Bandai Namco used the newest edition of The Game Awards to reveal that their anime MMORPG Blue Protocol will be released in the West in 2023 as a result of a new relationship with Amazon Games, as well as to provide a new video for the upcoming title. The Japanese studio has been working on the game for more than a decade since Blue Protocol was originally scheduled for a 2021 release before being delayed due to a pandemic.
Blue Protocol has long been compared to HoYoverse’s hit gacha game Genshin Impact because of its anime art style, free-to-play business model, and action RPG gameplay. However, the parallels between the two appear to end there, as Blue Protocol was envisioned as a full-fledged MMO that is far too complicated to be played on a touchscreen and hence will not be released on mobile devices. Based on the promotional materials released so far by Bandai Namco, Blue Protocol appears to be more akin to Sega’s blockbuster 2012 MMORPG Phantasy Star Online 2 than Genshin Impact.
Blue Protocol will be released in the West by Bandai Namco and Amazon Games in the second half of 2023.
The language of their announcement hints that Japan may still be able to play the game early, as the developers previously stated that Blue Protocol will be released in their native nation in spring 2023. The free-to-play ARPG will be set in the open world of Regnas, with Bandai Namco earlier promising “extensive character customization” and an “immersive multiplayer experience” that will still be mostly accessible to solo players. Blue Protocol will start with five character classes, including paladin-like Blade Wardens and Keen Striders, who resemble Bravers from Phantasy Star Online 2, minus the katanas.
Signups for the Western version of Blue Protocol’s closed beta are already accessible on the game’s official website. It’s not surprising, given Bandai Namco’s choice of publisher, that pre-registering for the test requires an Amazon account. A live server test has already been scheduled for the weekend of January 16, 2023, with the creators claiming that this PC-only testing instance will be limited to 50,000 players. Because of the complexities of producing and maintaining modern live-service games, it’s entirely possible that this will not be the only live server test done before the game’s release.
Blue Protocol hopes to build on Amazon Games’ track record of localizing some of the most popular MMORPG ventures from the Far East. The business most recently handled the Western version of the popular Korean MMO Lost Ark, which was released to English-speaking audiences in early 2022.
Blue Protocol is coming to PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S in the second half of 2023.