After various social media posts teasing the launch of something new, Zwift has today unveiled what it's been working on with the release of an all-new virtual world, to be known as the Makuri Islands.
The new world, according to Zwift, won't be a replica of a real-world location. Instead, it is a fantasy landscape inspired by the culture of Japan.
The first map to be rideable within the new world will be known as Yumezi, 53 miles of new roads that are "a fantastical countryside destination inspired by Japanese culture," according to the announcement's accompanying press release.
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Zwift says the Yumezi map will feature a mix of roads, dirt roads and cobbled surfaces. Making up the surrounding scenery will be a mixture of open fields and ginkgo forests, each filled with waterfalls, temples, cherry blossom trees, and even mystical creatures.
The map is set to be predominantly flat, however, there's still something for the climbers as the shortest route, 'Sea to Tree', measures just 3.3km in distance and climbs 108m per lap.
The new world will enter regular rotation on June 1, however, it will also be available to ride as a 'guest world' throughout today.
Routes within Zwift's Yumezi map
- Sea to Tree (3.3km/108m elevation)
- Kappa Quest (9.1km/140m elevation)
- Chain Chomper (13.6km/184m elevation)
- Countryside Tour (15.9km/185m elevation)
- Flatland Loop (13km/99m elevation)
- Two Village Loop (12.8km/88m elevation)
- Spirit Forest (8.5km/135m elevation)
- Three Village Loop (10.6km/93m elevation)
According to Zwift's PR Director, Chris Snook, there are plans to add maps to the Makuri Islands world, but he was coy on details or a timeline: "There are plans to expand Makuri Islands," he confirmed, before adding "I'm afraid you'll have to wait for more news on the next expansion".
Despite confirming that the Makuri Islands world is inspired by Japanese culture, and despite the obvious connection to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, Snook insists that the launch isn't related to the upcoming Games.
"The new world is not associated with the Olympics," he explained. "Nor is it a replica of any real-world location. Yumezi is a fantasy map inspired by Japanese culture."
It was recently announced that Zwift had partnered with the UCI - cycling's governing body - and the International Olympic Committee to create the upcoming Olympic Virtual Series. It's not yet confirmed whether any of those races will be ridden in the new Makuri Islands, but Snook promises an announcement on the 27th May.
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Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.
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