Wednesday, October 27, 2021

New Worlds is influenced by many similar games

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Fans of MMOs have a rough time of it. Sure, there are plenty of options out there fulfilling all manner of niches, but if you’re looking for something new and fresh it can be a long wait for innovation. Most of the big dogs are starting to show their age, and can be pretty formulaic when coming up with new tricks each expansion cycle.

How do you go about throwing your hat in the ring without falling by the wayside like so many failed contenders over the years? We chat with Amazon Games studio head Rich Lawrence and New World game director Scot Lane to get their take.

That’s what makes new releases like Amazon Games’ New World so exciting. A potential new player in the genre can really spice things up, reinvigorating the scene with different takes on everything from combat and player agency, to how the economy should work. But it’s also vital to iterate on the more traditional features refined by the best MMOs over the past three decades.

“Our team has spent a tremendous – some would say disturbing – amount of time playing MMOs,” Lawrence says, “it’s a genre we love playing. There are elements we love about everything from Ultima Online and Everquest, to more modern entries like Guild Wars, Black Desert Online, and EVE Online.” Lawrence also points to games like Dark Age of Camelot for “building a lot of meaning into the ‘sides’ of PvP”, single-player games for examples of good action combat, and World of Warcraft for its “tremendous dedication to production quality”.

Fishing by a lake in Gate Keeper enemy standing guard with a two-handed sword in WoW and Diablo-inspired MMO, New World

Of course there are plenty of inspirations outside of MMORPGs, too. “When designing games you take inspiration from almost every game you’ve played, whether you realise it or not,” Lane explains. “I’ve personally found inspiration from so many games that it’s hard to name a few, but the top would be World of Warcraft, Dark Souls, Diablo, Guild Wars, and even DayZ a little.”

The team believes that even when crafting something new, you need to be aware of the history drawn up by the gaming monoliths that form the foundation of the genre. However, Lane adds that “While we take inspiration from other games, we aren’t trying to recreate what other games have done just because they did them.” There’s a fine line to walk here, between being inspired by and iterating on the more traditional experiences players will recognise as MMO gameplay, while providing enough innovation to reinvigorate what can feel like a somewhat stale scene.

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