This is, bar none, the column I hate doing most on a regular basis. None of the games I highlight in here is something that I actually like pointing to; they’re games that people like, games that may very well be someone’s absolute favorites, and yet they’re also games where the future looks difficult if not outright bad. A cloudy future is never a good thing, and this particular column does not make it all right.
But we’re still here in the early days of 2018, and that means it’s still the right time to look at the games we might not see around next year. For various reasons, these are the games that already look like they’re in trouble, instead of absolute face-shattering surprises like a couple of the shutdowns last year.
On Monday of last week, we reported that a video of the anticipated and rather mysterious New World from Amazon had been leaked… and the game’s Amazon landing page vanished at the same time, sending out missives to everyone who’d registered to follow it. In what is probably good news, it turns out the page is back again and none the worse for wear. So now you get to pick your own explanation for what happened to it.
- It was never supposed to go down at all and was entirely an accident, and the timing of that and the video is pure coincidence.
- The removal and replacement represents a big shift of some sort behind the scenes and the leaked video was before the change, thus meaning that the leak may not bear much resemblance to the final product.
- It was already cancelled but somehow the page got turned back on by mistake.
- Someone thought it was Breakaway.
Which one is correct? We don’t know yet! Perhaps keeping our eyes on the page will produce some answers.
This week should serve as a helpful reminder that just because a game is in testing does not mean that it’s actually primed for launch. Two high-profile games this week have gone from early testing to a hiatus or cancellation. Breakaway is definitely on a hiatus that may well rhyme with “cancelled,” and The Amazing Eternals is paused and presumed dead. Whether this is an acknowledgement that the market is oversaturated with games of this type or just that those two titles were more than was needed is left as an exercise for the readers.
Other less cancel-y beta news also existed this week, though, so that’s good!
We also had a discussion about when a game crosses the line from “testing” to “launch.” That isn’t exactly beta news, but it’s relevant.
A list of titles in testing? Sure, we’ve got that down below. Did something jump test phases without us noticing? Has a cash shop opened in a game we don’t know about? Have we missed a game? Did Timmy fall in something other than a well (seriously, that kid never fell in a well)? Let us know in the comments!
Is Breakaway dead? We don’t know for sure, but the rumors started flying yesterday, and the latest official word certainly reads like a death certificate. In the announcement, Amazon has announced that Breakaway is going on hiatus while the core gameplay experience gets retooled, with no actual timeframe for when this will take place. It’s possible that it’s temporary, but it’s also possible that this will result in the game quietly slipping from memory.
There’s no word about how this will affect any other titles in development or even the core team behind the game (or Amazon’s other games), although the prospect of wildly retooling what was originally meant to be the first launch title has to sting a bit. We’ll keep our ears to the ground for more information, but don’t expect more news to be forthcoming quickly.
Kotaku is reporting that Amazon has “basically canceled” Breakaway, with two sources confirming that the game is over – on “indefinite hiatus,” one said, with the potential to return in another format in the future.
The game was announced by Amazon’s fledgling studio last fall following a drawn-out series of Twitter teases. It was essentially a 4v4 brawler that boasted heavy Twitch integration.
It is not clear whether other in-progress Amazon games — like the MMO sandbox New World or the unnamed game John Smedley’s old Hero’s Song team was picked up to work on — are affected. Kotaku writes that “no layoffs are planned” for Breakaway’s team, in any case.
When I first went for my hands-on appointment to try out Amazon Game Studios‘ upcoming mythological sports brawler Breakaway at PAX West, I didn’t realize I would break Amazon! All I did was touch the B key as instructed, and everything went dark: The circuits blew. But once all the computers were back online, I was able to jump in and give the game a test run, and I am glad I did.
Unlike brawlers or arena shooters that are just, you know, shooting other people, this game focuses on the aspect of a sports game. While you can win the round by wiping all of your opponents at the same time, the two other win conditions involve the ball; either you score a goal or you keep the ball on the opponent’s side of the field when the four-minute timer runs out. Perhaps because of this sport team aspect, I got more interested in Breakaway and look forward to playing it more.
Update: Amazon has apparently removed the trailer following intense criticism.
Breakaway has a fresh new trailer out for Gamescom today, along with a run-down of all its toons. You’ll recall the game from its slow-cook reveal last fall as one of the new titles Amazon Game Studios is currently building out — this one’s the stream-centric 4v4 online brawler.
“Breakaway is a team battle sport that blends the speed, strategy, and teamwork of sports in a competitive multiplayer action game, and is being developed with constant feedback and input from the community. Amazon Game Studios has partnered closely with Twitch to design the game to be as fun to watch as it is to play, and has added special features to help broadcaster engage their audiences.”
Check out all the new assets from the con, and make sure you’re signed up for the alpha!
Why will you be playing Breakaway? The latest trailer for the game is all about how you’ll be playing the game to win and to smash the heck out of your opposition. And you’ll be doing it quickly. And streaming it for the adulation of adoring fans. And then, possibly, doing a double backflip on a BMX bike before jumping on to a skateboard that is inexplicably perched on an entire stack of fidget spinners.
Are bikes still a thing? We’re not sure. The point is that it’s a trailer about the competitive side and about making big explosions and getting noticed. You can check out the trailer just below if that sounds like your jam, or if you’re just hoping that it does actually feature that aforementioned backflip on a bike.
It has now been seven months since John Smedley shut down Pixelmage Games and took his team over to Amazon Game Studios to set up shop in San Diego. We’ve been greatly curious about what game he’s been heading — and if it is an MMO — but until recently Smed has stayed out of the spotlight to get work done.
This is why we’ve perked up to see him sit down with VentureBeat for an extended interview about his new employer and his take on the direction that the industry is heading. He has a lot of opinions on just about everything, ranging from virtual reality to Twitch integration to the rise of e-sports.
If you’re hoping that the notoriously chatty Smedley was going to reveal what game his studio is making, you’re in for disappointment. He indicates that he’s very excited about the project but is tight-lipped about specifics.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Gloria Victis, Path of Exile, Breakaway, Dauntless, Splatoon 2, DarkEden Origin, EVE Online, World of Warcraft, Ultima Online, Skyforge, Trove, Final Fantasy XI, Elder Scrolls Online, Overwatch, and Path of Exile, all waiting for you after the break!
As the field of MOBAs and competitive e-sports titles becomes increasingly crowded, studios are turning to more… unorthodox methods to attract viewers and attention. Broadcast your tournament on cable TV? Recruit Steven Seagal for some reason? It’s been done, so very done, which is why Amazon Game Studios called up its friends in the Dutch navy and asked politely if they could borrow a battleship to host a Breakaway game match.
OK, so it was an “offshore patrol vessel,” but the stunt actually happened. Two e-sports teams came aboard the HNLMS Holland for a head-to-head match in the online sports game. The devs said that to their knowledge, this was the first e-sports match to take place on a battleship at sea.
While you ponder what lunacy marketers will come up with next — e-sports in a volcano! E-sports on death row! E-sports between presidential candidates! — you can check out the highlight reel after the break and marvel that you have lived to see such wonders.
Last September, the internet was buzzing about Amazon Game Studios’ big reveals, including Breakaway, which the company teased for weeks ahead of time. It turned out not to be an MMO — we’ve got New World for that fix — but a “mythological sport brawler,” a 4v4, third-person MOBA-lite built from the ground up for streaming. Since then, the game’s run a few alpha tests and put the feedback to work, overhauling the characters one by one. Jarra was first up among the warriors, and now AGS has a huge dev blog out detailing changes to the rest.
For starters, several of the warrior-archetype characters got renames (Spartacus to Argus, Anne Bonny to Kyra, and Morgan Le Fey to Korryn) and style buffs; the studio tweaked power ranges, control, strafing, buildables, text chat, replays, the relic running system, and the gold economy.
“Don’t worry – Breakaway’s still about fast action, strategic teamwork, and dunking on fools,” AGS says. “We listened to your feedback and made changes we believe only refine what makes Breakaway great.”
Cast your mind back to Christmas carols and unfortunate egg nog binges of late 2016, and you might recall that Amazon Games Studios was running its first title, Breakaway, through a short alpha test.
Clearly it was a beneficial test for the studio’s 4v4 brawler, as the devs said that they received a load of useful feedback for the game’s direction and development. “We identified four opportunities where we could tangibly change the gameplay for a better experience,” AGS said. “Give players better movement options, more options for combat capabilities, refine the buildable experience, and revisit the balance of gold in the game.”
As the team works on all of that, a new warrior steps onto Breakaway’s battlefield. This would be Jarra, the shadow huntress, a stealth assassin with low health and high burst DPS against single targets. The team announced her on a recent livestream, which you can watch below.