In 2023, Amazon Games announced upcoming titles from internationally renowned franchises, grew studio teams in Montreal, Orange County and San Diego, unveiled plans for a variety of new titles, expanded the entertaining worlds of existing games, popped up at events throughout the industry, and worked hard to give back and expand inclusion in the games industry. For a synopsis of the past year, check out the highlights below.
New Chapters for International Franchises
While Amazon Games made a lot of news throughout the year, nothing was bigger than the announcements of two massive and beloved franchises joining our development and publishing portfolio.
Amazon Games and Embracer Group’s Middle-earth Enterprises revealed they’re working together on a new The Lord of the Rings game
Amazon Games Orange County began work on a new massively multiplayer online (MMO) game based on The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. In collaboration with Embracer Group and Middle-earth Enterprises, the upcoming game will be an open-world MMO adventure in a persistent world set in Middle-earth, featuring the beloved stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings literary trilogy.
While the project is in early development, you can read more here about how Amazon Games Orange County—the studio behind the popular MMO New World—is approaching this ambitious project. With many J.R.R. Tolkien mega-fans on the team, the studio is excited to put its expertise to work crafting The Lord of the Rings MMO game that so many have been waiting for.
Amazon Games and Crystal Dynamics began development to publish next chapter in iconic ‘Tomb Raider’ series
In 2023, Crystal Dynamics began development of a new multiplatform Tomb Raider title, with Amazon Games providing full support as global publisher.
The as-yet-untitled new Tomb Raider game will be a single-player, narrative-driven adventure that continues Lara Croft’s story in the Tomb Raider series. It also promises to be the biggest, most expansive Tomb Raider game to date, featuring all the elements that have made Tomb Raider one of the most revered franchises in gaming. This includes giving players control of hero Lara Croft in an environment that rewards exploration and creative pathfinding, with mind-bending puzzles to solve, and a wide variety of enemies to face and overcome.
Original New Titles in Development
THRONE AND LIBERTY previews
In 2023 global media got their hands on a preview build of THRONE AND LIBERTY, the upcoming free-to-play, multiplatform crossplay MMORPG that takes place in the vast open world of Solisium. Developed by NCSOFT, Amazon Games will publish THRONE AND LIBERTY in North America, South America, Europe and Japan on PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.
In mid-June at Summer Game Fest, Amazon Games not only unveiled a trailer for THRONE AND LIBERTY, but offered media their first shot to demo the game. MMORPG.com called THRONE AND LIBERTY “one of the prettiest MMOs I’ve ever played,” and ComicBook.com said the game is “definitely a title that fans should keep an eye on in the future.”
Blue Protocol previews, new trailer and launch in Japan
Blue Protocol, the free-to-play anime-inspired multiplayer online action RPG, is coming to the West after launching in Japan to great fanfare. Blue Protocol pairs a beautiful world that feels like an immersive anime with online gameplay that pushes the limits of multiplayer action. The game is being developed by Bandai Namco Online Inc. and Bandai Namco Studios, and will be published by Amazon Games in the West for PC, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5.
Off to a roaring start, Blue Protocol reached total player and concurrent player milestones faster than any other game in Bandai Namco Online’s history in the PC online service market for Japan.
In late July the first preview impressions for the Western version of Blue Protocol began to publish worldwide. Headlines like IGN’s “BLUE PROTOCOL Preview: Living Out my Anime Action Dreams” and ComicBook.com’s “BLUE PROTOCOL Preview: Amazon’s Most Promising MMO Yet” set the tone as the game heads towards launch.
Along with all the previews, we also unveiled the latest Blue Protocol trailer, ‘Fight for the Future.’
Our Games Grew
New World turned two!
2023 was an exciting year for New World. Not only did the New World Team create the game’s first paid major expansion, in total it delivered four new Seasons to players across Aeternum and celebrated its second anniversary!
The biggest news of the New World year was the October release of New World: Rise of the Angry Earth. The game’s first paid expansion, this major release included the story behind the fall of First Light and the rise of the Elysian Wilds. The expansion also included additional new rewards, artifacts, adventure, and even new mounts.
In September, New World turned two, and our Team reflected on some memorable moments from the last two years.
“Ah, the New World journey! I still remember the day I joined this epic adventure. It was like being handed the keys to a realm of endless possibilities”
—Eun Jeong (EJ) Kim, Senior UX Designer, New World
“A particularly fun memory I have from working on New World was creating Turkulon. The team had joked for a while about how fun a turkey that shoots lasers would be, and I had a slow afternoon one Friday so I took that idea and ran with it.”
—Patrick Smedley, Lead Seasons Designer, New World
“On behalf of the entire team, I wanted to extend a sincere thanks to our amazing community of players: your passion and feedback are equally as deserving of praise for the game that New World is today and also for the exciting future ahead of it.”
—Scot Lane, Game Director, New World
Finally, in addition to the fall launch of New World: Rise of the Angry Earth, the New World Team kept updates and expansions coming all year long. Early in the Spring, players were treated to New World Season 1 – Fellowship & Fire, which included the Empyrean Forge Expedition. In the Summer, players were welcomed to Season 2 – Blood of the Sands, where adventurers discovered the pivotal and ancient new group named in the season title. After the Season 3 launch of New World: Rise of the Angry Earth, New World introduced Season 4 –Eternal Frost. In the final update of 2023, players were able to celebrate Winter Convergence and team up to delve into the Glacial Tarn Expedition in pursuit of the Varangian Knight Ser Loth.
Lost Ark as well as Arkesia expanded and celebrated one year anniversary
In 2023, Lost Ark celebrated its first anniversary, and the Heroes of Arkesia were treated to major monthly updates, starting with January’s Lost Ark X The Witcher crossover event. Including the January update, Lost Ark gave players 12 new content updates throughout the year, and added new classes like the Artist, Slayer, Aeromancer, and Souleater to the character roster. Additionally, Lost Arkintroduced new continents like Elgacia and Voldis, and several new raids, dungeons, and events.
While Lost Ark Content Roadmaps dropped throughout the year, Heroes ended 2023 with the first adventure-filled Roadmap for 2024, including the Light of Destiny – Story Quests. The Lost Ark’s location is getting closer to being revealed, and Sacria is investigating the events in Pleccia. The Light of Destiny update will reveal the location of the Lost Ark, which brings us closer to the end of Story Chapter 1, answers important questions of the journey, and brings players to a new location.
2023 was a big year for Lost Ark, and we don’t expect things to slow down in 2024.
Prime Gaming Delivered the Goods
In 2023, the Prime Gaming benefit of Amazon Prime membership, saved members money every day with exclusive deals, free games, and overall quality entertainment. Prime Gaming offerings, which rotated monthly, delivered free games ranging from Ghostwire: Tokyo to Bloodrayne: Fresh Bites and Invincible Presents: Atom Eve, to free game content for titles including Destiny 2 and Madden NFL 24.
Giving Back and Expanding Inclusion
At Amazon Games, we’re not just committed to delivering the best in digital games, we’re also obsessed with the people behind our products and player community. Here are some of the ways we worked to make a positive impact on the game industry and our community in 2023.
Hosted more than 22 volunteer and employee engagement events including: Earth Day, Global Month of Volunteering, and an event with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).
Partnered with IXT on cultural events and donated funds for Women’s History Month, APAHM, Movember, International Women’s Day, and Global Month of Volunteering, among others.
Raised over $350K for organizations including: WIGI, Gay Gaming Pros, LatinX in Gaming, Black Girls Code, Child’s Play, CHOC, and Games for Change.
Became lead sponsor of the newly launched Women in Games International (WIGI) Mentorship program. With participants from 78 countries, the program supports groups such as LatinX in Games, Black Girls Code, and Gay Gaming Pros.
Sponsored several additional events: including Women in Games@, BEN@, Indigenous@, Asians@, Pasifika@, as well as hosted the Grace Hopper Conference Women’s Dinner.
2023 is now in the books. In the year ahead, Amazon Games looks forward to increasing momentum as we move ahead in our mission to develop, publish, and nurture the best in games entertainment for you again this year.