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Amazon Games is planning to launch Bandai Namco’s massively multiplayer online game Blue Protocol to the West in 2024.

Already on the market in Japan, the MMO is coming to Western markets on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC. At the recent Summer Game Fest Play Days, I was able to play with the game, which has a cell-shaded art style that is like “anime come to life.”

I started out playing Blue Protocol by customizing my player character ahead of a mission across the war-torn continent Regnas.

When you’re “born,” you start as a purple and white crystaline figure, kind of like a soul looking for a body. You fight with some creatures with your sword until a human warrior takes you down. Then you’re treated to a cutscene of the beautiful anime world of Blue Protocol. You get a taste of a wide variety of combat, characters and adventures that await. A half-dozen heroes band together. A bad guy makes an appearance, as do all sorts of creatures — and then you go directly into customization.

You can choose from a bunch of classes that will be available at launch: Blade Warden, Twin Striker, Keen Strider, Spell Weaver and Foe Breaker. You get to build your own heroes.

Elinye of Blue Protocol

Then you enter a world full of animated characters with very big eyes. A young girl wants to join you in an adventure and you head off into the woods and mountains.

A few creatures with lizard-like heads ambush you and you get to go crazy with your spinning ax or sword attacks. You have to watch out for their counter-blows and make sure you keep getting hits in to bring down their health meters.

Fighting solo can be dangerous, and I died a few times. Then I joined a large raid against a dragon and that was a lot more satisfying. There were a ridiculous number of players all in the same space trying to fight the creature, until it finally came down.

Your sidekick in Blue Protocol.

“There’s a number of different target audiences,” said Mike Zadorojny, franchise lead of Amazon Games, in an interview with GamesBeat. “First and foremost is anime fans. For those that always wanted to be a part of an interactive medium, especially in an anime adventure, this is an opportunity to do so. There are other titles that give you that same experience. But then you take the next step, which is now you’re creating your own customizable character. And now it’s your journey, you’re not playing somebody else’s journey.”

It’s a big game for Amazon Games, which has published other MMOs like Lost Ark and New World. Amazon is finding its place as a publisher of some of the most computationally demanding games being made. And the anime angle is going to be an advantage on the world stage.

“More recently, we’ve actually seen the additional rise of Japanese culture and anime reaching out further beyond just our initial projections,” Zadorojny said. “So, we’re already excited about the game. For it’s about finding great games and making sure we can bring it to players wherever they are.”

I was able to join with a bunch of other players on a dungeon run. You can rez people who go down after they’re wounded by monsters. You can play with constant music playing if you like. You carry around enormous weapons that are a few sizes too big for your character. You can shoot from afar or dodge while your friends get their blows in on a boss.

Blue Protocol has some cool-looking architecture.

I got a look at the Godswatch Rise and Reitz Tradesway maps.

The game has already launched in Japan and the companies said the free-to-play multiplayer game is a success so far. Since the game’s PC launch on June 14, the total number of players in Japan has exceeded 600,000 and is continuing to grow. The number of concurrent players in the game has exceeded 200,000.

And Blue Protocol has reached these milestones faster than any other game in Bandai Namco Online’s history in the PC online service market for Japan.

Zadorojny said Amazon Games got involved early with Bandai Namco when the title was still in development. The aim was to make sure to convey a global perspective on the gaming market and what gamers want in their MMOs, he said.

The action moves fast in Blue Protocol.

“Whenever you’re dealing with across cultures and across language, it’s all become a much larger endeavor and one that takes a lot more effort to make sure it’s going to be successful,” he said. “As with any collaborative effort, you want to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to help your partner be as successful as possible.”

Amazon is looking out for things like cultural sensibilities and accessibility features.

“It’s a beautiful game. It’s an amazing story. It’s got awesome combat. And it’s really easy to drop in drop out,” Zadorojny said.

I didn’t get to see very much of it in my short preview. But it was an entertaining ride inside an anime world. If that’s your thing, you should keep an eye on when this is coming out.

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