Pariah: James Schmalz Interview

We recently got a chance to fire off some questions to James Schmalz of Digital Extremes about their upcoming Unreal Engine powered game called Pariah. Pariah is set on a futuristic Earth with an anti-hero character that is a doctor of all things. The game is the first big venture outside of the Unreal Universe for DE Team. As with all things here at UO I tried to come up with interesting questions. Here we go..

    • How did the idea of Pariah come about?


    • When we first started brainstorming on Pariah, we really wanted to do alot with vehicles, ala Twisted Metal Black (remember this was 3 years ago). Then we started adding other things and prototyping alot and eventually it turned into what Pariah is today. We also knew we wanted to have a very storyline driven single-player campaign so it was important to get the gameplay nailed down so we knew what we’re dealing with to move forward on building that aspect of the game.


    • Why not something new in the Unreal Universe?


    • We’ve been working with Epic on their Unreal franchise for a long time, but ultimately Epic owns the Unreal franchise and we wanted something to call our own so we now have Pariah and soon, Dark Sector.


    • What is exciting about starting something non-Unreal?


    • Starting something new really gets the creative juices flowing. You’re not limited to the expectations that fans have for an established brand and you get to explore all kinds of new ideas and possibilities. Although, you do have to keep your head above the clouds and make sure you’re still making something that is marketable and will sell well, so there’s a fine line.


    • How much of the UE is modded for this game?


    • We started with the UC/UT2003 engine and added alot on top of it since then including the Havok physics engine which you’ll notice on the ragdolls, the vehicles and many destructible objects in the game. In addition we did alot of performance enhancements and added some really nice graphics enhancements such as particle effects, distortion effects, pixel shaders, vertex shaders, bump-mapping and more.


    • What is your favorite weapon, character or vehicle from the game?


    • Hmmm..there are alot of good ones in there but I guess if I have to pick one it would be the grenade launcher and its upgrades. It starts out as a very competent grenade launcher that does quite alot of damage on impact or timed explosions if a target is missed. When you upgrade it, it becomes even more useful as you’re given a detonator so you can time explosions to your advantage. And my favorite upgrade on it is the fragment attractor. Basically it now has mag grenades and when one is shot out it collects lots of metallic debris as it hurls through the air; once it reaches its destination it explodes in a frag-ful of glory shooting the debris everywhere! The longer it flies through the air the more debris it attracts and the more deadly it gets…nice!


    • When is the PC version of the game due out?


    • Look for it on May 3rd.


    • Will it have more content then the Console version?


    The content is basically the same in both versions of the game however we’ve already got a ton of stuff started for potential release to the community after the game ships if it’s successful.

As you can see a couple of nice teasers to keep us occupied until the game comes out in less than three weeks! A big thanks to Meridith and Mr. Schmalz from Digital Extremes for hooking us up with this interview and as always thanks to you for stopping by the site.