Back in 2018, ex-Riot developers Aidan Karabaich and Anthony Leung formed Singularity 6 with the intention of delivering "alternate worlds that deepen players' lives." Now three years later, the studio has announced their first game called Palia, a "community sim MMO" that looks a little bit Sims and a little bit Animal Crossing, with a sprinkle of Final Fantasy 14's social aspect.
Palia looks to be taking the cosy and relaxing nature of a sim game and plonking it into an MMO format, with an emphasis on collaboration and just hanging out with your pals. The game centers around a world in which humans are considered a "legendary race" who disappeared thousands of years ago, until of course you and all your human buddies magically appear out of nowhere.
There'll be all the usual sim things to do here—fishing, gardening, bug catching—all of which can be done solo or with other players. Singularity 6 also promises a "robust set of character creation options" for skin tone, universal hairstyles and a "flexible fashion system." You can presume you won't be able to play as a non-human though, since that's the whole point of the plot. The game's also looking to pull from some more traditional MMO mechanics with things like Neighborhoods—the Palia equivalent of guilds—with rewards for things like completing tasks together.
One of the big draws is the ability to build and decorate your own house, with everyone getting their own little plot of land to toil away on. The houses are instanced so you won't be able to build a little cul-de-sac with your buddies, but it at least negates the housing crisis MMOs like Final Fantasy 14 faced for years. Singularity 6 says more than 1,000 decor items will be available when the game launches, along with customisation options.
Strangely, Palia is also letting you romance the NPCs. I say strangely because it feels odd thinking you could be romantically involved with the same person as one of your friends, despite the game relying on a collaborative effort. I will be humbly requesting for anyone I play with to leave my future NPC spouse alone, especially if I'm able to romance the adorable robot fisherman seen in the trailer.
The game seems to have an awful lot to offer and while it's ticking a lot of my personal boxes, I can't help but feel like it all sounds rather ambitious. I worry about it falling into the same trap so many MMOs before it have succumbed to, but Singularity 6 seems confident in Palia's potential. It's one I'll be keeping my eye on, and a game I hope won't fall prey to its own grandeur.
Palia is entering pre-alpha later this summer, and you can register to participate via the official website.