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Amazon's Crucible retreating back into closed beta

Less than six weeks after launching Crucible, Amazon are taking their free-to-play multiplayer shooter back into closed beta. It was not well-received or well-played, and last weekend didn’t even break 200 players in-game at the same time. So they’re taking it back into beta to fix and improve, then presumably relaunch later. Those player numbers are honestly not uncommon for a new multiplayer shooter, because it’s a perilous genre and most flop, but I imagine they’re a touch disappointing to a company worth $1 trillion.

The developers, Amazon’s Relentless Studios said in the announcement that going back into closed beta “will help us focus on providing the best possible experience for our players as we continue to make the game better.” They say that, following their roadmap, they’ll be “working on map, combat, and system changes to improve the Heart of the Hives experience as well as implementing other improvements based on your feedback and what we think the game needs in order to thrive.” The beta will run 24/7, with scheduled times for intense tests with devs. And they want to establish a community council of players of all sorts and skills to help focus feedback.

Relentless Studios already cut two modes and delayed its first season, three weeks after launch.

The game had an all-time peak of 10,600 concurrent players following its launch in May but numbers have dropped dramatically since then, peaking at 183 yesterday with a low of 58 according to public numbers. It’s a good sign that at least it never has zero players, that matches are apparently still going all day. I’ve seen worse, I’m saying, and from companies which didn’t potentially have the financial backing to keep working long enough to get a game people want to play. But does Crucible have that potential?

“On paper, Crucible was built for me,” our Matt said in his Crucible review. “It’s a MOBA-infused hero shooter with an emphasis on mobility, with a diverse line-up and some interesting new ideas. In reality, I’d rather play any of the many games that grapple with just one of Crucible’s heads, and pulls it off far better. This hydra might be sprawling, but none of it looks healthy.”

If you haven’t played Crucible yet but would like to play in the closed beta, you have until 5pm today (9am Pacific) to claim it on Steam before the gates are locked.

Amazon Game Studios has been a cursed endeavour so far. They announced three games in 2016, of which one has been cancelled, one is still in closed beta, and now the one which did launch has gone back into closed beta. Star hires like Clint Hocking and Kim Swift left long before any game came out. Amazon also reportedly cancelled several unannounced projects and laid off dozens of employees in 2019.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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