NPCs & Relationships

Could you tell us a bit more about the villagers? Like, what can you find each of them doing on a daily basis? What are some of their special quirks? And do THEY have different outfits, different house styles, etc?

We have a vast cast of characters for you to meet and befriend in Palia. From our resident bad-boy chef Reth, to the mysterious pebble-loving Einar, to the eccentric and always curious Elouisa, there are plenty of stories for you to experience. Each NPC has their own unique set of questlines. For example, you might want to figure out what the deal is with that mysterious alchemist hiding out in Bahari Bay and find yourself tangled up in her web, or befriend the tailor Jel and help him discover new inspiration for his next clothing line. Some questlines are personal, while others might help you understand more of the world and lore around you. Do you want to help Jina form her new thesis for the academy, or help Kenyatta find her true calling in life (which the Majiri call the “Path”)? Why not both! Even the ever-judgmental magistrate Eshe can be befriended with enough time and effort (and appropriate deference).

Some NPCs are even romanceable, with romance-focused content and questlines available—which is optional, of course (as we answered in a past Ask the Team response).

Each NPC also has a schedule, from work to home to hobbies in between, that you can learn. You might spot our archaeologist examining ancient ruins, or the innkeeper out fishing during his lunch break, or any other number of things! Everyone also has a personal space decorated just for them that you can visit. We can’t wait for you to meet them all, and unravel just a little more of their story every time you interact!

What gameplay benefits if any will romance give us? Will we be able to opt fully out of using the romancing feature without it being a detriment to our gameplay?

There will be a variety of exciting narrative-driven rewards. While you won’t have to romance everyone to get the best house, there will be benefits to deepening your knowledge of our world! We want players to be able to engage in the romance feature for intrinsic reasons, like genuine interest in getting to know the characters. The romances are not meant for extrinsic rewards. Therefore, there is no gameplay advantage for romance and no disadvantage for opting out.

Do we need to romance players to unlock the main story or new gameplay?

You do not have to romance characters in order to discover new gameplay or progress in the story. Romance storylines unfold alongside the main story, and serve to add more options for your adventures in Palia. But you will not miss out on progress, rewards, or gameplay if you do not romance an NPC.

Instead of a 'romance' option for NPC's, could we get a "friend' path"—you know, for those of us who want a deeper relationship with a character but don't want to have to "marry" them in order to achieve it? I'm thinking like Persona 4—the romance options there could also end in a friendship option instead, but you still have a very similar story arc.

Absolutely! In fact, the “main” story arc for each NPC is unlocked through the friendship system. The romance is intended to be a separate arc that players can engage with completely optionally. Completing the romance portion of the story adds flavor and specificity to your relationship with the NPC but it will NOT affect your ability to complete their story arc. While we do want the romance to feel meaningful and satisfying, we don’t believe that close relationships need to be romantic in order to be meaningful. And neither do the citizens of Palia!

Will NPCs be tied to quests relating to skills? Are there lore reasons why certain NPCs are associated with certain skills?

One of the goals of the quest system is to introduce concepts to players within the context of the story and lore as a whole—instead of just having a popup explaining how to fish, you also get to talk to Einar and learn from him what he thinks about fishing in Palia! We have introduction quests for each skill that are designed to explain their meaning, and interactions with each of the NPCs who “leads” that skill planned for the future. Right now, we have…

  • Einar as your fishing friend
  • Auni as your bug buddy
  • Hassian as your hunting handler
  • Tish as your furniture making friend
  • Reth as your cooking companion
  • Hodari as your mining mentor
  • Badruu as your gardening guru
  • …and Ashura as your foraging friend!

Phew, that’s roll call! And yes, I did use “friend” three times. My thesaurus failed me.

Anyway! As of right now, a vast majority of quests actually aren’t repeatable. Narrative quests are handcrafted and unique, and any repeatable content should have enough variety and fun to them so it doesn’t end up too much as a mindless grind or chore to do.

When it comes to skills, the goal is that for players who are also interested in quests and NPC interaction, there will be content available for you to engage with, but that it won’t be a requirement to be besties with Badruu if you just want to garden on your own. (Though he certainly wants to be your friend!)

As for other quests already in the game, including friendship and romance: using your skills is often a major way for you to progress certain goals and storylines. We like to offer multiple different ways for certain quests to be completed, depending on how you like to play the game. Whether it’s charming your way to success or befriending someone with a cake you just baked, we want to be able to integrate other game mechanics to enrich your quest experience and interaction with the NPCs.

I know that we can romance NPCs, but since Palia is multiplayer, will we be able to designate other players as "friend", "best friend", or "partner"?

You will certainly be able to designate friends, but we aren't currently expecting to have additional options available at launch. We do expect to be considering extensions to the friendship system in the future in which closer relationships are expressed in a meaningful way, possibly even having an impact on gameplay.

How exactly would it work if more than one player wants to romance more than one of the NPCs? Like how would that look like? Would it interfere with anything?

You can romance as many of the eligible NPCs as you want. We are still determining exactly how other NPCs acknowledge these relationships. Our goal is to balance realism with the fantasy of getting to explore multiple relationships in a low pressure setting. So in most cases, “dating around” probably won’t be talked about that much, though the player will have a way to signal who they are dating to other NPCs, and those NPCs may have positive or negative responses to the player being involved in particular romances, but we aren’t currently pursuing storylines involving jealousy or “cheating.” We really value giving players the chance to play the way they want to play, and exploring relationships is a big part of that!

In a multiplayers' setting, if several players want to romance the same NPC in a village, how is it determined who will succeed in being a boyfriend or girlfriend to the NPC?

This is a great question, and one we’ve thought about quite a bit. While most of the story and activities in Palia are meant to be experienced cooperatively, when it comes to romance we think consent and comfort is key. For this reason, players will not be competing with each other to date certain characters, and those NPCs will never mention dating another player to you. As all romance quest lines are single player, we simply treat you like you are the sole protagonist in those quest lines and conversations. This is the same for friendship quest lines as well, so that you can experience those stories at your own pace and develop your relationships with these NPCs naturally. As for different types of relationships, we are very interested in exploring more of those in the future!

Will there be consequences for our actions? Like choices and events that we can't undo and permanently change our gameplay?

NPCs *will* remember your past choices and respond accordingly. How far we will go in making these types of choices affect the main storyline is TBD. We do want to do choice based content for our main storyline, but these may be group decisions as opposed to individual choices. Currently, individual choices mostly impact how NPCs view you, and those create some small branches and additional options in friendship and romance content.

Will romanceable NPCs assume the player is trying to romance them after a certain friendship level, or will there be an item to trigger that?

Romances will be triggered by giving romantic gifts after you have reached the appropriate friendship level. Additionally, you can max out friendship with any NPC without starting a romance track with them. We want romance to always feel opt in and to support close non-romantic friendships as a valid track.

I understand that dating and romancing NPCs is a feature in this game. Will same-sex romances be in the game?

Players are able to romance any NPC they want regardless of gender.

Do NPCs have birthdays?

NPCs do have birthdays, as well as unique Palian astrological signs. We are exploring different ways of having those birthdays surfaced and celebrated by the community, and hope to share more details with you soon!

If we complete an NPC’s questline that we end up loving, will future updates expand or include them again?

EmbrasAshes: Don’t worry! The villagers of Palia will continue to appear throughout the world even beyond quests. You’ll still be able to converse with them, interact with them, and even visit their homes. While there will be a set amount of quests at launch, we do plan to add additional friendship and romance content to the existing villagers, as well as more quests in general that are sure to involve your favorite ones.

 

I know dating and marrying NPCs is a thing, but will you be able to marry another player? I'd love to play this game with my partner and share that aspect with them in the in-game world as well…**

 

Vega, Senior Narrative Designer: Not currently, but this is something we're looking into ways to support in the future! Of course, you're always free to use Kilima Village as a venue for your nuptials or reception even before we get systems in to support this 💐

 

AmeliaMarz, Senior Community Lead: Might we suggest the gazebo near the village center?

 

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What does marrying an NPC mean, gameplay-wise? Are there any benefits or special things you can do when you are married that you could otherwise not?

 

Vega, Senior Narrative Designer: You can't currently marry an NPC. You can, however, romance and date NPCs. Once you reach a certain level with the NPC you're romancing, you'll have the chance to exchange pins with them- sort of like going steady! Wearing these pins will give you bonus increases to relationship points you earn with those specific NPCs whose pins you're wearing, and other NPCs will comment on your equipped pins. Also, the further you develop your relationship with NPCs, the more story content you unlock!

 

Looking at the handful (okay, big handful) of NPCs currently announced, it seems a very small number, even for a village.

  • Will there be other named NPCs added that we can friend, and for those wanting to … the possibility of romance?
  •  Will there be unnamed NPCs added to help make the world more alive?
  • Will there be more added down the line as the story progresses?

 

Vega, Senior Narrative Designer: This is a great opportunity to talk about how we think about creating NPCs! While we do have a list of post-launch NPCs we're planning on, we always want to make sure that the NPCs present in Palia feel rich and meaningful, over abundant and nondescript. Taking the time to make sure they have deep backstories and connections with other NPCs is very important to us. This includes building both new romance options as well as a lot of new friendship options in the narrative, as well.

 

With that in mind, our list of potential NPCs is growing all the time! There’s also an opportunity to leave the door open for more NPCs based on where the community spends their time. Player feedback can influence the kinds of NPCs we add in the future!

 

And as for unnamed NPCs wandering around, with some rare exceptions, every NPC you meet in Kilima will be named and have full friendship quest lines and content associated with them. When we branch out into bigger and more populated maps, we may introduce generic NPCs to help flesh out busier areas.

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