The Team that helped bring Lost Ark to the West looks back at two years of adventures in Arkesia.
“It's hard to believe that the Western version of Lost Ark, published by Amazon Games, is now two years old. We began work on the Western version of Lost Ark in the spring of 2020, right at the start of the pandemic. After initially developing and servicing our own in-house studio titles since Amazon Games was first founded, we couldn't imagine a better and more apt title to serve as the first game we published for a third-party studio than Lost Ark. While we had high hopes for the title, it wasn't an easy task to create and prepare teams to bring Lost Ark, already a huge success in Asia, to Western players and make it a service that lived up to our core value of "Customer Obsession." Smilegate RPG's trust and support throughout the process was integral to a successful launch. And as you can see from the game's credits page, over 200 people across 40 teams at Amazon Games worked together to ensure that Lost Ark launched in February 2022 with what is currently the fourth-highest concurrent player count in Steam history.
We've worked hard to bring four years of Korean Lost Ark updates and content to players in the West with as little delay as possible. In fact by mid-2024, the gap between the two regions will be as short as six months. While it's always exciting to get great content into the hands of Western players faster and see how they react, we've also found that sometimes faster releases can increase user fatigue and even make games more vulnerable to bots, which is never good for the player experience. During the past few years of working closely with Smilegate RPG, we’ve learned how to strike a balance of releasing content at an optimal cadence that continues to challenge and engage our players.
Since our first anniversary, we've done our best to reduce that fatigue, fight bots, and listen to and reflect on the voice of the community every week. As we enter our third year, we're going to take yet another leap forward. In 2024, we're preparing for another big year for Lost Ark, while continuing to listen to our users. To accomplish this, the teams at Amazon Games and Smilegate RPG met late last year to discuss plans for the entire year of 2024, and we couldn't be more excited to share updates soon. This direction would not have been possible without the active participation and suggestions of our player community. On behalf of all the teams at Amazon Games and Smilegate RPG, I would like to extend our sincere thanks.”
—Soomin Park, Franchise Leader, Lost Ark
“Having worked on Lost Ark since before it launched in the West, it’s been incredible to see how the game has grown and changed since my first day on the job. One of my favorite memories from the game’s second year was the release of Brelshaza Hard Mode—or more specifically, the weeks leading up to it. Once Brelshaza Hard Mode was in our internal test client, a group of eight Amazon team members joined up to try and clear the raid before release. Who wouldn’t want to grab the flex of the first clear in the West, right!? Though we had worked together before, we had never raided together as a group, and of course playing on a test client always comes with its own challenges. But playing late into the night after work, working on our team comps and strategy, and watching everyone improve as a raid group was a ton of fun. The experience definitely helped the team bond in a new way. Maybe I should ask them if they want to group again when Thaemine is ready…”
—Roxanne Sabo (Roxx), Product Community Manager, Lost Ark
“I’ve been working on Lost Ark since 2022, and my favorite memory was meeting Gold River (the Lost Ark Director in Korea), at GDC together with Soomin. I’d read and seen many of his interviews before, so hearing him talk about the game in person and his philosophy for designing and operating the game was a great memory.”
—Andy Lin, Senior Game Product Manager, Lost Ark
“I started working on Lost Ark leading up to the Western launch—and have logged thousands of hours working on and playing Lost Ark since—so it’s hard to pick just one memory over the past few years. It’s been a lot of fun to adapt, improve, and overcome challenges personally, with the game, and with my in-game characters. Many of my favorite memories revolve around times where myself or our team were able to go above and beyond for the game and our players, but the common thread that ties all of those efforts together is a passion for the game and making exciting experiences for the Lost Ark community.
That said, one of my favorite memories was a trip to South Korea our team took to collaborate with Smilegate RPG in person. It was around the time of an anniversary for Lost Ark in Korea, and seeing the excitement in the studio was electrifying. That night, we went out to dinner with our team and members from Smilegate RPG, and I had an absolute blast swapping Lost Ark war stories with the team over some great Korean BBQ. We discussed funny raid stories, lucky moments like cutting 9/7 stones or super rare drops, and we shared and watched fun clips we’d recorded. The excitement and passion was authentic and so visible that night. Fun fandom moments like that are why I love working on Lost Ark.”
—Henry Stelter, Head of Editorial, Lost Ark