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Much has come out of Canada in the way great video game titles and after seeing the announcement trailer of Toronto-based outfit NVYVE Studios first foray into the industry titled P.A.M.E.L.A I couldn’t help but feel that they’ve done it again. I had to find out more, so I contacted the Studio Director at NVYVE Studio, Adam Simonar.
Watch the Pamela Announcement Trailer here:
P.A.M.E.L.A is quite hard to pin down. After watching the trailer, the best description I could come with was a ‘futuristic survival-horror’. When I put this to Simonar, he had this to say:
‘That is definitely a fair 3-word description! Our “official” genre-description we’ve been using is “open world, Utopian survival-horror”.’- Adam Simonar
Why didn’t I think of that? It suffices to say, the studios description of the title just goes to point out the unique approach of the developers to the survival-horror genre. I must emphasize the ‘open world’ aspect. The player gets dropped into a colorful yet deceptively dangerous world to explore, loot and (of course) survive to their hearts content. Keeping with the unique nature of the game, the studio is moving away from the sentiment populating the survival-horror genre.
‘As far as the survival-horror aspect, we’re aiming for a more tense, brooding horror rather than a scripted or linear jump-scare experience.’- Adam Simonar
The city of Eden (where you’ll be spending pretty much all your time) floats in the ocean, away from the unstable and dangerous mainlands where overpopulation and energy crisis have become common. Citizens of Eden are free to pursue advances in science, technology and human evolution. The environment reflects the aspirations of the city’s population. As for what happened to change the fate of Eden and it citizens, Simonar remained predictably tight-lipped. One has to assume that they nit off more than they could chew in their pursuit of perfection and reliance on technology. Sound familiar? You just have to see how reliant people have become on their smartphones for just about everything. The environment the developers have built is a character and plot point of its own.
‘The environmental design focuses primarily on creating a believable, desirable world that walks the line between reality and science fiction. Players being able to imagine themselves really being in this world is the ultimate goal, so we try to tell that story throughout both the large and small scale details.’ – Adam Simonar
Which brings me to the title character, Pamela. The omnipresent AI in charge of overseeing Eden’s infrastructure and population is the players only link to Eden’s Utopian past before the events of the game. She plays a passive and sometimes active role, assisting you in your goal to reclaim Eden. With the rest of Eden pretty much out to destroy you, the two come to rely on each other to stay alive and maintain the failing systems of the floating utopia turned dystopia. With power playing a critical role in the game, you’ll come to rely on Pamela more than you’ll initially think.
In Eden, everything runs on power and one of your goals is to restore and maintain power. Switching on a light consumes a small amount while activating Eden’s defensive installations will consume more power. Even the tools and weapons you use consume power. Keeping the power on is key to your survival. Also key to your survival and ability to interact with the environment are the tools and weapons you will find.
You may have noticed the holographic display projected on the players arm. This is called the AARM and when I asked Simonar what the AARM can do:
‘The AARM is a device that every citizen on Eden wears, connecting their mind and body to Pamela. Depending on their role in society, citizens will use their AARM in different ways, from storing their identity and money, to powering tools necessary for their occupation. They also receive regular immunizations through the AARM, providing resistance to disease and fortifying their bodies through bio-medicine. In this way, the citizens of Eden are shaped into ideal, interconnected beings.’
He then goes on to add:
‘Most of the equipment the player will find makes use of holograms, which can be manifested as burning plasma, solid walls, or harmless interface systems.’
Lethal weapons are hard to come by on Eden; the average citizen will not have access to them. Given that Eden is a Utopian-state, there is no need for lethal weaponry either. Instead the player will have to re-purpose available tools used by the average citizen in various occupations.
Pamela is under development using the Unity engine and is still in the early stages of development, with a release date hopefully set for 2016. This may seem far away but the team is very busy working on creating a quality product. I asked Simonar what it’s like with the NVYVE team and he had this to say:
‘It’s very busy, but a lot of fun! Given that we’re such a small team, it’s important for everyone to wear multiple hats day to day and help out across disciplines whenever possible. When it comes to solving problems, it’s always best to get different points of view to come up with the best solution.’ – Adam Simonar
He went on to comment on the future of the franchise, saying:
‘We’re building the world of Pamela, and Eden, with a lot of care for the future. If everything goes as planned, we have some exciting ways that we’d like to explore the universe after initial release.’ – Adam Simonar
In my opinion, PAMELA promises to be a surprise release in 2016 and its worth following the progress of the game’s development. For now though, we have a great trailer and interesting concept to gawk at.
So take my advice and head over to PAMELA’s official site here where you can follow the dev blog and find out more about the game. You can also follow NVYVE Studios on their twitter account here or at @nvyvestudios and on Facebook here or on the page NVYVE Studios. Keep an eye on Leviathyn for the latest news on Pamela and NVYVE Studios as we get them.