Perhaps it was just bad timing. Perhaps if Amazon Game Studios had released Crucible sooner, it would have been a hit.
Or perhaps it was marketing—or the lack thereof—that sunk the quirky competitive shooter, giving it one of the shortest lifespans in AAA game development.
Crucible was released on May 20th of this year, was promptly delisted from Steam in July and returned to Closed Beta status. Now, Amazon is now pulling the proverbial plug on November 9th when servers will officially go dark. That’s not quite half a year.
Then again, maybe Amazon simply shouldn’t have named its competitive shooter after the competitive mode in Destiny 2—a far better, more polished game. Just a thought.
Don’t get me wrong, when I previewed Crucible just before its launch, I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. Not enough to make it a regular part of my gaming repertoire, but enough to recommend it to others (hey it’s free, so why not?)
The “Heart Of Hives” mode, in particular, was quite fun and I do think that if Amazon had focused on that mode alone it might have been a bigger success (along with, you know, actual marketing and what have you). But the game needed work. It needed to be faster and less clunky. The third-person shooting was uninspired despite some characters having some pretty cool powers.
“We’ll be discontinuing development on Crucible,” Relentless Studios wrote in a blog post Friday. “We very much appreciate the way that our fans have rallied around our efforts, and we’ve loved seeing your responses to the changes we’ve made over the last few months, but ultimately we didn’t see a healthy, sustainable future ahead of Crucible.”
It’s weird. Amazon seems to have almost zero clue what it’s doing when it comes to game development. So far, we’ve seen a string of misfires and cancellations. The big MMORPG New World is now slated for a 2021 release but, and I hate to break this to you, Amazon, MMOs reached their heyday years ago. There was never much room in that market to begin with, but this is quite literally the definition of “late to the party.”
You know what kind of games Amazon should be making? They should be making Fall Guys or Among Us. They should be making fun little games that people want to watch on Twitch. They should be making single-player titles that show off pretty graphics and tell great stories. They should not be shooting for the moon with an MMO.
Crucible wasn’t a terrible game, by any means, but it wasn’t a great game either. I can see how it would get repetitive quickly. It was attempting to capitalize on lots of trends. Battle Royale, MOBAs and so forth. It needed focus. Amazon, it seems, needs to focus and needs to start setting realistic expectations for itself. More than anything, Amazon needs to realize what types of games people are actually playing these days, and anticipate where we’ll be at in a couple of years.
In any case, Crucible is dead. RIP. What a shame.
Amazon is offering refunds for people who purchased micro-transactions during the free-to-play game’s ever so brief lifespan, so that’s good.
For further reading on just how badly Amazon has screwed up its entrance into the video game industry, read this piece from Wired. Fascinating stuff.