Amazon Created Their Own Game Studio–New MMO on the Horizon
Back in October, 2018, news started circulating the Internet that Amazon had not only started their own game studio, but were working on a massive new MMO called New World that would release likely sometime in 2020.
New World, exclusive to PC, is set in the Atlantic Ocean during the 1600s, in an alternate reality, and features themes of exploration and colonization that were relevant at the time, with British-inspired ships, gear, and characters; players start on the unexplored island(s) with no materials or supplies, similar to Rust, and can either work together or fight and compete for resources. While not all the details have been completely fleshed-out, it seems that the game will include PvP, and it’s been hinted that players will start in random groups and will be competing against other teams for land, unless they want to go solo, which I imagine is infinitely harder.
Players will be exploring lush green meadows, densely-packed wooded forests, and warm sunny fields. While the graphics themselves are nothing extraordinary, the art style is very painterly and reminiscent of Guild Wars 2, and if the pictures and videos made public aren’t lying to us, they’ve gone for a very attention-to-detail-focused look that could make exploration an absolute delight (that is, if everything wasn’t trying to kill you). In the ongoing conflict between Graphics vs. FPS, it seems they’ve sided with frame rates by going for slightly more cartoonish visuals, but hopefully they maintain the attention to detail shown in the screenshots and trailers. I’ve always maintained that attention to detail should supersede graphics, but that’s just one writer’s opinion.
It’s not just players; according to their beta sign-up page, as well as their Amazon page listing, there are raiders that players will have to fight off, wild beasts such as bears, and zombie-like monsters that inhabit the island.
Although the game has not yet been released, there has been some backlash about the zombie-like inhabitants, called The Corrupted, which some interpreted as an allegory for the dehumanization of indigenous peoples. However, studio-head Patrick Gilmore responded with genuine shock when confronted about The Corrupted, responding, “That’s not really been the focus at all. The lore of the game is that there’s a tainted aspect to this world, that it’s a Garden of Eden that has fallen from grace.” Of course, it’s ultimately up to the player to decide how they interpret a game or its message, if it even has one, and it’s not my, Polygon’s, or Gilmore’s job to tell the player how to feel about a certain part of the game; so I say to each their own.
New World will be very resource-based and encourages players to stockpile their supplies and protect them well to build the ultimate fortress. The game was designed with the intention that griefing and criminal gangs within the game will be punished by other players on the server… street-justice style. After a player commits a crime, like destroying another player’s build or murdering other players of their faction, they will have a “Criminal” label slapped onto their name tag, and other players can place bounties on them or simply hunt them down for revenge and / or fun, making for a system where, for every action, there is likely to be an equal and opposite reaction. This also means that, when you step outside of the safe zone (criminals are the only ones who can be harmed inside the safe zones), there’s always a lingering feeling of possible danger, as you never know when there will be an attack or when the sh*t will hit the fan.
An official release date has not been set, but the game is currently accepting beta testers on Amazon Game Studios. Reviews have been coming in on Amazon, which are open to anyone who wants to see if the game is worth their time or not based on player-feedback.
At any rate, it should be safe to say that Amazon developing their own games from here on out will have a large effect on the gaming market as we know it, and who knows what the future holds for their new studio. What do you think? Is this just another survival game copying others like Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved, or is this an exciting new title that you’re genuinely hyped to experience? Let me know in the comments below if you’re excited for New World, and what you think of Amazon developing and publishing its own games.