New World and new hopes

newworld

Last night the relatively new Amazon Game Studios unveiled its projects at last and did the unexpected: It announced that one of the three games would be a huge MMO called New World.

Even with the studio snapping up MMO devs, I didn’t have high hopes that we’d see anything more than a survival sandbox or MOBA. Instead, it unveiled what I think is a very solid line-up of titles: a 4v4 “sports brawler” called Breakaway, a last-man-standing survival title called Crucible, and the aforementioned New World. Obviously, it’s this last one that has me the most excited.

From the official description:

Carve your own destiny in New World, a massively multiplayer, open-ended sandbox game set in a living, cursed land. Choose how you play, what you do, and whom you work with or against in an evolving world that transforms with the seasons, weather, and time of day. Band together to reclaim monster-haunted wilds and build thriving civilizations, or strike out on your own, surviving in the face of supernatural terrors and murderous player bandits. Focused on emergent gameplay and rich social features – including deep Twitch integration with broadcaster-led events, achievements, and rewards – your only limit in the New World is your ambition.

Breakaway was the game that got the most press, probably because it’s closest to actual completion, but the mere announcement of a new, big-budget MMO is of significant value to the industry. It’s been years now since a major western MMO was announced, one with the backing of a big studio and deep pockets. Even long-time MMO studios such as Daybreak and Blizzard had cancelled promising projects (Titan, EQNext) in favor of plucking lower-hanging fruit instead.

I was just floored last night at this announcement, an act that was soon followed by some rather alarming hooting, hollering, and fist-pumping. Man, we MMO fans needed something like this. We needed to see that the industry wasn’t just reverting to small crowdfunded indie MMOs and eastern studios, but still had hope with the bigger studios as well. And it seems to me that Amazon could’ve gone in so many directions with its games, and yet it made a choice to go with this. Rock on.

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There’s a video too that should give a better idea too, with some concept art to boot.

I certainly want to hear and see more of New World before reading too much into its description, but it certainly sounds interesting. The 17th century-meets-supernatural angle could be potentially neat, although my mind worries about this period in regard to issues with North American native tribes and the conflict with Europeans.

From the description, New World sounds like a mash-up of survival sandbox and a larger, more persistent world. I like some of the details it mentions, such as the changing seasons, choice, and “rich social features,” while the mention of “player bandits” has me a mite concerned that the team is making the mistake of creating a massive gankbox that will turn off PvE players.

We need more information and we’re just going to have to wait to find out more, but it’s a good start and a welcome way to end the week.

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