Knock-Knock! A New Game from the Pathologic Team

The new game from Ice-Pick Lodge looks mildly terrifying, to say the least.

News by Pete Davison, .

Russian developer Ice-Pick Lodge's earlier game Pathologic is possibly the bleakest, most depressing game ever created. It's a slog to get through, but a rewarding and thought-provoking experience if you put the time in.

Today, the company has announced its latest project: a rather strange-looking affair known as Knock-Knock. While the overall aesthetic is very different to the overwhelming brownness of Pathologic's dated visuals, the sense of bleakness, despair and hopelessness is still seemingly present and correct -- albeit for very different reasons.

According to Ice-Pick Lodge, the game's existence is the result of an unsolicited email it received back in November of 2011. Said email was an anonymous pitch suggesting that the team make a game based on the attachments found in the message. Such emails are received fairly commonly by a lot of developers, but there was something very different about this one.

The attachments supposedly included fragments of text, bits of audio and an "oddly-worded message written in a disturbing style." The team claims the anonymous stranger warned them that while they would have creative freedom to use the material as they saw fit, they may find themselves suffering the same fate as whoever compiled the archive in the first place. Keen to jump in to an experience that would potentially destroy their collective sanity, the team ran a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, and it now seems as if the game is nearing completion.

Whether or not the game's backstory is true, it's certainly an intriguing tale -- and the game itself looks to be rather interesting, too.

In Knock-Knock, you play the role of a hermit living alone in the forest. The house is beset by "Visitors," strange beings that knock on the hermit's windows and invite him to take part in a deadly game of hide-and-seek. Some of them are already inside the house, clattering around and draining the hermit's sanity, so it's your job to guide our hero around as he attempts to seal the breaches and remain safe for another night. Each in-game night, there'll be a number of random items scattered around to help you -- but with an inventory that can only hold five items at a time, you'll have to pick your tools wisely.

Ice-Pick Lodge promises an experience in which the game will play you as much as you play it -- something which will be very familiar to anyone who played Pathologic through to its conclusion. It all sounds like a rather terrifying experience, and the distinctive art style is the stuff from which nightmares are made.

There's no release date for Knock-Knock as yet, but you can check out the official website here. Watch this space for some impressions soon.

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Comments 5

  • Avatar for renatocosta90 #1 renatocosta90 4 years ago
    Pathologic is an incredible proposition, when you listen about it, when you read the reactions. But playing it? It is a really big chore.

    Let's hope they don't bork their translation efforts on this one!
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  • Avatar for pjedavison #2 pjedavison 4 years ago
    @renatocosta90 Pathologic absolutely is a slog, but I believe it was made that way completely intentionally. I totally believe it's supposed to be depressing to play as well as from a narrative perspective.

    Intrigued to try this one. I'll be grabbing a preview build soon, so watch out for some impressions soon.
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  • Avatar for Terpiscorei #3 Terpiscorei 4 years ago
    @pjedavison I agree -- I don't think you can make Pathologic and have it be even remotely fun to play. I'm not sure I enjoyed The Void, either, but I certainly found both games to be compelling and horrific.

    Can't wait for Knock-Knock; I was extremely off-put by Cargo, but otherwise, Ice-Pick is one of the developers I look forward to the most.
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  • Avatar for renatocosta90 #4 renatocosta90 4 years ago
    @pjedavison Nice, will be expecting the hands-on. I agree. I think that never have I been more disturbed gaming than when I was playing the Haruspicus (is that right?). That game is way more opressive than I can take though.

    I think it is sitting on my HD, waiting to be played, to torment me again.
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  • Avatar for docexe #5 docexe 4 years ago
    The trailer and the premise of the game had me intrigued.

    I wasn’t aware of this developer before, but reading a bit about their previous works, it seems they specialize on psychological horror games with lots of symbolism. That automatically adds them to my list of keeping an eye on.
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