Palia Is a Stunning Animal Crossing-Like MMO By Former Riot Developers
The former Riot Games developers over at Singularity Six have announced their first game: Palia. Palia is described as a “community simulation MMO” and one that is inspired by some of the greatest and most heartwarming games in recent years. It is a far cry from the games that these developers have made in the past, to say the least.
Singularity Six Reveals Palia as First Game
I had the chance to check out Palia as part of an early preview event, revealing what the game is going to be and getting to hear from the developers themselves about what exactly this fascinating and stunning new title is all about. First and foremost, it is billed as an MMO but not in the traditional sense that you would expect from MMORPGs and the like.
Instead, it is simply a massively multiplayer experience, minus the RPG style because the focus of this game is not on the combat systems, though they do seem to be included as well. Instead, Palia is very much what you might think of if Animal Crossing leapt into the MMO realm, expanded into a Breath of the Wild-looking world, and took elements from other games.
In the announcement trailer for the game, the player can be seen customized to their liking and sent out into this beautiful, picturesque landscape full of interesting NPCs and other characters to meet. Though there is not much actual gameplay shown — as it seems to be mostly in-engine footage — it does give an idea of what the game is all about.
You can be seen interacting with the NPCs, including a fantastical robot, exploring the world for materials, chopping down trees, and building out your land. In many ways, it has a Stardew Valley feel but one that is more 3D, potentially AAA-focused as with the pedigree of the developers working on the project.
Palia Is a Beautiful and Relaxing Title With Many Inspirations
Palia’s relaxing and cheerful atmosphere may seem surprising when you consider the fact that this is the first game from two lead founders coming from Riot Games where they worked on League of Legends of all games. Furthermore, the rest of the tight but talented development team include industry veterans from Blizzard, Epic Games, Zynga, and Sony, too.
Aidan Karabaich, co-founder of Singularity Six and the game director for the studio’s debut title, made it clear that the developer is dedicated to games “that bring people together.” It is inspired by some of the team’s favorite games and other media, with Breath of the Wild, Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, Minecraft, and even Studio Ghibli films just some of the influences on the game.
With these influences, it will have a lot of the features that you would expect from those games, like a robust character creator with options including diverse faces, skin tone options, hairstyles, and a fashion system that is quite flexible. You can mix and match different clothing items to create your personal character in the world of Palia.
In the preview that I was shown, there were design images of different outfits shown from the more traditional, warrior-like fantasy styles to a person who is completely naked except for the barrel that they are wearing to cover their body. It seems open-ended and there to allow players to express themselves, and potentially role-play with other users online in the world.
Players Will Have the Freedom to Explore and Customize Their Land
Speaking of the world, there are only some details that were explained in the preview, but it seems that Palia will have various minigames and activities to do, like the expected bug catching, fishing, and collecting of materials. You will also be able to explore adventure zones that are teased to be more action-focused — hinting at combat — and there are bows in the game, so while no combat gameplay was shown, it does seem that it is there for those who wish to partake in that.
But if you do not want to, it looks like Palia gives the freedom for you to not have to. You can go about your business, getting to know the diverse cast of NPC characters that you’ll meet, building your relationships with them when you are not literally building your house and land out. You take over a piece of land and can customize it to your liking. Farm as much as you want, and deck out your home to the style that you want. In the preview, I saw glimpses of how detailed the housing decoration system really is.
We were shown a main room with a living room and kitchen, filled to the brim with the usual fantasy decorations and furniture that you would expect. However, the key point here was that the player had placed all of the items in the room themselves and tricked it out to their liking. Much of the furniture is not just for show, either, as you can actually interact with the oven, for instance, to engage in the cooking minigame.
This allows you to perform various tasks, like cooking, cutting up food items, and creating dishes to then show off by placing them on your counter for the other players to see. In fact, you can even do the cooking minigame together with another player online. While the online systems of the MMO were not fully revealed here, what I do know is that there is going to be a guild-like system known as Neighborhoods.
Players Will Have the Freedom to Explore and Customize Their Land
It seems that you will be able to join a Neighborhood and create your own community of players to connect with. While not many details were shared in the presentation, one question about how the Neighborhood system works was about the possibility of shared buildings, similar to how you would have a guild hall or a free company house like in Final Fantasy XIV.
Unfortunately, no announcement about this sort of system at this time, but Singularity Six did make it clear that this is one of the most requested features from playtesters thus far, so more details about the potential of this and the community systems, in general, are coming soon.
Other minor details that were included in the reveal presentation included the fact that the world that you will be able to explore in Palia will be smaller in size than something like Breath of the Wild, but it will have a dynamic world with deep mechanics to check out that was hinted to be expanded upon in the future, potentially with traditional dungeons and other content.
As for the payment structure of Palia, this is something that was not revealed but will be later down the road. While it is currently unknown, the developers did tease that they think that “players will be excited by it.” Furthermore, the release structure of the game is unknown as well, but some players in the community will have the chance to check it out early in the upcoming pre-alpha build on PC.
Closed Pre-Alpha Test and Final Impressions
There will be a closed pre-alpha test on PC for some users to play later this summer, with no release date at this time. But you can go ahead and sign up for the pre-alpha test at the link right here if you are interested. Given that it is a pre-alpha build, it does make it seem like Singularity Six’s first game is still a ways away from now. In fact, there was no release date or year even teased in the presentation.
What we do know, though, is that the game is coming to PC first. However, games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley are synonymous with consoles, too, and the developer hopes to bring it to as many consoles as possible, but there are resources and time needed to make that happen.
Overall, I would say that I was fairly intrigued by the reveal of Palia. It is quite different from what I expected from the developers behind League of Legends, but you can see some elements of that title in the colorful cast and world of elves, robots, and more.
I was a bit disappointed that not too much gameplay was shown off for the game in the actual preview event, so it does make me wonder how far along it really is at this time. But that may not even be an issue at all, and something that will be remedied when we, hopefully, get some time with it later this summer with the pre-alpha build on PC.
Be sure to stay tuned for more details about the debut title from Singularity Six in the very near future, including how the game will be sold, what consoles it comes to, and the dates for the pre-alpha test on PC.