Saturday, 5 June 2010

Pathologic Dev Surprise Announcement: Cargo!

Ice Pick Lodge - developer of the most famous never-heard-of-game ever made, Pathologic (seriously, it's PC gaming's go-to large scale art game, is there really anyone who cares about games and hasn't played it yet?) - has announced Cargo!. Ordinarily I wouldn't just repost news, but I'm so excited by this nugget that I can't help believe you won't be too.

I'm so captivated I've posted ALL the screens, despite the fact if I hadn't I could have been down Clapham Common reading Jasper Fforde a clear five minutes sooner and therefore avoided my lit agent's wrath when she finds out I haven't finished my research. Anyway, what's really interesting is the radical change of tone Ice Pick Lodge are shooting for this time around. That and the Q4 2010 release. For a studio renowned for dark, adult themes this is a fascinating twist - and I can't help but think a good one. From the press release:
"Our world is beginning to drift apart in all directions, like balloons. People, buildings, mountains, trees and entire islands rise into the sky. Items with weight become the most valuable on the planet. But there is hope! FUN, the magical extract of concentrated happiness, returns weight to items."
I don't for a second believe the studio will abandon their ambitious and mature approach just because they're not overtly dealing with death and disease anymore. In fact the blurb reminds us of just that:
"Ice Pick Lodge CEO Nikolay Dybowski describes their determination 'to transform video games in to, essentially a new form of art, deserving to take its proper place among literature, cinema and drama.'"
Full blurb over at RPS.

Pathologic, for me, remains Ice Pick's finest hour. 2009's The Void was lush and better polished - and not having finished it yet I shouldn't really comment - but Patholigic just seemed to combine game world and artistic sentiment more completely. Cargo, I hope, might mark a refreshing and more approachable middle ground - a valuable and coherent experience that doesn't need emo theming to express what's important.

One thing's for certain: Ice Pick Lodge is the only studio on the planet making full price games that might still be being picked apart in class rooms a hundred years from now.


  1. In case you can't already tell, Ice Pick Lodge genuinely excites me. We have other games and studios turning out 'artistic' fare, but to my mind very often the content of those games is either too obscure, or unrelated to the otherwise very traditional gameplay.

    Are there any studios you'd rate equally?

  2. I've not played either Pathologic (I turned away due to the Great! But Run Away! type warnings from others) and I have The Void on standby.

    You make me want to put Pathologic on standby as well. I have a very long standby list. It runs to at least 2013.

  3. This news has convinced me to try the void a second time. Hopefully with the difficulty patch I can actually make some real progress into the game. The visual design was absolutely absorbing.

    As far as other studios go, Team Ico is right up there and even easier to get into difficulty wise. Granted, this new Icepick new game is looking better than Team Ico's. Also, if Briscoe ever finishes making Dear Esther actually good that should also be on par with Icepick.

  4. Pathologic is definately worth your time, best tip I had was to play as the Batchelor - he's much better translated than the other characters.

    I'm ashamed to admit I've played only a little Ico and Shadow of the Collossus. I'll try to correct that before The Last Guardian comes along, but I'd agree Ice Pick's material looks more interesting right now...