Digital Extremes are a developer that most people would be familiar with. However they have been over shadowed previously by Epic as they did some work on the Unreal Tournament games. For the past while though, they have been working on their first game not associated with Epic. While Unreal Tournament focused on multiplayer primarily, their first game seems like it will be a single player affair with multiplayer as a side option. Pariah is the name and Pariah is a game which has flown under the radar for quite sometime but it could become the best first person shooter of the year.
The storyline reminds us very much of Ubisoft's phenomenal Far Cry, and if that's any indication then the game is going to be something special. Set in the year 2520, the storyline follows a doctor named Jack Mason, who survives a transport crash. The twist is that traveling in the transport with him is a critically ill patient who Mason must protect. It is when they discover where they have crash landed that their hearts move into their mouth, the prison sectors of Earth, now a barren planet. They have sixteen hours to stop the biohazard containment procedure or die along with those stuck in the prison.
As mentioned before Pariah is a first person shooter and considering Digital Extremes past titles, that was really to be expected. It's what they are going to do with the game which differentiates it. It will have the run and gun action which people have become accustomed to in Unreal Tournament but also some stealth areas as well. It will be interesting to see how this mechanic works because it is quite a change to go from a run and gun to stealth in the same game. Digital Extremes is promising that players will be able to use their sight and sound awareness to track the enemies who sound like they are going to be one bunch of mean enemies.
Vehicles will also play a role in Pariah. From what we have seen they look like rugged, off road vehicles which seems to fit the style of the game quite well. With vehicles in the game it appears that the levels will be huge. The vehicles will be completely controllable, not on rails, which will allow a great deal of adventuring in the game. There will also be vehicular combat with enemies both on other vehicles and on foot. This doesn't really sound like something new for the genre considering Halo, but if it's implemented well it will become a key part in Pariahs success.
Along with this the AI is being built around the technology used for Unreal engine AI. However with the advancements of the engine and also the power of personal computers, Digital Extremes will have the enemies interact with each other. They will react to the player and are aware of each other while working as a team. This may work in positive and negative ways for the AI (all positive for the impressive side of the game). The AI may flee if they see themselves being cut down or fight to the bitter end. To take out these enemies the game obviously needs weapons. Digital Extremes again has experience with this but they are adding something new for Pariah, custom weapons. Throughout the game and in multiplayer you will be able to pick up Weapon Enhancement Cores, allowing you to, yep you guessed it, enhance the weapons.
From what we have seen of the levels, they give off a very Unreal Tournament feel but not in a negative "seen this before" way. Expect highly detailed, organic levels filled with lots of enemies to take on. It seems to range from blustery, wind affected deserts through to detailed jungle levels. The game will also feature levels set in the day and night time. Battles will also take place indoors and this is where the true visual clarity of the game's engine comes to life. This is a game that may have you upgrading because it has some truly stunning visuals. Digital Extremes are showing they really know how to use the Unreal Tournament engine and their previous work.
It's only a few months until the game is finished and Digital Extremes seem to be showing they can work alone and in a single player style. For some parting words, consider this text being used in the marketing - "It is not the strongest of the species who survive, not the most intelligent, but those who are the most adaptive to change" - Charles Darwin. The game is using that for the storyline structure, but the relevance of this quote doesn't end there - it is possible this quote could also be said for the impact the game could have on the market and how future developers have to adapt to compete with Pariah. Look for it March 05.