New World: Aeternum is a slightly confusing mix of a remaster, update and 'spiritual successor' to New World that you can play entirely solo

Only a few years after Amazon launched New World, it's launching again in the form of New World: Aeternum. This new version of the game is being billed as a "spiritual successor" to the original MMO, but it's also a mix of console port (that will also be available on PC), remaster and big update. 

Aeternum is separate from the original New World but also contains everything from New World and its Rise of the Angry Earth expansion, rejigged for consoles, and featuring a slew of changes and additions that go beyond what you'd expect in just an update. 

One very notable change is how much focus is being put on solo play. In the press release, the word "MMO" was nowhere to be seen. Instead, Amazon describes it as an "action RPG". The whole thing can be played on your own, and you'll be able to experience all the story beats without needing to team up. This means that things like expeditions (New World's dungeons) are entirely optional, and the big moments that were once exclusively contained within them can be experienced by solo players outside of these group instances. 

It's a bit strange that Amazon's really pushing this angle. Most MMOs are largely solo-friendly these days anyway, and I count vanilla New World among them—despite the expeditions—but all of New World's strengths lie in the multiplayer side of things. If you fancy a solo RPG, there are so many better alternatives (which won't set you back 60 bucks). And while I did quite enjoy gathering and crafting, New World comes up short when you compare it to the multitude of dedicated survival games available.  

This is still, however, absolutely an MMO. In a presentation ahead of today's reveal, the developers emphasised that it's still a shared experience, if you want it to be, and you'll still be able to group up for expeditions and embark on faction-based PvP wars. Indeed, there's more group activities coming, including the first 10-player raid and a PvP zone.

Here's the list of what you'll be able to expect at launch:

  • New, more cinematic introductory experience 
  • Upgraded player onboarding experience 
  • Improved quest flow from 1-65 
  • In-game cinematics and pre-rendered scenes 
  • Revamped story dialogue experience 
  • Character archetypes 
  • First 10-player raid 
  • First PvP zone 
  • Endgame solo trials 
  • Gear score increase 
  • Swimming 
  • Bear mount 
  • Cross-play (but not cross-progression) 

After I finished my New World review, I never went back. For my sins, I spent 250 hours playing, and while I enjoyed the faction conflict, PvP and crafting, the world itself and the PvE left a lot to be desired. It was particularly weak when it came to storytelling, so the dialogue revamp sounds like a good call, but I confess that there's not much here that's tempting me to return. It's nice to see players can finally swim, though, after years of unintentional hilarity.

New World: Aeternum will be launching on Steam and consoles on October 15, and if you already own New World and the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion you'll be able to get it for free. If you log into regular New World between June 7 and October 14, you'll also unlock a wolf mount. 

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.