The swashbuckling MMORPG New World is getting an ambitious overhaul as it prepares to expand to consoles this October, with New World: Aeternum. More than just adding cross-platform play and quality of life updates to the popular online game, New World: Aeternum wants to deliver a more intuitive and cinematic experience, with the team at Amazon Games not only upgrading the title’s technical presentation but putting a greater emphasis on the game’s narrative while streamlining the quest progression and character-building systems. Beyond improving the single-player elements, and working to make jumping into the game as smooth an experience as possible on consoles, the online play has been augmented significantly, including with a raid and PVP zone for players to share their adventures with friends and foes alike.

In an interview with Den of Geek at Summer Game Fest 2024, New World: Aeternum game director Scot Lane and creative director David Verfaillie share more about the big changes coming to the game this October, including a rundown of the major new features, and tease what fans can expect for this more cinematic vision of the popular MMORPG.

The Rebirth of New World

The changes and increased scope of New World are apparent from the moment you boot up New World: Aeternum, with an all-new cinematic that not only introduces the game’s overarching narrative but coaches players on how to play the game. This cinematic quality doesn’t stop with Aeternum’s opening, with dialogue sequences also revamped to give them a more dynamic feel, while newly added in-game cinematics build the game’s lore and remind players of the narrative stakes throughout.

“We’ve added a whole new camera system,” Lane says of the changes to in-game dialogue scenes. “We’re calling it our enhanced dialogue system. It allows the cameras to come in close and it feels like a much more cinematic experience.”

As the main portion of the game begins, with the player shipwrecked on the remote, fantastical island of Aeternum, the upgrades to the in-game visual presentation is immediately noticeable, as players explore their new surroundings. Verfaillie observes that “beauty of the world has really stepped up” as the developers took advantage of the advanced hardware of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S and their 4K HDR capabilities to create a lush vision of Aeternum on consoles. Verfaillie also notes that the game will add a swimming mechanic, giving new players a new way to explore the island.

“It’s been awesome letting our artists just create,” Lane adds. “As you travel through Aeternum, you’re going to see it go from this beautiful tropical experience, and you’ll see winter areas, rainy and dark areas, scary and cliff harsh areas, a desert. There are just so many different biomes and areas in the world. Our artists have done an amazing job of making it just look beautiful.”

According to Lane, player feedback was a major force that drove the big changes to the game. The goal is for Aeternum to feel like a welcoming experience for new players but to also feel fresh for veterans of the MMO.

“In the last three years, we’ve already added and changed so much based on that group of players giving us feedback and trying to make the game the best we possibly could for them,” Lane says. “If you played the game three years ago, it’s going to look nothing like that.”

Streamlining the Experience

Even with all these new bells and whistles, including a cinematic presentation, New World: Aeternum is designed to be easy to pick-up-and-play for gamers that are new to the title, leading them right into the action. A major focus was fine-tuning the experience for console gamers.

“It’s been a challenge, but a fun challenge, Lane says. “We’re really excited to bring all these console players in and expose them to some of our current players, as well as get them in our new content.”

As far as translating MMO controls from PC to console, Verfaillie assures us that the team “spent a lot of time getting the controls right. We’ve added things like aim-assist, lock-on, and button-remapping. I think it just feels really natural on a controller.”

Beyond the controls, the team introduced a few systems designed to get newbies playing quickly. For example, newly added character builds, known as archetypes, help players find a build tailored to their preferred play style, while retaining and refining the class system the base version of New World already established.

“At the start of your experience, you get to choose one of these pre-built classes,” Verfaillie explains. “The game still has a class system, but it’s a nice way to jump into it. You get to pick the fantasy that you want—do you want to be a mage with fireballs? Do you want to be ranged? Do you want to be melee? I think it’s a great way to jump into the game quickly.”

After picking their archetypes, players are guided through a first-time user experience as a more intuitive and engaging way for newcomers to pick up the gameplay quickly and get acquainted with some its nuances. Lane points at this as a way for players to feel much more prepared when the main crux of the game kicks on the island. Beyond this archetype system and revamped tutorial, the quest progression has also been streamlined to avoid the feeling of grinding to improve and advance, with Lane calling the leveling system smoother and with “no gaps.”

“It feels natural, it’s easier to level up, and it just feels good as a solo player,” Verfaillie adds.

Augmenting the Online Experience

More than just optimizing New World: Aeternum for console players and enhancing the single-player experience with multiple new and improved features, Aeternum significantly adds to the communal online experience. A raid mode has been added to the game as well as a dedicated PVP zone for players looking to test their skills against each other. For the developers, the addition of these online gameplay modes is the culmination a long-standing vision for New World and one that elevates Aeternum even higher.

“The PVP zone is a walled zone and it’s a great way to go in, and it’s like a heightened experience, because you don’t know what’s going to happen until you go in,” Verfaillie teases. “You might just be going to gather some stuff or get a chest, and then you meet someone along the way and it’s this dance if you’re going to fight or run. It’s a really cool experience!”

Players looking to jump into the PVP quickly will be able to do so through matchmaking, while a Group Finder feature will allow them to find their next raiding party. The raid is particularly big deal for the Amazong Games team.

“It’s something that we’ve always wanted to do, to get our first true raid in there,” Lane says. “To have that 10-person encounter is awesome!”

New World: Aeternum launches Oct. 15 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

The post How New World: Aeternum Will Breathe New Life into Amazon’s MMO appeared first on Den of Geek.

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