Amazon Game Studios is taking esports to where it’s never been before. In a partnership with the Royal Dutch Navy, Red Bull Esports and AMD, pro teams Echo Fox and Rogue will go head-to-head to play Breakaway—a squad-based brawler where players take the roles of mythic heroes to compete against each other—aboard a naval battleship at sea. All of the high-seas action can be seen on the Red Bull Esports Twitch channel on Monday, June 26 at 3 p.m. ET.
The Battle on the High Seas event was announced last week via an official Breakaway blog post with a live action trailer that demonstrates some of the fast paced gameplay onboard the Royal Dutch Navy battleship. To win, teams must either take control of a golden orb (called a Relic) and bring it to the opponent’s base to score, or completely eliminate the opposing team’s players. Matches are limited to four minutes to keep the action going and the intensity high, which is magnified with the exhibition game’s exciting real-life setting. Viewers can also look forward to prizes, with Rogue running a sweepstake to give away four AMD Ryzen processors and 2,000 Breakaway alpha keys to promote the event.
Talking with AListDaily, David Silverman, head of marketing at Amazon Game Studios Orange County, explained how this partnership to bring esports aboard a battleship came together.
“It all started with the Royal Dutch Navy—they were looking for ways to incorporate competitive gaming into Sail Den Helder, an annual gathering of the largest tall ships in the world,” said Silverman. “After hearing a TEDx talk from our head of esports, Jonathan Pan, they approached him with this awesome opportunity.”
Silverman then talked about how Red Bull became involved. “Red Bull’s approach to esports, specifically their focus on community tournaments and the way they let players—rather than their own brand—take center stage in their marketing, really resonated with us. They liked our approach to competitive gaming too, so we decided to work together, starting with a Breakaway playtest at their Santa Monica studios. We started working with Echo Fox and Rogue around the same time.”
As for AMD and Razer, Silverman said, “we’ve worked closely with AMD since we unveiled Breakaway. They are passionate about gaming and we love working with them. Razer helped sponsor our USC vs. UCLA exhibition match a few months back, and was also great to work with. We’re thrilled to see all these pieces come together for Battle on the High Seas.”
When asked what inspired this event, Silverman replied, “It sounded like an incredibly cool opportunity, and we thought it was something our community would think was a lot of fun.” The tournament will be played inside of the battleship so that the heavy North Sea winds won’t interfere with the competition, and the casters will be on the second deck.
We also asked Silverman how the battleship will be featured in the event and whether sailors from the Dutch Royal Navy will be involved.
“The Battle on the High Seas is happening during Sail Den Helder, and the ship we’ll be in, The Holland, will lead 150+ ships when we all sail out to sea to conclude the event,” said Silverman. “Four sailors will participate in the undercard match, and the Navy is also providing two drone operators to help film the event.”
So, what makes Breakaway the ideal game for an esports competition on the high seas? “Breakaway is a team battle sport that focuses on sport and intensity,” Silverman explained. “The competitive nature of Breakaway has attracted a lot of teams who are looking for something that has a similar skill gap to the games they currently play, but resolves in just a couple minutes.
“In addition to the fast gameplay, we built Breakaway to be just as fun to watch as it is to play. We’ve been hosting weekly broadcasts on Twitch since we announced the game at TwitchCon last year, and for the launch of our June alpha, we thought this event would be a great way to kick things off for our European players who now have dedicated EU servers online. Hopefully, this is the start of bringing high-intensity competition to cool and unique venues. If this goes well, maybe there will be a Breakaway Battle in the Skies or Breakaway Battle in Space!”