The news won’t shock anyone who’s been watching Lost Ark inch its way across the world the last
few many years and who noticed Amazon’s quiet partnership with Smilegate last year: Amazon is indeed publishing Lost Ark here in the west, and launch is expected this fall. The companies are planning an NDA-shrouded technical alpha test starting tomorrow and running through June 16th, all on Steam; you can sign up for that right now, though it won’t have all of the game’s content right away. “We are testing our live services for the first time and tester experiences will not represent Launch or even Beta gameplay quality,” the companies say.
As for the business model? Amazon doesn’t mean to make the same mistake twice, though it doesn’t expressly state it will avoid anything pay-to-win:
“We understand the business model is a primary concern for players in the West. In all regions, Lost Ark is a free to play game with optional in-game purchases. We want to assure players that the Western version of Lost Ark will be a fair, fun, and a great gaming experience where in-game purchases are completely optional. We think it is important that players have a path to acquire all items in our version of Lost Ark without having to make a purchase with few exceptions. (For example, Founders Packs, services like name changes, etc.) We are still working through the details with Smilegate and will share more details later this summer along with our Prime Gaming benefits.”
The founders packs are up already; they run $24.99 to $99.99 and offer beta access, access to the headstart, currency, titles, and a smattering of exclusives and account perks.
Amazon’s localization will also ensure the game – which they are referring to as an “MMO-ARPG” that boasts “millions of active players” already – is a bit different from the version currently live in Korea, Japan, and Russia. “We’re also actively working on changes that we believe will make our audience feel more at home in Lost Ark,” Amazon says. “Some areas of focus have been character creation, knowing players of all types want a character they feel represents them – (such as more options for default costumes, hairstyles and skin tones). Additionally, we’re working to increase NPC diversity throughout the world of Arkesia. We have been working closely with Smilegate RPG to make changes that reflect our audience.”
You’ve likely forgotten some of the details about the game, as we’ve all been watching it since 2014 (!), but the current pitch for the game is that it’s a Diablo-tinged game that sends players to “traverse a realm overrun by demonic forces to battle their way to the coveted Lost Ark,” with an initial 14 classes, multiple paths to gearing, player strongholds, plenty o’ PvP, and an ARPG-style combat system.
We spoke to the team earlier this week; stay tuned for that conversation!