Amazon's New World promises to be an intriguing play for anyone interested in art and design. Set for release on September 28 2021 and developed by Amazon Games, the upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) promises to deliver players a thrilling open-world filled with danger and opportunity where they can explore, build, craft and battle as an adventurer shipwrecked on the supernatural island of Aeternum.
The tech giant's latest stab at crafting a hit PC game hasn't had the easiest road to release. In fact, Amazon's New World was originally slated to land in August 2020, before being delayed to Spring 2021, and then August 2021. Players won't need to pay a subscription fee to explore New World, just a one-time payment of $39.99 for the standard edition. In-game extras like skins, decorations and pets can be found in the in-game store.
Below, we've summarised everything that artists and designers need to know about Amazon's New World and its fantasy setting. Including Aeternum's historical influences, its visual style and the creatures you'll encounter as you play the game. We even spoke to the game's art directors to find out how it was developed and designed.
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What inspired the world of Amazon's New World?
Amazon's New World and its setting are loosely inspired by the 17th century. Often referred to as the Age of Exploration and Discovery, this was a time when explorers would venture out from their homelands and discover new environments. "We wanted players to have that sense of exploration," says Amazon Games' associate art director Sojin Hwang, "adventuring into the unknown." The 17th century provided a jumping-off point for Aeternum's supernatural side.
Players will see the myths and legends of various cultures throughout history come to life in the game, including ghosts, monsters and all manner of mysterious phenomena. "The overall art direction wanted to have this contrast being grounded in reality while also embracing the supernatural and the fantasy elements that go with that," adds Hwang.
How will Amazon's New World look?
"I think players will be amazed by how beautiful and massive the world is. It's visually stunning and magical, but also dangerous at the same time," promises Hwang. The art team at Amazon Games' have worked to make Aeternum an immersive environment that players will enjoy exploring despite its many dangers. With floating obelisks, glowing plants, ghosts, zombies and fantastical creatures among New World's many supernatural elements, players will find something unusual around every corner.
Colour has been carefully curated throughout New World, where the art team has used it to imply different aspects of the game and its gameplay. For example, red signifies corruption and players soon learn that any character with red wrappings or emissive around them is an enemy. Blue, on the other hand, signifies the Lost, another faction of enemies throughout New World. "In general, readability and variety of the world are very important to us," says Hwang. "We want the important elements to stand out and for players to feel like each place they visit feels unique and special."
What enemies will I encounter in Amazon's New World?
Once players reach level 10 they will have the choice of joining three factions: the militaristic Marauders, the secretive Syndicate, or the fanatical Covenant. Joining a faction allows players to become part of a company, fight wars and participate in events, but don't forget that once you've chosen your faction there's no turning back. Players will also encounter four kinds of non-playable enemies throughout New World:
- Angry Earth: Heavily inspired by wild animals, but with extensive exposure to Azoth energy, these creatures have become enhanced and altered. They are more than ready to fight both the invading corruption and adventurers. The art team focused on how Azoth has altered the creatures' original forms throughout the design process, making sure to keep elements of their true form.
- Ancients: A mystery lost to time, the Ancients have left skeleton warriors equipped with ancient armour and weapons guarding many of their ruins and temples. To design the ancient creatures the art team took inspiration from some of earth’s oldest cultures, ancient Mayan, Aztec, and Egyptian with their abundance of artefacts.
- Corrupted: Servants of an ancient and unknowable force of destruction, these enemies are made immortal by an evil force that has mutated and twisted their appearance. Corruption itself is a tar-like substance that gravity pulls up, creating a dripping that flows upwards. With that in mind, the art team designed some of their most horrific looking creatures for this faction.
- Lost: Soulless, undead beings, these creatures are caught somewhere between life and death in a never-ending cycle of pain and torment. For this faction, the art team's main goal was to portray how they died. In fact, narrative and storytelling was a big part of developing each creature concept.
Is there much visual variety in Amazon's New World?
Players will share Aeternum with many other players simultaneously, meaning a massive amount of content is required to keep things feeling fresh and varied, not to mention the fact that every player wants to look unique. The art team had to come up with drops for many of our expeditions, quest, events, and boss fights. "Players should be able to craft or pick up as rewards different themed outfits and weapons. We wanted them to look very unique and creative," says Hwang.
Visual variety wasn't something the art team had to force. In fact, they had a plethora of themes and visual ideas to pull from. "Because Aeternum is a fictional place where many different people have come to the island, we draw a lot of inspiration from cultures throughout history," explains art director Charles Bradbury, "it's also a supernatural island full of horror and majestic wonder, which again pulls a lot of inspiration from folktales and legends around the world. There are so many different visual themes and ideas that our challenge is more picking which ones to focus on first and what to save for later."
Where can I find out more about Amazon's New World?
The best place to find all the information you need on Amazon's New World is on the official website, where you'll find updates, release notes, screenshots and trailers. There's also a host of articles explaining how various aspects of the game will work, including factions, PvP combat, housing and more.