The Story of ‘P.A.M.E.L.A.,’ and How it Plans to Change Open World Survival Gaming
To call Adam Simonar “ambitious” would be an understatement.
As studio director and level designer of NVYVE Studios, his plate is quite full nowadays; running the show AND developing a game along with the rest of his team is no small task. In fact, it is a series of both big and small tasks that have deadlines, goals, and solutions hinging on every single move he makes.
But when you hear Adam speak about P.A.M.E.L.A., NVYVE’s in-development open world sci-fi/horror survival title, you can’t help but think, “This dude is gonna get it done.”
This is the story overview of P.A.M.E.L.A., from what I gathered during his panel at the #Unite2015 conference in Boston:
P.A.M.E.L.A. is the sentient AI of a floating city known as Eden. At some point in this Utopian society, all hell breaks loose, in the form of a rogue virus released upon the masses (writer’s note: no spoilers on how that came about…yet). As a result, the citizens of Eden become feral and desperate, almost reverting to a primitive and tribal state, despite living in their highly technological metropolis. In desperation, P.A.M.E.L.A. decides to bring you, the player, out of cryo-sleep. You will have to gather resources, form alliances, thwart the savage denizens of the city, and uncover the story of how Eden came to such a tragic and violent end. Will you be able to pick up the pieces, and bring this gorgeous, advanced city back to the marvel it once was?
Adam went on to explain some of the games that inspired the creation of P.A.M.E.L.A., namely Dead Space, BioShock, Deus Ex (mind/excuse the age gate), and Mass Effect. Seeing the kinds of visuals and environments Adam and NVYVE are employing makes it easy to understand and draw these parallels; walking through Eden, I imagine, will probably feel fairly close to the first time any Mass Effect players walked through the citadel; that feeling of openness, and variety, and believable architecture and street designs (which Adam touched on during his explanation of his design process, when giving advice to new developers on how to implement environment design). It makes the city feel alive, gives you a reason to remember where you’ve been, and to compel you forward.
Also, it was severely noted during his panel that P.A.M.E.L.A.’s AI avatar is NOT going to be rogue; she will not be taking on the familiar trope of being a scoundrel, betraying you at some point as the story progresses. She is legitimately there to aid and guide you, even while dodging and fighting people that are out to end you in grand and gruesome fashion.
With P.A.M.E.L.A.’s help, along with your own intuition and reconnaisance, you will slowly begin to unravel all of the threads that are sewn in to the history of the vast, sprawling, and broken world of Eden. Another point Adam made during his presentation is how incredibly important it is to surround your players with the story of your game. Immersion is an absolute priority, and with the use of visuals, tools, NPCs, and conversations that happen along the way, P.A.M.E.L.A. strives to achieve these goals.
Having worked with Unity since its 3.5 release, it is evident that Adam and NVYVE Studios trust the engine, and some of the new features of 5.2 have been extraordinarily beneficial in making Eden and the world of P.A.M.E.L.A. really come to life. Enlighten, a global illumination asset that can be used with Unity 5.2 in particular, has been an amazing windfall for the development of the game, and it shows: the day/night cycles and the amazingly dynamic lighting effects speak for themselves (you saw the trailer; this game is going to be gorgeous). That, and many other assets compatible with the newest Unity build, strive to bring an unforgettable, awe-inspiring experience to players the world over.
And with me, at least, all of these efforts and design methodologies seem to be building towards an utterly amazing game.
P.A.M.E.L.A. has a planned release of some time in 2016. it will first be released on PC, but there are plans to release on consoles down the line.