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Amazon cancels Crucible - five months after release and four months after un-release

Signing off.

Amazon has cancelled Crucible, its free-to-download multiplayer action game.

Crucible launched in May 2020 with little fanfare, and player numbers dwindled soon after. In early June Amazon "retired" two of its three modes. Then, later that month, Amazon "un-released" the game, bringing Crucible into closed beta in a bid to save a project years in the making.

In a post on the game's website, developer Relentless Studios said "ultimately we didn't see a healthy, sustainable future ahead of Crucible".

The development team will now transition to work on Amazon's MMO New World as well as other upcoming projects from Amazon Games. A full refund for any purchases made is available, and credit purchases within the game are now disabled. Servers will stay up for custom games until 9th November 2020. Amazon has yet to say whether the change will result in any layoffs.

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Crucible has been a disaster for Amazon's troubled entry into the video game market. When Crucible was announced in September 2016, it was billed as a sort of battle royale, a "last one standing third-person shooter" in which 12 hunters enter an alien hostile world, but only one emerges victorious. Not only that, it was said that because the world is dangerous, players would have to work together, and make or break alliances on the fly.

Crucible was also supposed to have a 13th player - "a new type of player" - who can broadcast and directly impact the game by creating events. And, it was said, viewers on Twitch would be able to interact with the "gamemaster" as well.

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But Amazon's first ever internally-developed PC game changed dramatically over the course of development, and launched as a free-to-download, team-based, MOBA-style third-person shooter instead. The features that were meant to lean on Amazon's ownership of the streaming platform Twitch were no more. That 13th player - the "gamemaster" who would broadcast Crucible and impact it, alongside their viewers, was nowhere to be found.

Thoughts now turn to the aforementioned New World, which is still without a release date, although Bertie played it in August and was pleasantly surprised, and Amazon's cloud gaming service Luna, which is due out for Fire TV, PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android soon.

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As with Google and Microsoft's similarly styled offerings, Stadia and Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass, Amazon's pitch is immediate access to a wide range of games across multiple devices. Unlike Stadia's much-maligned effort, however, Amazon is opting for something closer to an all-inclusive subscription model, initially offering over 100 games via its Luna+ channel for an "introductory price" of $5.99 a month during early access.

Games will be playable at up to 4K/60fps, and will initially include Control, Panzer Dragoon, A Plague Tale: Innocence, The Surge 2, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, GRID, Resident Evil 7, Abzu, and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. More will be added over time. Crucible, though, will not be one of them.

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