Monday, June 10, 2024

Dark Days for New World

Note: after the New World debacle with Summer Game Fest and IGN Live this past weekend I could muster no words to describe how disappointing the it all was.  It is now Monday and I've had time to dwell on the situation so here is an attempt at some words.

New World is DEAD

 If you tell your players to wait 8 months for a "big announcement" and after the wait the players walk away from your "big announcement" not understanding what genre your game is in or whether you are wiping their characters then you fucked up.  

 If your "big announcement" then says "wait four more months" after you had your players wait eight months then that is a year since your players got any meaningful update which is fucked up.  

 If all that the "big announcement" you hyped up for those eight months was just "the game is coming to consoles" with no other big updates then you lied to your players which is also fucked up.

 Amazon Game Studios... you fucked up.

 Let's take a step back to a post I made about the ill-timed community update for May 2024 in which the community lead and a developer were shown with a heavy dose of censored discussion. It was meant to poke fun at the "big announcement" they couldn't talk about yet.  It was a blatant tease and pissed off a lot of the community.  

 At the time of the video I commented:

 They better have a banger of an update for June otherwise this video will likely be forever held up as the moment "remember when New World died?"

 After that video however I still supported the team.  I even made a long post about how I had faith in New World and why I thought others should as well.  That was a mistake.  My trust in this development team is gone.  We can, and will, look back at that May video update and point at it as the moment New World died.

 It is so upsetting how they handled this announcement and there was no reason they had to handle it this way.  

 First and foremost; there was NO REASON for secrecy.  There was nothing of substance in this update to require it being hidden from players; especially after the minuscule number of changes were data mined months ago.  To prove the point further in the latest minor patch (which came BEFORE the "big announcement") they dropped a relatively major technology update by adding sharding to the game.

 Sharding is one of the biggest new technology things in the entire set of changes and just gets dumped in a minor patch.  How hard would it have been to record a video telling us "hey shards are coming!".  It didn't need to wait for the announcement and if one of the biggest tech changes didn't need to wait then why did the rest of it?

 I can't overstate how obvious it was what was coming.  We knew about the name change to New World Aeternum, the free for all PvP zone, the gear score increase to 725, and it was abundantly clear that the game was coming to consoles.

 I can understand having to keep the console news under wraps, but the rest of the stuff? What on earth were they thinking!?  All of these items would have made good fodder for video updates over the last several months.  Instead we got starved with a promise of "something big" in June.

 Was there no one at AGS that previewed this announcement and said "we have no new information; current players are going to be pissed"?  Was there no one that identified that maybe they shouldn't be hyping this up?  Did no one think maybe some better wording in the follow on videos and IGN Live interview were needed... just a simple "hey if you are a console gamer and wondering what New World is here is what the game is"... instead of leading everyone on like the follow on update was going to give us a bunch of juicy information?

 Let me predict something for you: they have a bunch of pre-canned dev updates that the video clips from the larger update came from and they are going to release them over the next few weeks.  They will put "note: recorded before announcement" subtext in the videos because none of the videos will address the community anger.  I will be SHOCKED if they address the monumental miss in any way.

 What is the end result of all of this?  AGS lost the trust of the current playerbase and has earned every aspect of backlash that will result.  Including when console release does not go as expected.  New World is approaching three years old before it lands on consoles.  What console gamer is going to want to pick up an old game, at a full game price tag, that has Overwhelmingly Negative reviews on Steam.  

 AGS could not have fucked up this situation any worse.  Dark days ahead for New World.

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