"The Unreal Tournament games we've done have all been very multiplayer focused. Pariah is our attempt to try and take everything we've learned from developing strong multiplayer games and really try to replicate that in the single-player experience." In essence, this is the goal behind Pariah, the new FPS from Digital Extremes - so says the studio's founder and creative director James Schmalz.
Words And Pictures
As you'd expect from a game built on Unreal technology, the graphics in Pariah are gorgeous, with especially nice touches like weapon physics, water effects and a general feeling of life in the game's Halo-like environments. However, the developer is keen to press the importance of Pariah's Hollywood-penned storyline, which is thankfully refreshing in a genre that has a tendency to delight in developing bigger and betters ways to blow shit up (but don't worry, there's plenty of that too).
To play the game, you assume the role of Jack Mason, a military doctor in the year 2520. When Jack is drafted onto a ship to oversee the moving of a female prisoner with a mysterious virus and that vessel subsequently crash lands, like Gordon Freeman before him Jack has to adjust to being the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.Alongside Jack there are also NPCs in the game, the most important of which is the prisoner Karina who remains a constant presence in the storyline and is rather charmingly depicted with normal-sized breasts and a scruffy ponytail.
"We wanted our main female character to be as convincing as possible," explains James. "We wanted her to feel real, not like the traditional game character. Now that technology alows us to have facial animations and expressions, we have the ability to make our characters more believable and movie-like."
Of course, it wouldn't be Unreal technology without some impressive weaponry at your command. Pariah has favourites such as the sniper rifle and grenade launcher, and also includes a few beasts like the Bulldog and a massive Redeemer-like weapon known as Titan's Fist which actually plays a part in the storyline. Using items known as Weapon Energy Cores even enables you to customise and upgrade your weaponry.
It may not have Unreal in the title, but Pariah certainly has Unreal in its heart. With a decent storyline and single-player mission, coupled with the ever-excellent multiplayer offerings from Digital Extremes, it may just be the FPS hit of next year. We'll bring you more updates throughout the year.