The Harvest Moon formula hasn’t changed significantly in years. Even recent hits like Stardew Valley basically just pick up the same familiar ball the original Harvest Moon creators dropped, but the just-announced Palia aims to actually take the life-sim RPG to the next level. Developed by Singularity 6, a new studio founded and staffed by Blizzard, Epic, Riot, and Sony veterans, Palia is a life-sim MMO influenced by Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, and The Sims, with dashes of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Genshin Impact, and Minecraft thrown in for flavor. You can check the pretty debut trailer for Palia, below.
Around a week ago myself and some other media got a chance to chat with the makers of Palia, and the picture they painted of the project was certainly appealing. The game will feature everything you’d expect from a Harvest-Moon-like, including farming, fishing, cooking, bug catching, mining, crafting, and yes, romanceable NPCs, but it will also feature a full persistent online world where you can hang out and explore with friends. While the official PR doesn’t emphasize it, Palia will have combat, and a “global narrative” that will develop via missions and events, potentially over the course of years. That said, you can focus entirely on the cozy life sim stuff if you want, with over 1000 items to decorate your house with. Need to know more? Here’s the official Palia feature list:
- A World with Meaning – Palia isn’t just a place or a game, but somewhere you can feel like you really belong. It’s the feeling you get when you gather around a fire and celebrate a successful fishing expedition with friends. It’s how you feel after winning a cooking competition alongside your neighbors. It’s the sense of accomplishment you feel after redecorating your home. It’s your community. It’s a place to call home.
- Massively Multiplayer Community Sim – Combining the welcoming atmosphere of a Community Sim with a massively multiplayer world that puts a premium on social play, Palia lets players collaborate, explore and progress with a global community of players. Social matchmaking ensures friends and neighbors are always close by and able to play together no matter what server they are on.
- A Celebration of Self Expression – Palia offers a robust set of character creation options that allow players to show off their unique style and creativity. This includes a diverse set of face and skin tone options, hairstyles that can go on any character, and a flexible fashion system. Players can mix and match different components, customize colors and patterns, and save their favorite outfits. Whether they want to be an award winning cook, or the best gardener in the world, it’s all up to them. New features will be continually added to expand player’s options.
- Build and Decorate Your Home – Each player has a plot of land where they can build the home of their dreams and then customize all the little details. Players can invite friends over and show off their newly remodeled chef’s kitchen or decorate together with hard earned rewards. More than 1,000 decor items with customization options will be available at launch.
- Welcome to the Neighborhood – Neighborhoods, Palia’s version of Guilds, allow players to collaborate with other players in new ways and forge their own communities. Players can search for the Neighborhood that is just right for them or create their own. A Neighborhood can complete a variety of collaborative activities to earn unique rewards, then show off their collective accomplishments whether it’s a First Place trophy or a compelling aesthetic that is all their own.
- A Dynamic World That’s Fun Solo, Better Together – Whether a player is an aspiring chef, a big game hunter, or a bug catching extraordinaire, Palia provides a variety of gameplay options that are engaging solo, but even better together. As they play, a series of robust simulation systems bring the world to life, respond to their actions, and consistently change the game. Players will meet, befriend, and romance a compelling cast of characters that live out their days and evolve over time with stories of their own.
For now, Palia has only been announced for PC, but Singularity 6 would like to bring it to as many platforms as possible. A release date hasn’t been set, but pre-alpha testing will open up this summer, with sign-ups being available now. As for Singularity 6’s plans to monetize Palia, they’re not talking for now, but hinted they think “players will be very excited” by their approach.