They say, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” and to a certain degree I believe that. While some could argue that bandwagon-ing a popular idea or product is a cynical attempt at making money, I honestly think it does show just how impactful a work of art is—be it a movie, a novel, and even a video game—when other creators borrow ideas from it.
This can be seen recently with the success of a game like Genshin Impact; while certainly a great game in its own right, it’s clear a lot of its success can be attributed to the style and gameplay elements it’s borrowed from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Even more recently we have seen this happen with the success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons—with games like Cozy Grove, Hokko Life, and even Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town drawing inspiration from Nintendo’s newest life-sim.
I mention these two games specifically becausee recently I attended a digital preview of Palia—a new MMO experience by developer Singularity 6 that was described to me as Breath of the Wild meets Animal Crossing. In truth, the game’s inspiration, and its ambition run a bit deeper than those two games, but at its core, Palia promises a vibrant, open world to explore and discover, while having a fostering a deep sense of community within the game’s main village—where the player will make their home.
“…the foundation for a truly interesting game is definitely there.”
Not much was shown during the preview showcase, but the foundation for a truly interesting game is definitely there. In Palia, humans were considered a legendary race who mysteriously disappeared at the height of their prosperity and mastery of magic. Players will take on the role of human characters who reemerge without any explanation in a quaint, lakeside village. From there, they will build homes, forge friendships—and even romances—with a vibrant cast of NPCs; while exploring a vibrant world that is constantly changing, thanks to, “a series of robust simulation systems bring the world to life, respond to their actions, and consistently change the game.”
One of the other games Singularity 6 said they drew a lot of inspiration from for Palia was Fantasy Life—Level 5’s 3DS life-sim/fantasy RPG hybrid—and you can definitely understand why. Palia offers players many ways to play the game, and there’s really no wrong answer. If you want to be a master chef, go for it! Want to spend your days fishing or farming? It’s totally up to you. As co-founder and game director Aidan Karabaich explained, despite being built as an MMO, Palia is not an RPG; so, there is no rigid way to experience the game.
However, much like Fantasy Life, every job—or style of play—has some application that makes it useful to players. This was explained during the preview in the way some furniture items work. At launch, the game is set to have 1000 items to customize your home with, and the level of freedom in customization is incredible. But not every item exists for simple aesthetics. Pots, pans, and a cutting board might look like nice table toppers; however, players are able to use these items to prepare meals which will give them various buffs.
Moreover, while Palia has been designed to be enjoyed solo, the focus is on cooperation and community—expressed through “Neighborhoods,” which, as Karabaich explained; is basically Paila’s version of guilds. Engaging in these activities with other players will yield greater results; so, players are encouraged to actively be a part of the community within the game and experience it together.
“Palia is meant to be a relaxed, cozy experience.”
Although if this sounds a little too boring for your taste, fear not. While Palia is meant to be a relaxed, cozy experience; Karabaich did say there would be some form of combat within the game, though he did not go too deeply into the specifics. While this won’t exist in the form of PVP, it would seem the world is more fraught with danger than one would expect, so it will definitely be interesting to see how it’s incorporated—much like how in Breath of the Wild, there is a certain gentle, quietness to the world interspersed with the danger.
While we may not know a lot about Palia now, it will definitely be exciting to see how it evolves over the course of its development. As of right now, the game is planned for a PC only release—as the team at Singularity 6 wanted to focus on making the best version of their game first, they did not rule out bringing it to consoles later down the road.
“We started Singularity 6 to make games that bring people together,” said Karabaich. “We’re so excited to invite players into Palia for the first time. Inspired by some of our favourite titles, our game lets you forge your own destiny, exist in a beautiful setting, and give you a sense of being at home. We expect the players to be a huge part of shaping the game, and we can’t wait to see what they do in Palia.”