SGF 2024: Amazon unveils New World Aeternum, its console relaunch of the MMORPG


Ever wish New World were more cinematic – and more available on more platforms? Well, all of those things will be true come October 15th, 2024, as Amazon Games just formally announced New World Aeternum, what is effectively a rebrand and relaunch of the 2022 MMORPG on console – specifically, on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S – with some new content too.

Yes, Sony apparently leaked a slice of this news this morning (sigh), but there’s actually a lot more to it. MMO players will already know that Amazon Games has been talking up this huge announcement for New World for months now as speculation has run rampant, and the press event was confusing as the company’s PR had told us we’d be seeing an “unannounced game” at the SGF press preview earlier this week. New World, of course, is not a new or unannounced game. So what exactly is Aeternum? A content update? Expansion? The finale of a multi-stage Elder Scrolls Online-like or Final Fantasy XIV-esque reboot? Here’s the official announcement, straight from Amazon itself.

“Today, Amazon Games announced New World: Aeternum, a thrilling and content-rich action RPG featuring real-time combat and set in a vast and mysterious world where players have the freedom to choose how they shape their adventure. Console players can discover the delights and dangers of Aeternum for the first time, enjoying an enhanced experience that includes all the content from New World on PC, including the full base game and all past updates including the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion, in addition to a wealth of new content. New World: Aeternum introduces exciting new features for players on all platforms, including New World’s first-ever large-scale player vs. player zone, a challenging 10-player raid, end-game solo trials, an upgraded leveling experience, new character archetypes, a revamped dialogue system, and much more. Players can now experience Aeternum entirely on their own, or with other adventurers, through competitive and cooperative online cross-platform play. The game will launch on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on Oct. 15, 2024.”

You can see from the pitch that Amazon is trying to reposition the game as an “action RPG” on console, even though it is the same MMORPG we’ve all been playing on PC for the last few years, plus the new content and QOL additions. It will include full cross-platform play, so console players are not going to be split off into some weird fork of the MMORPG.

“New World: Aeternum has been specifically designed for consoles, with complete feature parity for PC players and cross-play functionality. Players will enjoy enhancements including target locking and aim assist, virtual cursor, controller navigation and accessibility features, and more.”

In fact, at one point, the fact sheet even plays down the game’s massively multiplayer nature: “Players can choose to explore Aeternum solo or co-op, using cross-platform play to team up with others.” Which is… technically true in an MMORPG, though that type of phrasing isn’t really used for the genre. Amazon told us that it hopes to lean in on the action RPG-qualities of the title on console without sidelining the multiplayer nature of the title. “The idea is to offer more options to players, but it will be entirely up to them on how to experience the game,” Amazon says, saying the reboot will “bring current players updates they’ve been asking for […] so there will be even more opportunities for group play.”

So what is that content, if you’re a not-so-patient PC player? Well, the release will include the new 10-person raid (with “three “increasingly difficult bosses”), solo trials for endgamers, the new PvP map, archetypes, a new starting experience, enhanced cinematics, swimming (finally!), new mounts, and so forth. The upgraded leveling experience appears to refer to the revamps already in the game; the archetypes, on the other hand, turn out to be sort of like premade builds: Soldier, Destroyer, Ranger, Musketeer, Occultist, Mystic, and Swordbearer.

Amazon is calling this a “comprehensive refresh of New World coming to consoles and PC […] packed with brand-new content and features, shaped by years’ worth of player feedback,” and it considers Aeternum a “value add” akin to the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion. Ultimately, it’s not exactly being marketed as an expansion, but it’s also not a fresh start, as players won’t be losing their characters or progress with the reboot, nor will existing players need to rebuy the game.

This version of the game will be available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Steam for $59.99, though there’s a $79.99 deluxe edition that includes a bear mount (yes, one of the mounts is bears) and armor skin. Additionally, console players who pre-order on the PlayStation and Xbox storefronts, plus all PC players who log into New World between now and the launch, will receive the Azoth Stalkerwolf mount.

Note that PC players who already purchased Rise of the Angry Earth will have access to Aeternum on PC at no extra cost on launch day, October 15th. Originally, it was not clear what happens to players who own the base game but didn’t pay for the expansion, but now the company has confirmed that ROTAE buyers will play Aeternum and base game PC players will continue to play the base game: “This free update will bring these players up to date with all of the new content in New World: Aeternum. Players that purchased the New World base game but have not gotten the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion will need to purchase the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion to get access to all of the content in New World: Aeternum but will still have access to everything in the base game. This means if you are playing or have played New World in the past you will not lose anything.”

We’ll have hands-on time with the game during E3 Summer Game Fest’s media-only portion this weekend, so look forward to more information next week. In the meantime, the gallery and video are worth a flip-through, as they include some nifty teasers – including swimming!

Amazon has now posted a landing page for the release, with a half-hour deep-dive from the devs. PC players will already be familiar with a lot of it, and there’s only a brief mention of the new raid, solo trials, and the FFA PvP map. It mostly looks like a game pitch for console players here.

Reddit, it probably goes without saying, is in absolute uproar, although most folks seem more baffled at the communication than at anything else – not helped by some websites confusingly reporting this as a shift to a co-op title, which it is not.

“This is like the worst communicated announcement ever. The fact, that there are people thinking NW is switching to single player/coop because of how badly this was explained is insane,” wrote on player.

“It’s insane how clunky it is to actually find out that there IS new shit coming, and that this ISN’T an update that transforms NW from an MMO to a solo/coop game, and that’s entirely on their communication around this,” wrote another.

Update 6/8
We’ve updated this morning with the Discord message from Amazon that confirms base game players on PC can continue to play the base game post-Aeternum and won’t lose anything, though they’ll need to upgrade to access post-Aeternum content. Moreover, the studio issued a statement that insists New World, the MMORPG-iest MMORPG that ever did walk this planet, somehow transcends the MMORPG label, not that it ever breathes the word MMO or MMORPG while reassuring MMO and MMORPG players it is still one. Again, as we said, nothing is really changing here but the marketing/messaging, which fortunately we are free to ignore. It’s still an MMORPG, and you’re still playing on MMORPG servers, and it also has solo content like every other MMO ever.

“We understand there is some confusion today around if New World: Aeternum will feel like the same genre of game as the New World you are playing today, and the answer is yes. New World has never fit perfectly into any label but the New World: Aeternum you will play in October will feel like the same genre of game as the New World you are playing today with lots of improvements, polish, and the opportunity to play with your friends who may be on Playstation, Xbox, or PC.”

Update 6/8
Our dedicated New World columnist Tyler has a full article up on the highs and lows of this announcement, sorting through the weird miscommunications as well as digging out the content promises that are going overlooked.
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