Pathologic 2, like the original, is a story told from three unique perspectives: The Haruspex, the Bachelor, and the Changeling, each of them trying to solve the mystery behind a strange plague that's devastated a strange small town. Today developer Ice-Pick Lodge announced that the game will be divided into separate parts for release, one for each character, so that it doesn't have to delay the launch any further.
Developer Nikolay Dybowski explained in a video (thankfully dubbed in English) that there are several reasons for the extended development, including the economic crisis in Russia that caused a crucial investment deal to fall through. The team has been going "full-out" with far less funding than expected, and "the fact that we're this close to completion is an achievement in and of itself," he said.
"And so we've made a tough decision to not prolong the wait even further, and release the game in parts. First, we'll publish the Harupsex's story, while the Bachelor and the Changeling will come out later."
Dybowski acknowledged that some fans will be disappointed but said that Steam statistics show that the vast majority of players take the game slowly and methodically—"First one story, then the next, and much later, the third"—rather than powering through all three of them one right after the other. "We don't think it would be right to force into waiting the people who will play this game slowly, steadily, iteratively, step by step," he said.
Another factor behind the decision is the fact that Pathologic 2 is the first game Ice-Pick Lodge has developed in the public eye, and that's changed how it approaches the process. Feedback has "seriously changed our understanding of how modern gamers approach videogames," he said: A large portion of players aren't prepared to sink as much time and energy into a single game as they were back in the day, and so new games "must become somewhat more comfortable to play than we'd like."
As a result, Ice-Pick Lodge has decided to dial things back a bit on Pathologic 2. The game as it was planned was "back-breakingly hard," with an "unbearably steep" learning curve, but based on feedback the studio has decided to make it "slightly less obscure, more convenient to play, and accessible."
"It does not mean we've abandoned our original vision. Not at all. It's still an experiment, still novel. We really hope you'll appreciate it when you play it and learn the underlying ideas. But we need to modify our approach to presentation a bit," Dybowski said. Releasing the Haruspex chapter first will with that by enabling Ice-Pick Lodge to see how people play and react to it, and then adjust the subsequent chapters accordingly.
There's still no release date, but Ice Pick Lodge said in a "state of Pathologic 2" update that the Haruspex chapter will be out sometime between April 1 and June 1 of 2019.