PC publisher Buka Entertainment is looking to put a scare on you with the release of Pathologic, a horror-themed first person action game that also manages to pack in some role-playing game elements. Slated for release later this year, Pathologic tells the story of a provincial town called Ancient Steppe, in the grips of a mysterious epidemic. As one of three playable main characters--the Bachelor, Ripper, or the Devotress--it will be up to you to solve the mystery behind the evil infecting the town and battle whatever nefarious forces stand in your way.
Things get increasingly complex, however, as your interactions with the game's non-player characters begin. Pathologic will feature more than 25 characters and dozens of lesser NPCs to interact with. In an interesting twist, the two other main characters in the game will continue in parallel with you as you progress through the game's plot, sometimes even working against you as you work to uncover the mysteries of Ancient Steppe. This nonlinear storyline will culminate in several possible endings to the plot, determined by the choices you make in the game.
The concept of a disease as an enemy has been done in movies before (think "Cabin Fever") and even in games (think the T-virus in Resident Evil), so it will be interesting to see how Pathologic makes use of this concept. Will your main character be one of the infected, or will he/she be looking for a cure to save a loved one? We don't have these answers yet, but the game's nonlinear storyline suggests a wide variety of plotline possibilities. We do know that NPC behavior and their reactions to you will be dependent on outside influences such as time of day.
Graphically, the game's design seems heavily gothic in flavor, featuring ornate indoor environments, heavy wooden furniture, and a muted color palette with occasional bright splashes of red roses and colorful paintings lining the walls, which should add a little life to the overall haunted look of the game's locales. Sultry raven-haired beauties abound in the screenshots we've seen so far, though whether these are NPCs or playable characters remains to be seen.
We still don't know much about the mechanics of Pathologic; specifically, we're not sure how combat or exploring the world works. We're hoping to see more of the nuts and bolts of the game soon and will bring you a full report once we do.