July 1, 2020 | 15:00
In a move that basically never happens, Amazon has pulled the release of its shooter Crucible and placed it back into a closed beta program.
The free-to-play game was Amazon Game Studios' first big-budget release. It combined elements of the hero shooter genre and Mobile Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs), effectively trying to be like an attractive cross between Overwatch and League of Legends. Reviews were mixed though, mostly because the game lacked genuine originality and it was all a bit forgettable, despite having a few neat ideas up its sleeve.
Now, the game has been placed back in a closed beta state for some key refinements. In a blog post, franchise lead Colin Johanson explained that the focus is now on "providing the best possible experience for our players as we continue to make the game better," with the game reverting back to its pre-release state so the developer can work on enacting those key changes.
By the sounds of things, there's a fair amount of work to be done. Johanson added, "we’ll continue following the roadmap we laid out previously and 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."
Somewhat sensibly, developer Relentless plans on using the community it's retained so far to figure out what else needs doing. In the blog post, it's explained that, "we’re setting up a community council, made up of beta participants of all playstyles from casual to highly competitive players, who we’ll be working especially closely with. We’ll have more information on that council, as well as our weekly play schedule, soon."
Interestingly though, players are fine to discuss and share content about the game openly on social media because, well, there's something about closing the stable door after the horse has bolted here, isn't there?
Admittedly, the Heart of the Hives mode was only focused on last month after other modes like Battle Royale and Team Deathmatch were dropped so it probably could do with a fair amount of refinement and extra work. Even more so given it's now the only mode that the game offers.
However, it's an incredibly unusual move to basically 'unrelease' a game. We can't actually think of any other recent example with even rocky launches like Final Fantasy XIV leading to patches upon patches rather than removal from official release.
If you happen to be one of the people who has Crucible already downloaded, you can still play it and the game will still function as normal. Everyone else will have to sign up for an invite through the game's website. According to Polygon, the game only has around 150 people online at any one time so we're guessing not many of you have it installed.
It's currently unknown how long the game will be in closed beta for again.
December 11 2020 | 17:30