Amazon Game Studios struggling with its Lumberyard game engine - Canceled games and layoffs

Written by Jon Sutton on Tue, Jun 18, 2019 10:11 AM
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Amazon Game Studios are reportedly hitting a rocky patch, with a new report from the Wall Street Journal claiming Amazon’s gaming division is struggling to keep pace with the technological advances of the gaming industry.

The core of the problem appears to be associated with the use of Amazon’s own license Lumberyard game engine. The free-to-use Lumberyard game engine is itself based on Crytek’s CryEngine, forked off into its own entity in a $70 million deal. CryEngine is notoriously finicky to use, which is probably a leading reason why precious few games actually use it.

“In spite of our efforts, we didn’t achieve the breakthrough that made the game what we all hoped it could be,” Amazon staff wrote last year when Breakaway was canceled. It turns out one additional game was also canceled but it was never officially announced. The only game Amazon Game Studios released was the truly abysmal ‘Grand Tour Game’. Check out some videos, it looks truly awful. Kudos to Amazon for creating a game that somehow managed to be worse than the show.

“The software, a so-called engine known as Lumberyard, wasn’t built for the kind of multiplayer games Amazon wanted to make, and the company’s efforts to retool it have proved difficult,” said the current and former employees to Washington Post. “As a result, making “Breakaway,” for example, was like driving a train while the tracks were still being laid down, these people explained.”

“They’re still ironing out the kinks of what it means to own and maintain your own engine,” said members of Amazon Game Studios.

Apparently, Amazon is even throwing around the idea of switching to an industry standard engine such as Unreal Engine 4. It means effectively writing off a $70 million investment but it may be prudent to cut their losses.

In terms of what this means for AGS’s future output, it’s a little up in the air. To the best of our knowledge, Crucible is still in development. Historical RPG New World appears to be the furthest along in development though, with a number of closed beta tests and like the running.

Amazon will be all too keen to get at least one of these titles out the door and get its game studios up and running. Unfortunately, it appears for Amazon this involves a whole lot more than just throwing cash at the problem.

Sadly, the end result is dozens of employees at Amazon Game Studios were laid off during the middle of E3 week. Typically classy timing from good old Jeff.

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14:56 Jun-19-2019

Wonder how this will affect Star Citizen?

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08:02 Jun-19-2019

Oh for Crying out loud buy Crytek itself fund them sufficiently so that they make an Open-World game with Crysis like gameplay which is a cross between Division's world+storytelling and Destiny's lore remember Crysis like Simple but customi

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08:10 Jun-19-2019

customiseable enough that you can really mod the nano suit to play as a stealth focused or Armoured tank or zero recoil power mode or a light weight suit weight suit with focus on mele and long duration of high speed movement. PVE Priority

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23:42 Jun-18-2019

Hi I would like to talk to you about our lord and savior legend of dragoon

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16:12 Jun-18-2019

since star citizen switched to lumberyard, what does this mean for that game? going back to cry engine or switching engines entirely?

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16:14 Jun-18-2019

I'd imagine it means they're pretty heavily reliant on Amazon continuing support on the tech. Probably an agreement between the two or some such

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23:49 Jun-18-2019

They should switched to CryEngine 5.6 lol

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07:28 Jun-19-2019

Since lumberyard is based on cryengine and that is what they used before, I'm sure it would be easy to switch right back. Part of why they used lumberyard was the licensing use is very lax. This could create a problem.

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12:29 Jun-18-2019

oof

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12:28 Jun-18-2019

One less slice of a pie for Bezos, I guess. Can't say it's a bad thing.

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12:31 Jun-18-2019

My thoughts lol


Job losses - sad
Jeff Bezos failing for once - good

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