – those, under your care,
whom you failed to save. The purpose in all of this is to present an
emotionally harrowing experience; it is not only jarring to see the backstage so abruptly,
but also harrowing to see what could have been, to have all your failures laid bare
– and their cost, the cost not only of lives, but of futures, presented so directly.
You are at once in Artemiy’s shoes, feeling a sense of discomfort alongside him, and also
being spoken to separately, as a player, and as the audience; you have failed. It is now
time to try again. Selfishness vs Selflessness
The final theme to be addressed is selfishness against selflessness. This is an ongoing tension
within the game, and is found on every level of its design; the narrative of being a doctor
presumes a sense of altruism and ethics, yet the survival horror setting presumes selfish
self-defence. The rewards of altruistic actions may serve to further the plot, yet may also
place the player at a precarious step closer to failure and death, prompting them to hoard
their resources. Hitherto unethical acts – like looting houses, or roaming the streets at
night as an armed thug – are often justified by violent characters as a means to care for
dependents, as their society and its normal protections start to crumble. Conversely,
seemingly noble acts, like the rescue of a baby, are rendered cynical and cheap, when
they are merely false appearances of altruism for personal profit.
There are certain all-pervasive themes within the games of Eastern Europe, especially when
compared to similar Western titles; in many Western games, it’s very easy to be the
Big Hero – the narrative and game design are crafted for you to have the biggest guns,
run the fastest, achieve the most cool-looking feats, swing the shiniest sword. Heroism does
not often get this portrayal in Eastern European games; titles such as STALKER are famous for
their desperation and poverty – scrabbling together what little resources you can to
make it as far as you dare. Whilst this is a sweeping generalisation,
this still applies to Pathologic; in many Western games, being a Good, Altruistic Person
is easy – any player sacrifices are minimal, and any gain from selfishness is often unnecessary.
Altruism is, ironically, often rewarded. Playing the figure of the hero, you are responded
to as a hero – you are praised and rewarded, given gratitude and gifts for your actions.
Selflessness is easy when there is no risk to the self. Heroism is easy when you have
the means to be heroic. The reverse is also true; heroism is truly difficult, and often
hardly seems worth it, when you lack material means to be a hero. Is selfless heroism even
possible when mired in an environment of poverty and hand-to-mouth survival? Yet, if you aren’t
the selfless hero, what are you? What can your role, as a doctor in an outbreak, truly
be, if not altruistic and boundlessly compassionate? Who are you, if you aren’t attempting to
do good and save lives? Narratively, the game pushes you to make multiple
difficult decisions; even when you finally have resources, how do you spend them? Do
you choose to heal yourself, potentially increasing your capacity to save more lives, or do you
use what precious cures you have on the kids you’re supposed to protect? Do you burn
out your other resources saving the townsfolk you don’t even like? Do you steal food from
a family’s home to survive another day – likely damning someone else to starve in the process?
Or accept and use the food that the orphan kids give you – likely letting them starve,
too? Will you submit to the plague, massively crippling yourself, to keep it from claiming
Murky’s life? I should be clear, though; the game is not
presenting selfishness as morally evil – but often a basic necessity. Without looking out
for yourself, you will die. The oft-used metaphor of securing your own oxygen mask before helping
another is present – yet, in this world, if it were only possible to help others after
achieving safety and security in yourself, you would never help anyone, and all would
die to the plague. 4: Mechanics and Ludonarrative
Every mechanic within the game is designed to make the player feel fragile, and I will
discuss them in brief in the following section; how they contribute to the overall sense of
desperation – and, by extension, how these push the player into facing the tension between
selfishness and altruism. Survival and Starvation
There are six major survival counters to manage within the game; health – which is self-explanatory,
and serves as hit-points; hunger – a meter that is constantly trickling downward, and
if left unaddressed will cause you to starve to death; thirst, which determines your max
sprint-meter, and thus also how effective you may be in a fight; exhaustion, which also
trickles downward, and will cause you to collapse if you ignore your need for sleep; immunity,
which provides you some resilience to the plague, though will start to burn low in infected
areas; and, finally, infection – a tracker that only starts to appear once you have been
infected with the plague. Aside from your own survival statistics, you also have your
reputation to consider – if your reputation is high, people will allow you into their
homes – if your reputation is low, you will be chased away, shops will refuse to trade
with you, and people will assault you in the street.
Each of these counters has a complex relationship with the others; your ability to keep going
in the game is often limited by the necessity of eating – your precious little cash is
often spent on trying to find food. If you can’t find enough in time, you may find
yourself sacrificing your sleep – which, also, will eat away at your health if left
unchecked. If you choose to sleep and manage your exhaustion instead, your hunger will
still increase, and potentially kill you. You could take a gamble and satiate your hunger
by eating higher-risk foods looted from infected houses, but this may well destroy your immunity,
or even cause infection, by doing so. You could fight other crooks and criminals and
steal what foods they have, or loot burnt-out houses – but the likelihood of being severely
injured or dying to knife-wounds in the process is high – and, even if you get away without
being stabbed in return, fighting and sprinting will drain your thirst, limiting your ability
to run away from other fights. Should you decide instead to steal food from an uninfected
house, and uninfected family, instead, the fall in your reputation may make the town
impossible to traverse – where townsfolk, and later even soldiers, will attack or shoot
you on sight. Thus, the simple act of finding enough to
eat in a day becomes steadily harder; like a house of cards, any single measure of your
survival, if disrupted or left unchecked, can cause all the others to fall apart. Like
most millennials know; self-care can be incredibly difficult, and once the first few pieces fall
apart, the rest often follows. This can often lead to a death spiral – where a player
has backed themselves into a corner, and find themselves starving, destitute, exhausted,
and alone. The steep difficulty of this survival matches
the narrative themes of the game; life is often cheap and survival is not guaranteed
– even for the major characters. You are fragile, and your ability to keep yourself
alive hangs by a thin thread – one in which you need to take every resource and advantage
you can get, even if it means sacrificing your altruism or other morality to do so.
Even if you do take advantage of everything you can, death and failure are still practically
an inevitability; your destiny is to die, and die again. The Faltering Economy
With such an emphasis on raw survival, the town’s material conditions and economy (MARX
MARX MARX) also become a central focus of the game. The most obvious example can, again,
be found in dealing with hunger and food. Between the first and second days of the game,
prices for essential resources, including food and basic medicine, skyrockets. As the
town is isolated from the outside world and external trade halts, it becomes apparent
that whatever the town still has is all it has. The townsfolk panic-buy what little consumable
resources there are, and money stops having meaning; when the price of bread is thirty
coins on one day, and nearly ten times that on another, cash only has as much value as
people’s faith in it. This steadily goes further and further out of control, and eventually,
by the mid-point of the game, cash is dispensed with altogether for buying food, and replaced
only with Food Coupons. Of course, the daily reward in coupons, given
by the shambles of governmental authority, is not actually sufficient to trade for enough
food to survive. The various authorities are shown to attempt to divide what little remaining
resources there are equitably, but as scarcity increases it becomes apparent that they are
unable to provision even basic necessity. You find yourself selling whatever you have
on you, just in order to feed yourself. Once more, as noted in the reviews for the
original 2005 Pathologic, you may often find yourself in a position where you’re trading
away your only gun, just for a loaf of bread. As quote-unquote “legitimate” means of
survival are slowly taken from you, you may find yourself treading steadily less and less
ethical grounds; you can trade away the antibiotics and tinctures that you should be using to
save people. You can go into infected districts, and trade basic medicine to sick townsfolk,
at extortionate prices. Worse still, you may find yourself prowling
the streets, breaking into houses just to find something enough to eat for another day,
or mugging people for what little resources they have. With just the slightest push, you
can find yourself acting just as violently as the night-time thugs, or the soot-covered
looters. This, also, links both back to the game’s
themes of selfishness and altruism, and to the sense of the absurd; in the face of such
abject suffering, where basic survival requires compromising your morality, what can you hang
your identity on? If one’s own morality and external material conditions are so intimately
linked, can you truly claim to be a good person? Who are you, if you are merely acting a role
– a role entirely subject to external circumstances? (on-screen text; “this is the basis of a
Brechtian analysis”) Fragility and Fighting
Combat within Pathologic 2 is, as Hobbes put it; nasty, brutish and short. You are a doctor,
not a soldier, and fist-fighting thirty men singlehandedly is not within your capabilities.
You are fragile. Often, you are exhausted or starving – you are not the superman-style
hero of most video games. Combat is unforgiving – though, not in the Dark-Souls-style sense
of difficulty-and-then-triumph sense – but in that it is unfair, dishonourable, and extremely
real. Street fighting is, as in real life, dangerous,
ignoble and unnecessary. As soon as a weapon is brought out, the fight is already over.
Every person is fragile – and even a dulled knife will take a grown man down in seconds,
yourself included. Fighting is, more often than not, about hiding in the shadows and
getting the drop on your opponent, or running away from a fight altogether – or, if you’re
displaying some bravado, bringing your gun. Every scuffle is therefore laced with desperation;
only a few hits will disorient and damage you, any wounds from a knife are highly likely
to be fatal, and even if you don’t immediately die, the damage to your health only makes
you more vulnerable to the hunger, the exhaustion, and the plague. Oftentimes a “successful”
fight, where you best or kill your opponent and make off with the loot, is still a loss;
the damage to your health, even if you survive, is the recipe for your later demise when the
other survival meters catch up with you. If you do decide to fight, the act of doing
so is still costly; every slash of a knife degrades its quality, and eventually they
become blunt and broken, forcing you to spend your resources acquiring a new one, or to
spend other resources re-sharpening the one you already own. Guns, too, suffer degradation
with each shot fired; and, beyond this, each bullet you waste is worth a small fortune
– which you may have instead spent on medicines or food. Fighting is expensive; protecting
yourself is often better served with your feet than with your fists.
The nature of this harsh combat explores, further, themes of selfishness; is it cowardice
not to intervene when the townspeople are lynching one another? Is it possible to be
brave, when the only reward for such bravery is either immediate death, or significant
injury? It forces, further, the themes of the absurd; there is no meaning in a fight
without honour – it is merely desperation over dwindling resources. To hang one’s
sense of self and morality over such a petty act seems childish, at best.
In a game that features such consistent depictions of suffering, violence is handled as another
tragedy, not glory. Infection; Inevitability; Infirmary
This difficulty in simple daily survival is increased by several orders of magnitude if
you become infected; the plague will increase the rate at which your exhaustion and hunger
run out, enhancing the sense of desperation. When infected, your health drains at a constant
rate, placing you at constant risk of death; this rate at which you die increases, as the
level of infection increases. In turn, the rate at which infection increases
is determined by immunity – a temporary buffer against clouds of infection and touching
dirty objects or infected people – but it is an easily-consumed buffer. Often, the mere
act of walking through an infected district of town will entirely eat away all your immunity,
rendering you extremely vulnerable to the plague. The plague, in turn, renders you extremely
vulnerable to all manners of death; starvation, exhaustion, or fighting in the street become
much, much more dangerous. And, once infected, there is nearly no cure – certainly not one
that can be found easily, and certainly not without significant cost.
Catching this deadly disease has its other, non-physical costs, too; if you are identified
as a carrier, arsonists will throw Molotov Cocktails at you in the streets. People will
treat you as a pariah, shunning you away, refusing to trade with you, or, as the army
arrives, may attack you, or target you in the sights of their flamethrowers.
The death spiral caused by the infection is extremely difficult to manage; even if you
have a good sense of using resources and time efficiently, the antibiotics required merely
to keep the pestilence at bay – not even to cure it – are expensive, and also damage
your health; the painkillers and other medicinesused to increase your health will cause exhaustion,
and to manage the exhaustion requires sleep – which, in turn, allows more time to pass,
and allows the infection to return. It becomes extremely easy to become overwhelmed, and
soon you find yourself barely able to complete any of your objectives or quests – the simple
act of Trying To See Tomorrow consumes all your resources and leaves you destitute.
There is a sense of degradation in all of this; that this infection renders you less
than the person you were before. This is reflected in the art design; those who are infected
become shambling, bandaged creatures, faces covered as their identity is taken from them.
Those who are adjacent to the infection, like the looters and the vandals, attempt to eke
out a barely-sufficient survival – all these people, people who may once have been moral,
or trying to do right by their loved ones, are reduced to mere roaming beasts – tearing
at each other like some Dante-esque image of Hell (genuinely perfect metaphor, thank
you for this
What is up my cranky crew? It’s Ethan from Crankgameplays and today I thought that I would do a little video about googling myself, because I’ve never done that for a video before And the last time I googled myself was a while ago So I thought maybe I do do that today and see what pops up when I google myself. So, I don’t know. I guess I’ll Should I google my actual name or should I google? I’ll just do Crankgameplays. See, see what happens because it’s just gonna come up with like- it’s gonna come up with like normal- normal things like my channel and stuff or like- Shit like that, so let’s- let’s just do Ethan Nestor. Let’s see what- let’s see what we got. The first thing is from Wikipedia, so let’s see, let’s see how many facts they get right here. Let’s see. “Ethan Mark Nestor-Darling is an online producer and Markiplier’s current video editor alongside Katherine.” Kathryn is spelled incorrectly here. “He first appeared in Disco Discomfort. Ethan has dyed his hair blue on October 16, 2015.” I’m not sure if that’s correct. “And was a member of the You’re Welcome tour which was on Wednesday, June 7th-” blahblahblah. “Ethan runs his own channel called Crankgameplays. His current channel has been around since December 1st And he had a previous channel that started August 29, 2012.” Spot-on for getting that correct. Oh boy Oh boy, and a little- a little thing of trivia, because I go by Ethan Nestor But when I was- when I was born they messed up my birth certificate. I’m not gonna get into it, but I go- I go by Ethan Nestor. There was a birth- anyway. I don’t know how they found out that information. Anywho. *laughs* My last name is Nestor. Anyway, uh Well, they got my birthday right. They got- My- They got my middle name right. My middle name is Mark. That is a picture of me. Is there anything else here? Nah. All right. Well the first thing I guess- okay. Uh, what is this? Archive of our own? Whoa, what is this? “Works in Ethan Nestor” Okay? Oh, is this- is this like fanfics or something? “You find fate to be unacceptable.” *whispers* What is this? I don’t know what this is. I don’t know what this is. I think this is a big fanfic thing. No fucking idea. I have no idea, so I’m just gonna back out of that one real quick. There’s a lot of- there’s a lot of- there’s a lot of fan- Fanfic things. What are some- some pictures that come up of me? Ooo a good old shirtless pic with “Around the Corner” isn’t that nice. Ooo a good picture from my Snapchat of me with milk in my mouth. Oh yeah, so this has been coming up a lot recently. So I’ll click on this actually so people- people keep putting it in the- in the comments of the videos and I keep- I keep deleting it because I don’t want links and stuff in the comments, but there is a video that my dad put up on Vimeo of me competing in gymnastics when I was I don’t know how old I was, but it was in 2010, so do the math there. But, uh, yeah, it was just like stuff from my gymnastics days That was when I won the regional championship back then So I was a level- I was a level eight back then when that happened, and I got up- I got up to level 10. Oh boy. Okay. Let’s see here We have the famous birthdays thing so I’m Crankgameplays the YouTube star. Oh. Let’s see what they got on here. “American YouTuber who first came to fame as the video editor for Mark Fischbach. In 2015 he created his own YouTube channel for gaming- the gaming channel Crankgameplays.” So I didn’t though. No- I didn’t first create my YouTube channel in 2015. I created it in 2012. I’ve been doing youtube for- for five years almost. Ooooo Oh boy! Okay, so this one- this one is a little more in-depth So, this is another Wikipedia article, so, “Ethan Mark Nestor, born 10/24/96,” That is my birthday. “Is a video game commentator, vlogger, and one of Markiplier’s current video editors. He is frequently featured on Mark’s channel along- Alongside Tyler Scheid, being their close friend and living near each other. Lately he has been playing- playing- Playing with mark’s friends, now his friends, Bob, Wade, and Jack and has always been collabing with his best friends OGchan and Girbeagly. He first started his channel on August 29, 2012,” Correct. “And started his current channel on December 1, 2015 and has amassed over 350,000 Subscribers.” Ooo, previous channels. “Original Crankgameplays, Cranky Vlogs.” Okay, let’s look through the history Let’s see how much of this they got correct and how much is Incorrect Ethan Mark Nestor named Mark after his dad was originally born in Cape Elizabeth, Maine he spent most of his time either recording videos with his friends taking improv or practicing gymnastics He started Youtube on August 29 with his friend Andrew Harrington his first video labeled Dirty Mike and the boys happy wheels gameplay Numero Uno Correct so far. It was uploaded on August 30th 2012 on his first channel the original CrankGameplays in the video Ethan and Andrew now Lanky Randman play a few levels of happy wheels he later started another channel called Cranky Vlogs in May 2013 And at the end of 2015 even decided to make a new channel CrankGameplays. The last video He uploaded on his original channel was dyeing my hair blue That’s not true the last video that. I had uploaded on that on my previous channel was hey guys I’m moving to a new channel so yeah. YOU’RE WRONG! In the video He dyes his hair blue because he promised you would if they hit the goal in a charity livestream He decided He dyed his hair blue in October 16th around the same time as mark and Jack Later on he tells us he decided to move to a new channel because he made a few gameplays with his grandmother and it gained A lot of subscribers because that they only wanted him to make gameplays with her that is true. So a lot of them are private now Uhhh but I did make a few videos with my grandmother on my old channel which got really popular The highest one was I had her play five nights at freddy’s and that had like 800,000 views or something and a lot of people subscribed for that and a lot of people really like that, but I’m I didn’t wanna like Exploit my grandmother for views all the time And so I only made a few videos with her and then everybody was like “make more videos with your grandmother!” And nobody was subscribed for me. So I was like “okay!” and then I’m gonna restart I’m there jump ships go to a new channel woo he also moved because all the subscriber and activity was Actually affecting the way his channel was shown in search result. This is true He had about 25,000 subscribers on his old channel and only about 200 of them were active. That’s true I had like 25,000 subs and I would get like 1 to 300 views a video which viewed a sub ratio that is pretty poor and so it was affecting like the search results because YouTube doesn’t want to promote a channel that like is getting really shitty view to sub ratio so anyway geez This is so weird He graduated from CEHS Cape Elizabeth High School in 2015 after graduating even decided to move to Portland Maine and take a gap year To focus on YouTube he considered to go to going to Full Sail University in Florida and living with his uncle But never applied for college and ended up sticking to posting videos his biggest inspiration proposing videos was his dad Pewdiepie and the Game Grumps. How did they know that I was considering living with my uncle because I totally was THE FUCK?! How did these people know this? He watched a lot of markiplier videos in first hour mark in person at Pax East panel called Markiplier and friends in 2014 he talked to Bob and worked it out to do a backflip in front of the famous Markiplier he flipped for mark and a group of fans outside the Pax building he also Backfliped the next year at Pax 2015 and was remembered as “backflip dude” and then Mark and Ethan became friends in November of 2016 and in November of 2016 Mark asked Ethan if he wanted to move out to L.A. with him and edit his videos. Ethan gladly agreed and now lives alone and works for Mark He makes daily videos and occasionally at collabs with his close friends Mark, Sean, Bob, Wade, Gerald, Parker Parker, Andrew, Marcus, Matt Shea, Brian, before he moved to L.A. he became a frequent He became a frequent and marks videos and had about five thousand subs he’s becoming more well-known now and has over three hundred fifty thousand subscribers he also has a weekly podcast called the Trash Goblin Podcast with His old friend Andrew and named that Ethan and Andrew came up with together There’s a lot of information Some information. I don’t know how they got okay, whoa whoa whoa, okay? So cute nickname “blue boi, crankgumplz, Etan, CrankyTits, off-brand Jacksepticeye, Evan, Effin, ZestyNesty, KittenGamePlays” KittenGameplays? What? Has anyone ever called me that? “fetus-than, blue PewDiePie, smol blu bean, and carrot Gameplays Nathan of Esther Grank Came [laughs] the Blue Idiot, Egg boy, Crank, Frank tank plays”, oh, okay Alright. This is what I’m pumped for the random fun facts He has had many pets including three lizards Cody Carmen and Carmen again Very accurate! I don’t know how? he is – black and white portuguese water dogs Dexter and Max. Well Max is all black Dexter is black and white okay. Whenever he was younger, he had always wanted a dog and got max in third grade He got dexter later. He was actually allergic to dogs as a kid I grew out of it That’s incorrect! So, I did want dogs when I was younger, but my first dog was a doggy named Cooper She was so amazing! I loved Cooper and she unfortunately passed away in 2015 I think. But she was my first dog she was- I loved that dog so much! and so I got her in Second grade and then I got max in fourth grade and then dexter Dexter Dexter, we got two years ago. I think in 20- 2016 or late It was oh, it was late, no It was late 2015 because I remember Cooper passed away in March of 2015 and we got Dexter in November of 2015 Okay, that’s it And I was allergic to dogs the kid, but I did grow out of it But my dogs are also hyper allergenic too! “His favorite fruit is strawberries” true. “He has never had one of his videos demonetised or age-restricted” That is now False. [laughs] The first Markiplier video he was in was an improv bit from Disco discomfort but he wasn’t formally introduced until Mark’s Don’t Laugh challenge number four What oh that okay? Okay? I know what video that is, nevermind “He has a severe peanut allergy and Fun Fact: Ethan can die from 1/500 of a peanut.” That is true He has to be very cautious about what food he eats But his favorite foods are sush.. Sushi. Frozen waffles and pineapple and ham pizza. That is true. If he was a girl his parents would have named him Alyssa. Also true, you guys- Wow! This person did some fucking research if you made this Wikipedia page comment down below I mean a lot of people are probably going to claim that they made it But you did your fucking Research dude! very good job! The day after he moved in to L.A. he went with Mark and Tyler to the YouTube rewind event. That’s right! We did a thing for rewind. I wasn’t personally invited, but I got to tag along. That’s true! [screams] Ethan introduced Mark to the idea of doing Improv for a few vids and the views skyrocketed. Was that my idea? I don’t know if that was my idea was kind of a group idea But I mean yes, those videos did do really well. Those were really really fun He actually won the same Pewdiepie shout out competition that jacksepticeye Did he was only one of the bonus Twitter’s and didn’t actually get as much recognition? As Jack did but his channel was listed in the description that’s so true. I was talking about that the other day It’s super weird. I always forget that that happened it. Just feels like it was such a long time ago That’s so so weird. I remember freaking out about that because Like I wasn’t in the actual video, but I was down as a bonus shout out and I was like “yeah! I got a shout out by PewDiePie!” It’s so crazy ah a lot has changed since then wow I’m not Gonna I’m not Gonna read all of these but I Read a few more they liked it They just like really did their research his favorite comedian is John Mulaney his dream job is a director of cinematography Not true, because my dream job is doing this doing YouTube stuff like this is what I want to do But if YouTube didn’t work out, then I would probably go to film school and become DP. Because I really like film stuff Like they have my personality inside to have that I have ADHD in here like that’s not hard to me Yeah The old intro was created by his dad a graphic designer His height is 5’9 or 5’10. I’m 5’8 but thank you very flattering. Ethan had his first kiss- How do they know this?! How did they know that?! How did they? How do you know what I’ve I talked about that? I didn’t know that. I talked about that. That is true How did you? How did you know that? Even as raised over $20,000 of his numerous charity livestreams. I did not know that. It’s so fucking cool Oh, we’ve done such a good job That’s so crazy. I didn’t even realize that. Aww that’s so cool. I do want to do another charity stream soon I actually want to get brian and g out here and do one in person with them I think that would be really cool, but ah Ethan has the Zelda Secret Alert as his texttone How do you know these things? So cool! Here’s a bunch of quotes in here That’s so crazy That’s so crazy. They did- they did a good job on that one. Whoever made that I don’t know if it says but that’s a- whoo! He did good job. Well, I think that’s about it for this video It’s just interesting googling myself and just like seeing a bunch of random pictures of myself and then a bunch of random facts that I did not think that people notice but uh that was That was fun, just going and seeing what people knew about me. So uh let me know I want to do more videos kind of like this like I want to I want to take more quizzes and stuff and do a Little bit of things outside of gaming as well So if you have any suggestions for me what you’d like to see let me know so say you guys so much for watching hope You enjoyed if you did make sure to slap that like button right in the face And I will see you guys in the next video. Love you all! Stay Cranky! Bye! [amazing outro music]
I thought that I could be something in this new world. I thought that I could prove my strenght in this bullet world. I thought I could protect someone in this steel world I thought a hero existed in this digital world. But… To become someone, you have to pay a price. – Sword Art Online –
– Fatal Bullet – Your choice is faster and heavier than a bullet.
Hellooooooo, it’s a spoooooky videoooooo just
in time for Halloweee… Oh. If you were a PC gamer in the 90s and early
2000s, have you ever gone back to an old multiplayer game from that period? When you view the server
browser, once the hub of the multiplayer community for that game, now empty. I don’t so much mean your Quakes and your
Unreal Tournaments and that, they had too much cultural impact. They’ve still got active
servers today, you can go play them. I mean your SiNs, your Rebel Moon Risings, your Shogo
Mobile Armoured Divisions. More life in a graveyard as me grandma would say, as if she
knew anything about online gaming and server browsers. This is the concept for No Players Online
then. Available on itch.io on a pay-what-you-want basis. It’s a short affair that takes all
of about 15 minutes to play through and has the main conceit of “what if dead online game…
But scary?” Beware, I’ll be spoiling the heck out of this game due to the short run time.
I’m literally about to walk you through the game, so go no further if you want to play
this yourself and spoilers petrify you. So it takes the form of a first person shooter
with graphics reminiscent of the late 90s era in terms of polygons and textures being
thrown around here. Like a higher resolution PlayStation shall we say. The story is you’ve
found an old VHS cassette with the words “Capture The Flag Project, Footage 03/20/86”. Indeed
the entire game is presented with a sort of VHS filter over the top of it which while
authentic looking immediately broke the illusion for me because… Well first of all, you can’t
play games off of a VHS (Action Max says hello) – you’re meant to be watching this The Ring
style I suppose – and yet you’re actively playing a game here, taking part in this VHS
recording. Secondly, check that date – March 86. The
trailer for No Players Online evokes the Atari 2600 and Colecovision which are more era appropriate
even if they were getting a bit long in the tooth by then. But there certainly was no
one playing even basic 3D games online… Perhaps that’s why the lobbies are empty,
you’re about 12 years too early rather than 20 years too late. But no, it’s more likely that it’s just two
non-matching aesthetics from different eras smushed together to give it a “found footage”
sort of feel which while kinda spooky also kinda doesn’t work. That mis-match starts immediately with the
VHS intro booting into an MS-DOS stand-in, which leads you to a server browser and shockingly
there’s still servers up and running, resplendent with the sort of server names you’d see in
Unreal. NO BOTS. No anyone it seems. Anyway, once you’ve joined a server you’re
left to wander a map all by your lonesome. Follow the most obvious path and you find
the enemy flag. Might as well pick it up then. And what’s that you hear on your way out?
Wobbly oldy-timey music? Well that wasn’t playing before, how mysterious. Turns out
there’s a gramophone in a garden off the main path. Well, this is the first thing you’ve
had to shoot, so shoot it right? Or don’t I guess if you want to keep the music going. Well either way, on your way back the capture
point you might notice a strange black shape that disappears almost as soon as you notice
it. Ah, it’s fine, it’s probably just a graphical glitch or something. But once you capture
the flag for the first time and head back you’re confronted with this red light. Again,
that wasn’t there last time through this area, and the game slows you down so it must be
scary right? Well, it disappears once you enter the room. Who knows what that was about?
Grab the flag and hurry back again. That shape isn’t there this time, because
it’s right up in your face around the next corner. Alright, they got me with this one.
Classic jump scare there. And then when you capture the flag for the second time and turn
around it’s right there, blocking your way and coming towards you. Your gun refuses to
fire, your character can barely move. It’s right on you… And… It disappears. And as you head back with the third flag,
this moment repeats but this time the game has to stop you dead in your tracks (hah,
dead) and place up a big BEHIND YOU message right in the middle of the screen. Look, I get it, it’s a ballache trying to
get players to look where they’re meant to look and not miss something they’re meant
to see. There’s been all sorts of solutions over the years from using lighting to draw
the eye to… Say… The first couple of Gears Of War games where they’d literally put a
button prompt on the screen to make Marcus look over at whatever it is that’s exploding.
But this way again just serves to pull you out of the moment. Then it’s followed up by text messages from
one Mr “John_Dev” appearing through the in game chat. Who are you? He asks. How did you
find this game? DON’T DELIVER THE FLAG. John just spells everything out for you, info dump
style. This game isn’t really a game, it’s a way to keep his deceased wife in this world,
and once he finishes in the game it’ll bring her back. But she’s aggressive right now as
she’s scared and confused right now because you shot the gramophone. That music was keeping
her calm. Which I can appreciate I guess, if some div
came into my house and put bullet-holes in MY hi-fi it’d do my head in an all. Don’t deliver the flag though, he stresses.
Doing so will end the game and her spirit will be free. Which, well… That doesn’t
sound like such a bad idea to be honest. We’re well within the realms of that horror trope
where someone stricken with grief tries to resurrect a loved one but then they COME BACK
WROOONG. Look, there’s a TV Tropes entry for this and everything… Oh no, TV Tropes! Now
I’m trapped, I’ll be here clicking links for hooooouuuurrrsssssssss… Let’s say you’re nice though and press Escape
as requested, you’re dumped back to the server list. Choose another server, and we’re taken
back to the same map and then everything repeats again… Flag, gramophone (shoot it or don’t shoot
it), shape, capture, red light, flag, shape, capture, ghost up in your face, flag, BEHIND
YOU, UP IN YOUR FACE AGAIN… At least John has the decency to write something different
this time demanding you leave them alone. And he joins the game as a spectator. Ignore
his pleading and deliver that last flag, everything goes squiffy then you’re dumped back to the
server list again. Only the servers are gone, even quitting and re-downloading the game
won’t bring them back. Game over. Or at least that’s what all the
videos and articles I’ve seen about this game seem to say, none of them go any further.
But there’s more to it than this. If you enter the Konami code the game resets and the servers
reappear. Then you have to repeat everything for the third and fourth times. Flag, gramophone
(shoot it or don’t shoot it), shape, capture, red light, flag, shape, capture, ghost up
in your face, flag, BEHIND YOU, UP IN YOUR FACE AGAIN. John_Dev messages, Flag, gramophone
(shoot it or don’t shoot it), shape, capture, red light, flag, shape, capture, ghost up
in your face, flag, BEHIND YOU, UP IN YOUR FACE AGAIN, John_Dev messages, then joins
as a spectators. STOP. Wait. Up in the sky, an eye has appeared. To represent
John in this world I assume. Well, it took me a few attempts but I think it was me shooting
at it that triggered the second ending which is a very blurry video of someone drawing
with a pencil. I can’t make out what most of it is, but that bit at the end is definitely
a return key. And back to the blank server browser. It’s possible to reset the browser again,
but to be honest I don’t want to go through all that for a fifth and sixth time even it
is just another 15 minutes because God know what I actually need to do to get ending number
3. I suspect I’ll be wandering around pressing enter in front of everything and I’m past
the point of wanting to do that now. But y’know, for a short experience made by
a two person team I found it quite effective at points. The first time I saw that black
shape disappear I questioned myself as I only caught it out of the corner of my eye, and
the sound is suitably creepy, so the first time around can be quite tense. It over-reaches
by the end, especially with the BEHIND YOU sequence, and repeating the same thing over
and over isn’t exactly a good time, but I certainly appreciate the cryptic tease of
the second ending. Maybe one day I’ll come back to it and figure it all out but for now
I’ll leave it as a spooooooky mysterrrrrrryyyyyy… Wooooo… Please like and subscribe… Woooooooooo… OK, I’ll stop that now.
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