That’s easy to say today Lost Ark would always have been a big hit in the West now that it’s breaking records for everyone. But before that success became a reality, fans were screaming that there was a market in the west for this stunning, content-rich ARPG – and apparently no one was listening.
That is, until Amazon Games showed up to take on the Herculean task of localizing this massive game into four languages and properly launching it in Western territories. That gamble paid off, and Lost Ark quickly became Steam’s biggest launch of 2021 – and one of the biggest ever – with 1.3 million concurrent players within three days of its release.
Aside from a few of the missteps that a launch of this magnitude was bound to encounter, Lost Ark’s journey west came with some caveats and unanswered questions from the start. For example, Lost Ark is only available in certain countries and not the usual list you would expect when considering a launch in that region of the world.
Lost Ark is also out of reach for a number of other countries that are usually lumped in with the EU crowd. The Middle East is completely out of the picture (including North African countries, which get great pings to EU servers), which are often included in these launches.
We asked Amazon Games franchise director Soomin Park to clarify some of these geographic issues for us, and got in on her thoughts on some of the longest-running questions about Lost Ark that many players have been dying to ask since launch .
“This is a publishing rights issue; Smilegate RPG is the developer of the game and owns the intellectual property, while Amazon Games is partnering with Smilegate RPG as the publisher for the game in the west,” Park told us via email.
“This partnership allows us to bring the game to select regions in North America, Europe, Oceania and South America, but does not allow us to release the game globally or in all regions where it was previously unavailable.”
Given the success of Diablo 3 on consoles – which inspired even other, less popular ARPGs to take the plunge – Lost Ark’s fate on consoles remains a mystery. Neither Smilegate nor Amazon have said anything about the potential to see the game on Xbox and PlayStation, and Lost Ark’s controller support on PC is spotty at best.
Park’s answer is elusive. “If Lost Ark on consoles is something that the fans really want, then I think it’s something that both parties would consider!” he revealed.
On the subject of Diablo, there’s always been this unspoken rivalry between Blizzard’s game and pretty much every other decent ARPG that comes out. Lost Ark was definitely part of that conversation, and the development team was aware of that long before the game came west. While Smilegate and Amazon have not commented on these comparisons, they recognize that there is a gap in the ever-changing marketplace that Lost Ark can fill.
“We definitely believe there’s a chance for Lost Ark to establish itself as a major player, as evidenced by the game’s success to date,” says Park.
“One of the things that makes Lost Ark unique is the massive amount of content that you can play with however you want. If you just want a solo RPG experience and want to play through the story, it’s easy to do. A consistent aspect of the game is that combat is designed to be satisfying whether you’re running alone or in a group. Lost Ark definitely scratches an itch for fans of ARPGs and also implements MMO aspects so well that it appeals to fans of this genre as well.”
Lost Ark indeed has a wealth of features beyond ARPG combat. Some of these are rooted in the MMO lineage, while others are inspired by survival games. You can keep chopping down trees, crafting, building settlements and so on. But do I have to do any of this?
“There’s a way for everyone to play in Lost Ark, from the solo campaign, through character customization and class-based gear upgrades, to a deep storyline that spans the seas of Arkesia,” explains Park.
“New content updates are also released regularly. So yes, if you came for the action and combat you will be satisfied [with] only the content of the story. But don’t be afraid to try out some of the more MMO-focused features either.”
The biggest question regarding the transition from Lost Ark to a global game was why it took so damn long to get there. According to Park, Amazon knew there was massive demand for the game and saw an opportunity.
“The demand was there, Smilegate had put years into refining and polishing the core game experience, and we worked together to adapt it to an entirely new audience, with millions of players now being able to experience the game for the first time,” recalls Park .
More generally, Park adds that entertainment is no longer regional. Korean media, in particular, has produced several hits around the world in recent years, and games have had to catch up.
“I think there is an emerging trend towards the globalization of content across all entertainment media and an interest in international experiences that allow us to experience cultures from around the world,” they point out.
“Korean pop culture, such as music and television, is growing in popularity in the West. Games are a natural progression of this trend.
“There was also a huge gap in action role-playing games – what Lost Ark does best is giving fans of ARPGs what they crave, while combining the richness of a full MMO with social engagement and an ongoing endgame experience.” The game takes the best traits of both of these genres into highly immersive loops.”
If you’re still on that Lost Ark train (or just getting on), our Lost Ark class guides have a wealth of information to get you started and how to build them.
https://www.vg247.com/lost-ark-interview-diablo-console-coming-west Lost Ark devs talk Diablo comparisons, console ports and why it took so damn long to get to the west