Pariah Interview

Pariah Interview

Written by The GN Staff on 4/18/2005 for

Pariah is the next generation Sci-FI FPS games from Digital Extremes (you might remember them as one of the companies behind the Unreal franchise). They’ve struck out on their own and will be delivering the game to stores in early May. We were fortunate enough to have some questions about the game answered by James Schmalz, the founder and creative director at Digital Extremes

GamingNexus: Why the decision not to have a PlayStation 2 version initially?
James Schmalz: Our experience has mostly been with the PC and Xbox, so it was a natural transition to work on Pariah for the same.

GamingNexus: How hard was it to program a modular weapons system? What were your greatest obstacles in designing and integrating it into the single player and multiplayer portions of the game?
James Schmalz: It was quite a challenge to come up with the weapon system for Pariah. We knew we wanted something new and different from what we've seen and done in the past so we did a lot of prototyping to see what would work and what was fun. The biggest obstacle after coming up with the system was balancing the weapons and the upgrades so that there aren't any obvious advantages from one to the next. Balancing weapons in an FPS is really key to making sure the game remains fun for everyone especially when you're playing multi-player.

GamingNexus: The interface of a map editor for the PC can be pretty robust with the ability to use a keyboard and mouse to lay out a level. How have you made it easier for the Xbox so that you can create levels quickly when using a controller?
James Schmalz: We did a lot of experimentation with the Xbox controller and the configuration of how to work things in the MAP editor and it has turned out really well. We have set up the controls to be very intuitive with the controller making the buttons action oriented and the thumbsticks viewing and maneuvering focused.

GamingNexus: Can maps be shared between the Xbox and PC versions? Will users be able to share maps over Xbox Live?
James Schmalz: Players will be able to not only share their maps on Xbox Live but can also save them to a memory cartridge and take it to their friend's house or play system link. We're really excited to see if the community on Live takes off like it has in the PC world.

Maps won't be shareable between Xbox and PC, mainly because of MS regulations but also because it would be very difficult for an Xbox player to be competitive against someone on a PC with a mouse and keyboard...it wouldn't be much fun in reality, even though in theory it sounds like it would be a cool concept.
GamingNexus: Will users be limited to creating maps or will more advanced users be able to create new weapons or game types?
James Schmalz: PC gamers will have the best of both worlds as we're including the simplified MAP Editor plus PariahEd, the professional tools based on Epic Games' Unreal Technology, that we used to make the game. Using the pro tools, people can create pretty much anything they can come up with for the game including changing the game altogether.

GamingNexus: Can you talk about the new multiplayer modes and the inspiration behind them?
James Schmalz: We have 4 multi-player modes, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag and Front Line Assault. Front Line Assault is the newest addition to our stable of gametypes and is a lot of fun to play. The basic idea is to mimic the frontline in a war. It gets pushed back and forth until it eventually gets pushed to the other base where you can then destroy the objective and win.

GamingNexus: Over the last year we’ve seen some great FPS games hit the market? Was there anything that you took away from them (good or bad)?
James Schmalz: Not specifically. The majority of the features have been locked down for the last year, so whereas we did enjoy a lot of good FPS games in the last year, they would have had little influence on our design decisions during that time.

GamingNexus: What additions have you made to the Unreal engine base? Which versions of the engine are you using?
James Schmalz: We started with the Unreal Championship/Unreal Tournament 2003 engine and have added a tremendous amount on top of it. Some of the most notable additions include the Havok physics engine that you'll see in all the ragdolls, vehicles and some environment objects in the levels. On top of that we added a bunch of performance improvements and nice graphics enhancements such as pixel shaders, vertex shaders, bump-mapping and other cool post-effects technology.


GamingNexus: Will there be co-op play in the game? Supported in both versions?
James Schmalz: You can play offline co-op through the single-player campaign on the Xbox.

GamingNexus: About how do you think it will take gamers to get through the single player portion of the game?
James Schmalz: Depending on the difficulty setting you pick at the beginning of the game (there are 4) you can plan on spending a good 10-15 hours playing through the single-player campaign. After that there are endless hours of fun with the multi-player gametypes and MAP Editor.

We’d like to thank James for taking the time to talk to us. If you want to check out a taste of the multiplayer portion of the game you can check out the recently released demo here

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


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