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The Untold Truth Of New World

After years of development, Amazon Games' "New World" has arrived. The MMORPG launched on September 2021, and while long queue times initially caused headaches for fans, according to Polygon, the game has now established itself as one of the most significant releases of the year.

The road that "New World" took to reach gamers was anything but easy. "New World" was one of three titles announced by Amazon Games, then known as Amazon Game Studios, in 2016, but it was the only one that ever saw a proper release. Additionally, the title fought through three significant delays that pushed its release date to 2021, back from its initially expected arrival date in mid-2020. 

The drama didn't end when the game arrived, as the long wait times to reach servers kept critics from making progress and fairly assessing what the game had to offer. It also gave gamers major headaches as they waited to play the game they'd waited so long for. However, the title now sits with over 100,000 reviews on Steam that have earned "New World" a mostly positive rating from gamers, alongside generally positive assessment from professional reviewers on Metacritic.

While that positive reception seems to indicate a happy ending for "New Word," there are plenty of little-known stories about the development process and launch period that show just how much the title changed along the way. Here is the untold truth of "New World."

Amazon modified elements of New World's setting after consulting a sensitivity specialist

"New World" takes place in a pristine 17th-century environment that is largely untouched by its incoming settlers, including the player character. However, that premise, combined with the game's title, often associated with the European colonization of the Western hemisphere according to History, has made some wonder what the true inspiration for the open-world MMORPG was.

As noted by Polygon, this setting was fraught with the potential to offend. When confronted with the idea that "New World" presented what seemed to be sanitized version of the European invasion of the Americas, studio head Patrick Gilmore was shocked. Gilmore told Polygon, "That's not really been a focus at all. The lore of the game is that there's a tainted aspect to this world, that it's a garden of Eden that has fallen from grace."

While Gilmore may have been eager to disassociate "New World" from any problematic historic origin points, it seems that Amazon Games may have been less inclined to do so during the title's development. According to Bloomberg, Amazon Games executives saw no issues with a game that cast players as vaguely European settlers arriving in a land inhabited by individuals wore bore a resemblance to Native Americans. Changes were made only after the studio hired a tribal sensitivity consultant, "who found that the portrayal was indeed offensive."

New World is the first successful release for Amazon Games

One of the most remarkable things about the massive "New World" launch and its ambitious scope is that the game is the first successful launch of Amazon Games. While the Amazon Games moniker might be relatively new, Amazon Game Studios was founded in 2012 and has spent the better part of a decade struggling to produce a high-profile flagship.

It may sound shocking, but the fact is that Amazon Games' distant sister company, Blue Origin, founded by Amazon's former CEO Jeff Bezos, managed to launch a rocket to the edge of space before the company produced a viable videogame, via The New York Times. Amazon Games had come close to a successful launch before with titles such as "Crucible" and "The Grand Tour Game," but both had quality issues that ultimately led to the games being delisted.

To their credit, Amazon Games put in the effort to make sure that "New World," as the game that would ultimately come represent their brand, had something to offer players. While initially expected to arrive in August 2020, Amazon Studios decided to push that date by an entire year to ensure that the game shipped with an appropriate amount of endgame content. The game would be delayed twice more before finally launching in late September 2021.

Early builds of New World may have helped brick some high-end graphics cards

While Amazon was upfront about the balance and mid-to-endgame content issues that caused the game's initial delay from 2020 to 2021, a far more severe problem came to light as the game entered its closed beta in July 2021. With a little more than a month to go before "New World" was set to go live and be delivered to excited fans, reports began to emerge that the game may have been responsible for a rash of bricked graphics cards.

Stories began to circulate on Reddit that some high-end graphics cards were running into an issue while running "New World" that caused the cards to run at a speed that they could not handle and ultimately stop working. To make things even worse, the cards that seemed most commonly affected by the problem were a part of Nvidia's flagship RTX 30 line, whose retail prices can reach up to $2,000.

Tom's Hardware noted that Amazon Games never admitted any culpability for the issue, and the Reddit community seemed to decide the defect seemed to lie with a manufacturing problem present in cards produced during November and December of 2020. EVGA would later admit to PC World that "poor workmanship" had caused the failure of about two dozen EVGA GeForce RTX 3090 cards. 

However, the game held on to its reputation for potentially disastrous technical problems, and CNET reported that more accounts of bricked graphics cards circulated after the game was released in October, although these claims do not seem to have been substantiated.

New World was once a PVP free for all

After years of misfires and failed attempts, Amazon Games' vice president, Christoph Hartmann, knew that "New World" needed to be a success, but the pathway to making it one was unclear. After the game was released, Hartman told The New York Times that years into the game's development cycle, efforts to make "New World" stand out had not advanced as the leadership had hoped. The vice president said that when he arrived at Amazon Games in 2018, the game simply "didn't look promising."

While "New World" went through many changes on its path to its official release, one area that saw some significant changes was its PVP structure. The game was once planned to be an open environment where players could challenge each other at nearly any time, regardless of comparative rank. However, the developers found that a small subsection of high-level gamers was routinely preying on weaker characters, creating "a toxic environment for many players," according to their official blog post on the issue.

While many fans on Reddit were dismayed that the game would ship without the danger once promised, others, like /u/Vucien, noted that changes like this could be vital for the health of the title, even if "New World" could still make improvements. When it takes a player dozens, if not hundreds, of hours to reach comparable strength with top-level players, constantly being slain in unfair fights is enough to discourage players from logging back in.

New World has blocked players from using character names that land too close to Amazon

As the first significant title released by Amazon's fledgling Amazon Games development studio, it has been hard to separate the game from the company. However, after "New World" was made available to the public, fans began to discover that the studio had implemented certain restrictions to keep players in the game's fantasy world and away from anything to do with Amazon in the real world.

Most games have built-in restrictions on player name choice to prevent trolls from entering obscenities as their player names. However, it appears that "New World" took their regulations a bit further by adding Jeff Bezos and Amazon to the list of banned player names, according to PC Gamer. The ban on Bezos was so complete that even many creative deconstructions of the name were forbidden, just as PC Gamer's attempt to name their character Unionize Amazon was also barred.

Of course, even the most dedicated filter couldn't completely stop players from recreating the famous Amazon founder, and it appears the one user finally found that JeffrieBezos slipped past the censors, as recorded on Reddit. Those rules also might have been tightened up after the closed beta, as Kotaku shared the story of one player who snapped up the name AmazonOfficial, and then used it to share some of the more disturbing stories that have emerged about the company's labor policies.