Pariah is a first-person shooter computer game developed by Digital Extremes, co-developers of the Unreal franchise. It was released on May 3, 2005 for Windows and Xbox. It uses a modified version of the Unreal engine and the Havok physics engine. A demo featuring the multiplayer portion of the game was released half a month before the game. Pariah received mixed reviews from critics.
Pariah features standard first-person shooter gameplay, largely influenced by the Unreal franchise, particularly Unreal 2 (whose game engine Pariah is based on). The single-player and multi-player game feature drivable vehicles that may be used in combat. The game's most remarkable feature is the use of collectible Weapon Energy Cores with which to upgrade the player's weapons, giving them additional features and greater power. Each weapon in the game can be upgraded a total of 3 times.
Pariah notably omits to explain key background information about the plot and the in-game universe from the player, and thus much of the story progresses without any context or background for the player to identify with. Even at the end of the game, many key plot points remain largely unexplained, leaving it up to the player to conjecture as to what really happened.
The game takes place 30 years after mankind fought a devastating war against an enemy known as "The Shroud". Exactly who or what the Shroud are is never actually explained. At the end of the game they are shown to be hairless humans with corpse-white skin and highly advanced technology, although whether they are aliens, terrorists, mutants, or something else is never clearly revealed. Supposedly, the Shroud were vanquished 30 years ago, but their reappearance towards the end of the game shows that this is not true.
In the wake of the war, a large portion of the Earth is now an uncivilized wasteland known as "the Zone", inhabited by Scavengers, the violent descendants of prisoners and convicts who were released by the Shroud during the war. Human civilization is now controlled by a government known as the Alliance. According to the game manual, the Alliance mostly live in off-world colonies on other planets, but this is never shown or mentioned in the game.