Crucible, Amazon's recently launched free-to-play team-based shooter, will be "retiring" two of its three modes "for the foreseeable future".
When Crucible was announced back in 2016, it was touted as a "last one standing third-person shooter", but, as developer Relentless told Eurogamer last month, things shifted dramatically during development. By the time Crucible launched on 20th May, it had morphed into a team-based shooter closer to a MOBA, featuring three distinct modes.
Alpha Hunters mode is designed to offer a battle-royale-esque fight for survival against seven other teams of two, while Harvester Command sees two teams of eight players attempting to capture and hold control points around the map. Last up is Heart of the Hives, pitting players not only against other teams but giant creatures that dropped hearts upon defeat, with the winning team being the first to secure three hearts.
In a new developer update, however, Relentless has announced it will be "retiring" all but Hearts of the Hive mode, which it says is where an overwhelming number of all matches are played. "Focusing on one mode allows us to refine the design of core systems without the compromises we needed to make to support three game modes", it explained.
"The community has rallied around Heart of the Hives in an amazing way," it wrote, "Moving forward, we'll be putting all of our efforts towards Heart of the Hives and what we can do to make that mode shine." To that end, Alpha Hunters will be removed "soon", while Harvester Command will be dropped "once our new player experience has been improved."
While jettisoning two thirds of the game a little over two weeks after launch might raise a few eyebrows, Relentless' Colin Johanson, speaking in a developer video accompanying the studio's blogpost, insisted these sorts of core changes were always planned for Crucible's current "pre-season" period - although he acknowledged the developer "could have done a better job" explaining that in advance. "We won't begin Season 1 until we feel and we hear from our community that the game is ready to begin its first major live season", he continued.
As Relentless shifts its focus exclusively toward Heart of the Hives, it will roll out its planned improvements in two phases. The first will concentrate on introducing features the studio says "we know we need", including voice chat, a surrender option, systems for dealing with AFK players, an improved ping system, and a mini-map. It'll also be working to improve frame rate, hit feedback, matchmaking, and the onboarding process for new players.
The second phase is currently a little more nebulous, with Relentless telling Crucible fans that much will depend on their feedback from phase one. The developer does, however, say it's looking to tailor the map to better fit Heart of the Hives' needs, to improve creatures, to add custom game support, and better social functionality.
Relentless says it will continue to release bug fixes and improvements while it works toward its longer-term goals, and will be sharing its thoughts in developer updates along the way. "We're excited about the road ahead," it concluded, "We're going to be making a lot of changes based on your feedback, and at the end of this we'll have built a great game together."