We had the opportunity to speak with the people behind Lost Ark, reflect on the past year in the West and have a teaser of what the future might hold for the players.
AltChar recently got to speak with the Amazon Games team behind the Lost Ark release in the West, which gave us additional insight into the game's first year outside of Asia, the process behind releasing content here and even a few hints about what to expect in 2023.
The answers are courtesy of Soomin Park, the Franchise Lead at Amazon Games.
AltChar: The first year of Lost Ark in the west is now behind us! What are Amazon Games' impressions of the play reception so far?
Soomin Park: Our impression of the reception from year one of Lost Ark in the West is that we are nothing short of amazed at how the game performed at launch and throughout its first year. From the record-breaking launch to the year that followed, we’ve seen Lost Ark develop a strong, passionate community of players who remain highly engaged in the game. Lost Ark has been one of Amazon Games’ biggest successes, and both Smilegateand our teams here are thrilled with the response so far.
AC: Despite being one of the most played games on Steam, the usual free-to-play nature resulted in a huge drop in player counts from the initial numbers. Is it dampening any spirits in the team?
SM: Not at all. As you mention, the nature of free-to-play games and many live service games is to see a large amount of interest at launch and then settle into a more established spot in terms of the player base. In spite of the huge initial numbers and a dropoff from that record-breaking total, Lost Ark has remained in the Top 10 games on Steam for all of 2022 and so far into 2023. The game earned much recognition from press last year as one of the best games of its type in 2022, and there is still a dedicated fan base for the title.
AC: The uncharted waters of Year 2 must be exciting though - is there anything hint at what the team is most thrilled about?
SM: We’re looking forward to bringing a new year’s worth of content to players in the West, including some things that have been requested by fans for a while. We’re excited to bring the Western version of Lost Ark closer to the Korean version this year in terms of the content players will have access to.
AC: Besides hitting a staggering peak of 1.3 million concurrent players, what is Amazon Games' favourite milestone in the first year of Lost Ark in the West?
SM: One of our favourite moments has been the opportunity to add or collaborate on content that was tailored to the Western audience. We created the special event, Arktoberfest, which was designed specifically for the West and served as a unique event that we hope to build upon further. We also really enjoyed the opportunity to work with Smilegateand CD Projekt Red on The Witcher crossover event, which we know held a special relevance to our players in the West who are fans of both franchises.
AC: Will the same update cadence continue in the second year or are there changes on the horizon?
SM: Players can still expect frequent updates in content, similar to last year, but there will be fewer things like new classes added this year. This is due to the nature of our Westernroster catching up to the Korean version. As the year progresses, we will be closer in parity to the Korean version, but there will always be a difference due to the need for content to be localized and other factors.
AC: Brelshaza has the best K/D ratio by far of all the Legion bosses, clearly showing her difficulty and the players welcomed the challenge. Does future Lost Ark content involve something else deliciously difficult?
SM: Players in the West haven’t seen the last of Brelshaza and can expect her to continue adding to her list of conquests in the near future. As for future content that is designed to challenge the most dedicated Lost Ark players, that’s something you‘ll have to stay tuned to find out.
AC: Which Legion boss is the favourite among the team members?
SM: Everyone has their own opinions, but I would say Brelshaza is a favourite among the team here. Not only is she a powerful foe who has an incredibly challenging and unique raid, but thematically her whole raid is neatly tied together in every aspect between the gameplay, visuals, and even the music. This makes facing off against her feel like an experience of epic proportions, especially as you progress through each gate. The challenging mechanics appeal to the hardcore gamers on the team, while the thematic elements are a highlight of others on the team.
AC: Lost Ark dishes out powerful new classes regularly. Does that clash with keeping the content challenging?
SM: Actually, the way that Smilegate designs new classes and how we release them is meant to complement the game’s challenges and provide players with the best tools they need to take on the content that is released. In deciding what classes to release last year, the main reason for Smilegate and Amazon to release new classes regularly was to provide diverse and new combat styles for the players to explore Arkesia, thus expanding the world of Lost Ark and providing diverse experiences. We all want to provide the most challenging content we can to our most dedicated players, but also want to make sure that the classes all players have access to are those that are best suited to make that content most enjoyable.