The next major release from Amazon Games is an anime-style online title called Blue Protocol. Developed by Bandai Namco, the game is slated to launch on the PS5, Xbox Series X / S, and PC in the second half of 2023 — and you can check out the debut trailer above, which debuted at The Game Awards.
The game is described as a multiplayer action RPG, where players can take on various roles and play either with others or experience the story as a single-player-style campaign. Here’s the basic premise, according to Amazon:
Blue Protocol… takes players on a heroic journey through Regnas, a world teetering on the brink of destruction after millennia of conflict and technology overuse. Players must unite and harness the mysterious light called Flux to defeat powerful foes. Players can fully customize their character, and choose from five unique classes at launch: the sturdy Blade Warden, the valiant Twin Striker, the versatile Keen Strider, the multifaceted Spell Weaver, or the damage-dealing Foe Breaker. Aided by Echoes, mystical summoned creatures with powerful attacks, players will unlock their memories and fight to save the world.
A closed beta for PC players is expected early next year.
Blue Protocol will mark the first major game release from Amazon since Lost Ark (which it also published) earlier this year. The company also developed the MMO New World, which launched in 2021. While Blue Protocol is very different in terms of style and tone — and it feels very reminiscent of the smash hit Genshin Impact — it’s another ongoing live service title under the Amazon umbrella. According to Amazon’s VP of games, Christoph Hartmann, the publishing arrangement came about primarily because the company wanted to work with Bandai Namco.
“I always feel that good people do good things,” Hartmann tells The Verge. “Going back to my past, this has been proven over and over again, that you almost spend more on the talent than on the original game idea.” He also notes that the company learned a great deal through publishing Lost Ark, which was co-developed by Korean studios Tripod Studio and Smilegate. (In both cases, Amazon serves as the global publisher, excluding Asia.)
“I’m grateful for that experience with Lost Ark,” Hartmann says, “and it is also great to start off with a big title because that’s how I learn the best. Everything you do is at scale. If it goes well, it’s at scale and you get all the positive feedback; and if something goes wrong, you also have thousands of people yelling at you because the server is down. But it’s a good stress test. And I feel after Lost Ark, we’re really well set-up to bring games to the West, with the technology infrastructure and outside localization, and also from a cultural understanding [perspective].”
He notes that, while the company isn’t going to stop making its own titles, like New World, publishing allows Amazon to have new releases at a more regular cadence, with one or two major titles each year. “We always want to be a third-party publisher regardless of how successful our games are,” he says. “Just from a portfolio perspective, you can have different genres, entertain different types of players, and have an opportunity to find new people you wouldn’t find internally.”
In a press release, Blue Protocol executive producer Sokichi Shimooka said that one of the benefits of working with Amazon is the “transmedia opportunities.” This is a company that also has its own streaming service, among other entertainment verticals. In the past, Hartmann has said that a long-term goal is to have a game that becomes the start of a major entertainment franchise, similar to the success of The Witcher. And he says that potential is there both for the games Amazon makes and those it publishes, like Blue Protocol.
“It’s something which crosses my mind on every game,” he says. “It’s not it’s not a must, but everyone in our team is aware that it’s always something we want to consider and look into.”