Background game scene

177 KB
70 KB

Amazon Games Update: April 2024

Apr 9, 2024

2024 is only a few months in, but for Amazon Games, it’s been full steam ahead for the organization’s many teams. Some of the highlights include Lost Ark celebrating its second anniversary and New World’s welcome to the Year of the Dragon. Add to that, the business explored the impact of the people behind the games, from spotlighting the teams working on game creation and publishing in its new ‘Meet the Makers’ shorts series, to raising awareness for the many talented game makers with Black Voices in Gaming, to examining the impact of player communities on game development, and much more.

See below for some of the happenings from Amazon Games over the past few months.

Lost Ark Turned 2 and Welcomed New Adventures and Updates

Lost Ark marked its 2nd anniversary by unveiling the “2 Extreme” update and several special anniversary events. In celebration, the team behind the last two years of development shared some of their favorite memories of bringing Arkesia to the West. Check out the dedicated post for full details, but see below for a small selection of anecdotes from the team.

“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!?”

—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

With each month of 2024, Lost Ark upped the ante with new, rich updates to challenge players. In January, the game welcomed Brelshaza Legion Raid Inferno Difficulty, the most challenging of the Legion Raids as well as the new Lai Lai Adventure Island, and a slew of quality of life and balance updates, along with additional new content.

In February, Lost Ark’s 2nd birthday brought the “2 Extreme” Update, which included special Valtan Extreme challenges. It also marked the return of the Arkesia Festival, and opportunities to play games like Run, Piñata, Run!, turning them into a giant Piñata as they raced to the finish line, and Break the Gourd! / A Heart Full of Love, where they could use the 'Naughty and Nice Piñata Candy' to break the gourd in time to get more Anniversary tokens!

Finally, in Lost Ark’s March update, the Breaker Advanced Class burst on the scene, along with new progression events, a new series of Story Quests, and other exciting content, events, and skins. The Light of Destiny update also gave players a chance to finally learn the location of the Lost Ark, bringing them closer to the end of Story Chapter 1, and the answers to some of the most important questions of the journey to find the Lost Ark after Voldis, which ultimately brought players to a new location— Praeteria.

New World’s Year of the Dragon

Before corruption plagued the ancient structures, citizens of Ebonscale Reach offered tributes for good fortune. In February, players woke the ancient dragon spirit once again to rejoice in the ‘Year of the Dragon.’ But beware, the Corrupted Maiden lurks in the shadows to snatch blessings from Adventurers. In this prelude to Season 5, players joined Longtable Banquets, Tribute Offerings, and Firework Ceremonies for event-specific, daily rewards like Fortune’s Gift Sacks.

The Longtable Banquet featured a variety of festive cuisine for tribute, one of the oldest traditions in Aeternum. Adventurers were invited to retrieve Heirlooms from the corrupted and locate the Tribute Table at one of three rotating locations. However, a Corrupted Maiden attempted to steal the blessings. Adventurers worked to defeat the boss for Dynasty New Year Gear, such as the Dragon scale Helmet, Breastplate, Gauntlets, Greaves and Dragonscale Trousers.

New World Season 5 has also just arrived. In the new season players canchallenge the Winter Rune Forge, acquire new Artifacts, experience a fully updated main story quest, and enjoy native controller support. Read more about Season 5 in our dedicated post.

Meet the Makers

This year, Amazon Games unveiled a new video series called ‘Meet the Makers’ that spotlights the talented individuals who work their magic across our various teams in interesting ways.

In February, Episode 1 focused on Brad, a Gameplay Engineer with the New World team who shared rare insights into his day-to-day life on the job, reflections on the early development days of New World, and his thoughts on the importance of paying experience forward as a mentor.

Episode 2 in March featured June, Head of Social Media at Amazon Games, who shed light on the wild world of social media and how her team updates and engages with the Amazon Games community at large across a host of different channels.

Amazon Games and Black Voices in Gaming attended D.I.C.E. 2024

In In February, Amazon Games joined other games industry leaders at the annual D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas. There, they partnered with Black Voices in Gaming to provide sponsorships to underrepresented game developers and entrepreneurs, enabling them to attend the event, network, and connect with some of the industry’s most influential people.

“It's who you talk to and the relationships you build,” offered Justin Woodward of Black Voices in Gaming. For Woodward, it’s all about getting Black entrepreneurs in the same room with those who understand and know how to make things happen in gaming.

Among the sponsored professionals was Jaye Watts, founder of Coexist Gaming. To say that Jaye wears many hats is an understatement. With a background in electrical engineering, a Grammy nomination, a sommelier certification, and over four years of experience in the gaming and tech industry, she’s a pioneer in the true sense of the word. “I've been playing video games since I was 4. I've been singing and playing instruments since I was 5,” Watts said. “Music and math were always my worlds, so the goal was to bring music, gaming, and tech and enable it to coexist. Gaming just happens to be one of those industries that is as creative as it is technical, and I wanted to not just live in these siloed societal boxes, artists over here, the engineers over here, the gamers over here.”

Check out this post for more insights from the talented developers that Amazon Games supported to attend D.I.C.E. A huge thank you to Black Voices in Gaming for the partnership and for the incredibly important work that you do.

Amazon Games at GDC

In March, Amazon Games headed to the annual Game Developers Conference, March 18-22, in San Francisco, to meet with industry partners, media and analysts to discuss the latest trends and issues shaping the future of games.

Of the many highlights, one of the most memorable was the Women in Games: Celebrating Your Achievements event, where AWS and Women in Games International (WIGI) joined Amazon Games for an informative panel discussion. The evening highlighted and honored the accomplishments of those who have promoted diversity, inclusion and have advanced opportunities for women and femme-identifying individuals in the games industry in various capacities. Speakers included moderator Joanie Kraut, Chief Executive Officer for Women in Games International, as well as Marie Benigno Ablaza, Talent Acquisition, Recruiter, Netflix Games Studio; Christina Seelye, Chief Executive Officer, Maximum Entertainment; and Kirsten Gavoni, VP, Production, Warner Bros. Games. The panel, which took place before a room filled with hundreds of industry professionals, kicked off with a special introduction by Laura Sturr, Amazon Games’ own General Manager of Operations.

Equally impactful was Amazon Games’ sponsored talk - The Power of Community Feedback to Create Better Games - with speakers Scot Lane, Game Director of New World, and Brian Willitts, Head of Community. Before a packed room, they led an educational discussion on their best practices and key learnings for engaging with players, from the earliest stage of development through launch and beyond, how they evaluate input, and how listening to players plays a critical role in a game’s future direction. The session was capped by an Ask-Me-Anything session, with Michael Lovan, Head of Community Video, Katy Kaszynski, Product Owner/Live Game, and Scott Geiser, Software Development Engineer III, all with the New World team, joining Scott and Brian on stage to answer audience questions impacting their work as front-facing community managers in games.

Prime Gaming delivered even more great content to members

It was another content-packed quarter for Prime Gaming members, who enjoyed a fantastic selection of Free Games with Prime titles. Some of the highlights included Invincible Presents: Atom Eve, Chivalry II, Black Desert and many more fantastic games. Additionally, in celebration of the upcoming premiere of the Amazon Original series Fallout streaming on Prime Video, Prime Gaming treated members to several titles from the vaunted series, including Fallout, Fallout II, Fallout Tactics and Fallout 76! Be sure to catch the season premiere of the Prime Video series, debuting April 11!

In addition to the rotating roster of Free Games with Prime titles, Prime Gaming members in the US, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain got access to several fantastic games via Amazon Luna. Titles included Control, Earthworm Jim 2, Drift CE and more! Of course, Prime Gaming members also gain full, ongoing access via Luna to popular games such as Fortnite Battle Royale, LEGO Fortnite, Rocket Racing and Fortnite Festival.

In case you missed it, Amazon Luna is soon teaming up with GOG and game developers to bring a selection of GOG’s games to Luna. Prime members and Luna+ subscribers will have access to the library of GOG games they currently own, and can purchase additional GOG games, including PC classics such as Stardew Valley, popular AAA titles like Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher series and more, and play them on any device Luna is available on. Visit the Amazon Luna blog here and stay tuned for more details.

Finally, the team over at About Amazon published a fantastic walk-through guide focused on one of Prime Gaming’s lesser-known benefits: a free, monthly Twitch channel subscription. Ordinarily valued at US$4.99 per month, not only does subscription afford you access to exclusive channel-specific perks (such as chat privileges, emoticons, ad-free viewing and more), it’s a great way to financially support your favorite streamer at no additional cost to you.

Be sure to keep a close eye on the official Prime Gaming blog for all the very latest updates on new games and benefits offered to members each and every month!

And with that, the first quarter of 2024 is a wrap. Stay tuned to Amazon Games for the very latest updates!