Pathologic is kind of an oddball cult favorite (opens in new tab) around here (with some of us, at least) and so it was disappointing to hear that sales of Pathologic 2 (opens in new tab) were poor enough to throw the future of the game, including planned second and third chapters, into doubt. In August, developer Ice-Pick Lodge committed to free-with-an-asterisk DLC (opens in new tab) instead, a "polished and optimized version of what was once Pathologic 2's demo" called The Marble Nest while it continued to try to work things out for the remainder of the full game.
Ahead of the weekend, Ice-Pick Lodge explained the presence of that asterisk on the "free" bit—Pathologic 2 owners will get it free, it will be available as a standalone purchase for $10 for everyone else—and also revealed what it's all about.
"Pathologic 2: The Marble Nest DLC [is] a two-hour spin-off story in the world of the Pathologic 2," the studio said (opens in new tab). "Play for a single day as Dr. Daniil Dankovsky, a scientist from the Capital, a fighter of death, and another doctor trying to save the Town alongside the Haruspex, and uncover a different perspective on the events—and Death itself."
The Marble Nest Steam page (opens in new tab) describes it as a "self-contained story" that requires no knowledge (or memory, or comprehension) of Pathologic 2. More interestingly, it also promises a more "lenient" survival experience than the base, which is punishing enough that the developers were compelled to add difficulty sliders (opens in new tab)—a lot of difficulty sliders—to make the experience more bearable. "While you still need to manage your body, it’s less pressing," the Steam page says. "It’s almost as if the Bachelor didn’t try to cling to life too much…"
That said, it certainly sounds like a Pathologic kind of gig: "The Town is doomed. But what if Death knocked on your door and offered a chance to do it all again? Would you still struggle, or accept your fate?"
Pathologic 2: The Marble Nest is out on October 28. If you pick up the base game prior to that, you'll get it free.