GameSpot may receive revenue from affiliate and advertising partnerships for sharing this content and from purchases through links.

New World Aeternum Revamps The MMO For Consoles With Solo Play And More Changes

After three years, New World is setting sail for home consoles.


In 2021, Amazon Games launched New World, a robust MMO that served as the publisher's first-ever release. After three years and a multitude of changes, Amazon is planning on continuing its maiden voyage into uncharted waters, as New World Aeternum will bring the full experience and more to consoles this fall. We had the chance to check out Aeternum during Summer Game Fest, and so far, Amazon's adaptation adventure is smooth sailing.

Our hands-on began with New World's robust character creation system, and we could have spent the entire session there. Dozens of options in multiple categories--face, hair style, scars, tattoos, and more--give plenty of agency over how your characters will look, and the virtual cursor system makes selecting each one easy.

Muskeeter archetype
Muskeeter archetype

One of the major changes to character creation is the Archetype system, which condenses the class-creation system from dozens of broad classes to a more focused set of abilities and weapon proficiencies. The Swordbearer, for example, is a tank who excels in heavy weapons and starts with buffs to their cooking and fishing skills, while the Occultist uses elemental magic and begins with increased mining and jewelcrafting abilities.

Speaking with GameSpot at Summer Game Fest, creative director Dave Verafaillie explained that Archetypes contributed to one of the team's main goals for Aeternum: Making the start-up experience as quick as possible for console players. "[Archetypes are] a great way to onboard people," Verafaillie said. "You don't have to worry about too much customization stuff; you can just choose your play style and get in and enjoy it."

After character creation, it's time to begin the game properly, and the first thing that sticks out is the game's control scheme. New World's combat and traversal translate very well to the standard console controller. Jumps, attacks, and basic movement are all found where you'd expect them in a standard action game rather than an MMO, but Aeternum's controls do have some interesting traits.

For example, normal attacks are mapped to R2/RT, and attacks vary on how long you hold the button down. Pressing normally will result in a standard attack, but holding the button down will result in a heavy attack which takes longer to execute but deals more damage on contact. This approach feels great in practice, as it allows you to be more deliberate with attacks while keeping execution simple, and the control scheme as a whole works incredibly well in translating New World to the console experience.

Controller support had been added to the current New World offering in the past, but Aeternum's layout, according to the dev team, is even more optimized. "One thing that gives us an advantage in adapting New World to consoles is that both our controls and our combat are navigation-locked," game director Scot Lane said. "A lot of traditional MMOs use tap-target, cooldown-, and icon-based systems. Because we have one main weapon, and our system focuses on direct combat and direct navigation, we can then have three abilities that map really nicely to a controller." Verafaillie adds that "target lock, controller remapping, aim assist, and more" will also be coming to the control scheme with Aeternum.

Blacksmithing in New World Aeternum
Blacksmithing in New World Aeternum

While New World Aeternum is considered a "massively multiplayer online" game--and the existing game is already one of the best MMORPGs out there--our demo was a solo experience. This was intentional; Aeternum has been designed so players can enjoy it either alone or with a group. "Another big focus for us was making Aeternum a single-player experience all the way through," Verafaillie said. "In other MMOs, you're sort of forced to do endgame raids with other players. We have endgame raids too that will require other players, but we've also added new repeatable solo trials that will let players continue to improve their gear if they prefer to go it alone."

New players were certainly a focus during Aeternum's development, but the team also had another set of players in mind: Those who played the game at launch but haven't done so since. According to the team, New World Aeternum will be completely different from the experience they'll remember from three years ago, and that starts with the story.

"If someone is coming in for the first time since launch, we've redone the entire main story quest line," senior producer Katy Kaszynski said. "The overarching story is still similar--Act 1 is still the Tempest, for example--but the way the story is told to you, the characters you meet along the way, all of that is different. This release brings even more immersion to the reworked story thanks to the enhanced dialogue system, so you can feel like you're part of the story instead of just watching it unfold."

The team understands the risk in making such a harsh adjustment, but according to Kaszynski, the team felt they had to do what was best for the game. "Feedback we got in the beginning of the game was that it was a really big grind, or that people didn't feel like they were brought into the story," Kaczynski explained, "so we wanted to take that and bring a more exciting and immersive experience."

Amazon Games is promising a lot to the MMO crowd as New World makes the jump to consoles with Aeternum, no matter if or when you played the game previously. A revamped story system, streamlined onboarding, and simplified controls will all provide an easy transition for experienced New World players, as well as a painless introduction to new adventurers. Based on our time playing the game and getting a feel for what it offers, the voyage seems to be sailing in the right direction.

New World Aeternum launches October 15 on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC. An invite-only closed beta will run from July 11 to July 17 on both Xbox and PlayStation, and players can sign up for a chance for an invite at the game's official website.

Jason Fanelli on Google+

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are no comments about this story