- Genre: Open-ended sandbox co-op MMO.
- PvE: Yes.
- PvP: N/A.
- Business Model: N/A.
- Development Stage: In development since 2020.
- Availability: N/A.
- Release Date: Early access 2023.
- Platforms: PC.
- How to Stay Updated: Check MMORPG.GG regularly!
Annex is an upcoming MMO from a recently established game studio. With industry veterans, ambitious ideas, grand visions, and $2 million in the bag, Arctic Theory is determined to make 2023 the year of the MMO revolution.
Who is making Annex
Arctic Theory is a 2020 studio founded by ex-CCP and Electronic Arts developers. According to the website, the Icelandic indie company numbers 14 members. Let’s see what the four co-founders were up to before going indie.
CEO Matthías Guðmundsson has been working in the gaming field since 1987. He served as the Technical Director and Lead Programmer of EVE Online for 15 years.
Creative Director Gísli Konráðsson was also with the CCP gang working on EVE Online and the now-defunct Dust 514.
Chief Architect Snorri Sturluson has an impressive portfolio that includes titles such as Gauntlet Legends from Atari Gaming, The Sims from everyone’s favorite love-to-hate company, and EVE Online.
CTO Jon Bjarnason, another former CCP employee, has more than 20 years of experience as a game programmer.
In addition to the co-founders, Arctic Theory has more members who were in cahoots at CCP. No doubt they’re all talented and skilled individuals, but can they pull off the next big MMO?
What is Arctic Theory’s vision
The young but ambitious studio has huge plans. They bring together MMO enthusiasm with the aspiration of making something truly groundbreaking. According to the Creative Director, the studio is not just a bunch of people willing to prove themselves.
They share a social connection and want to convey it to the game they’re making. These people know each other and have worked with one another before.
The initially self-funded studio has attracted the attention of Brunnur Ventures, an Icelandic investing company, which committed $2 million as a seed investment. The studio is planning to raise additional capital in 2023 and expand the team.
It seems like Arctic Theory has everything a startup needs: a passionate and experienced team with a vision and financial backup.
Fun fact: they’ve chosen the name Arctic Theory because it just sounded cool. Pun intended? Now, let’s see what exactly is cooking in this northerly oven.
What kind of a game is Annex
Annex – working title – is a co-op MMO. That’s a bit puzzling. Aren’t all MMOs co-op by nature? Yes and no. Theme-park MMORPGs, such as World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV, have a great deal of single-player content in addition to the multiplayer activities that require players to work as a team.
By the description, Annex is a sandbox game pivoting around social interaction. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic universe. Arctic Theory has its office spaces in the Hafnarfjörður lava field. The beautiful surroundings served as a source of inspiration for the world of Annex.
Civilization once existed here, but only vestiges of it remain now. Nature has covered the traces of civilization. What do we say to the natural elements taking over? Not today, not on my watch, no way! The players’ job is to model this savage landscape into a hospitable place for humans.
In order to build something, one needs resources. So, you will adventure into the frozen wastes and collect everything that may help rebuild the civilization. Tools are just as important as resources. By the looks of it, Annex will have intricate gathering and crafting systems.
Building is more than just putting the materials together. You will need to plan the infrastructure and choose a suitable spot for buildings. The developers promise that we will be able to raise all sorts of structures, from secluded outposts to large industrial cities. The world will change under our eyes. The focus is on teamwork. No player creates something solely for personal use.
Just like the developers are working together to create the game, the gameplay will enable players to do the same when undertaking game activities. All your actions lead towards the common goal of transforming the world from a harsh environment into something where humanity can flourish.
How is the Annex gameplay
Annex is an open-ended sandbox game, but it is not a survival game. There is no need to eat, drink, or find shelter from the elements.
The developers call this world post-post-apocalyptic. The adventures are not taking place in the immediate aftermath of the destruction. Plenty of time has passed for the world to heal. It is the optimal time to start rebuilding. The world is a barren construction site. All you need to worry about are how and what you build on it.
We mentioned that harvesting is the starting point of the rebuilding endeavor. Basic materials such as wood and rocks are easily acquired with simple equipment. Our guess is that all players will begin with a rudimentary kit. Using simple tools and basic materials, they will craft advanced utensils to extract more valuable resources.
It will take specialized gear and team building to do that. So, in order to get to the good stuff, you need to work with others. Gathering, building, and manufacturing go hand in hand. Basic tools allow you to extract basic materials that allow you to craft better tools and equipment that leads to processing facilities, such as factories that transform basic resources into proper building materials.
It’s also important where you place these facilities. Players will consider logistics with supply chains and the bigger picture in mind.
Vehicles are on the craftables list too. Not all buildings have an industrial purpose.
Players can also create monuments for aesthetics and functionality.
Exploration is part of the gameplay. No part of the world is unreachable. Bridges, tunnels, and other player-built infrastructure will allow you to uncover all corners of the world.
We don’t know much about the character system, but we do know that players will interact and collaborate no matter their level.
Gating interaction behind levels or predetermined progression stages is one of the things the developers want to avoid. Annex makers speak a lot about creativity and community. It seems like this MMO won’t push you in a certain direction with quests and fixed goals. The player base has total freedom in transforming the world.
When will we get to play Annex
Arctic Theory has been working on the game for two years. The goal is to release it in early access by the end of 2023. We will have more details about the game as we get closer to this yet-unannounced date.
To commemorate the first streaming event, the participants will be able to build a monument that will become the first permanent player-built structure.
As for some technical details, Annex is a PC third-person MMO built in Unreal Engine 5. The developers are not excluding other platforms, but the plan, for now, is to exclusively focus on the PC version.
Annex is a single server MMO. It’s a good thing that the developers choose not to fragment the community. All players can meet and interact with each other. No matter how good the gameplay is, a low-populated server is sure to ruin the overall MMO experience.
Until we find out more about the game, we can speculate based on the available concept art and captures.