Less than two months after the formal launch of Amazon Gamesâ first major PC game on Steam, Crucible, the company has chosen to yank it right out of Steamâs store. Its developers at Relentless Studios (a wholly owned Amazon subsidiary) have announced plans to delist the free-to-play action-MOBA game from Steam starting tomorrow, July 1, while continuing to operate the game as a âclosed betaâ for anyone who already downloaded the game (or paid for one of its âfounders packsâ of cosmetic DLC).
In an announcement on the gameâs official site, its developers describe this change as a way to âhelp us focus on providing the best possible experience for our players.â As far as remaining players go, however, that assurance may ring a bit hollow, since its delisting will likely reduce the available player pool from its already minuscule population (as of press time, itâs only had more than 200 concurrent players once over the past week).
Although the game will continue to launch through Steam, starting at 12pm on July 1, new players will no longer be able to search for the game and freely download its client. Instead, theyâll have to sign up to play the game at the official site, where they will wait for a closed-beta invite. (If you think youâll want to play the game eventually and want to save yourself some headaches, head to Crucibleâs Steam listing and add it to your library right now.)
Another action-MOBA bites the dust?
Arguably, this move is less about helping the gameâs developers alter and upgrade the gameâs contents and more about changing the way outsiders view its tiny player population. Relentless Studios, the wholly owned Amazon subsidiary responsible for the game, was already able to make drastic changes to the Crucible client in the past month, particularly by removing an entire game mode in order to better focus its remaining player population.
Amazon Gamesâ inexperience with the games-as-a-service sector was already a worrying issue when Crucible launched in mid-May. Itâs still unclear why the company chose to launch the game to the public in a wide-open, â1.0â state in May as opposed to testing the waters of public perception with invite-only beta tests or a soft, âearly accessâ launch. (The reasoning didnât seem to beÂ entirely about making money via microtransactions, as all players who signed up over the past month were given roughly $10 of free credits for joining the gameâs launch period.) That kind of sudden rush to market was doubly weird in the case of this gameâs âaction-MOBAâ genre, since other major forays into that gameplay model, particularly Epicâs Paragon and Gearboxâs Battleborn, had so loudly crashed-and-burned.
While Relentless has offered insight into its plans for updating and developing the game over time, the studio still hasnât committed to adding built-in text chatâa serious oversight for a game that cannot be won without coordinated strategiesâor systems to deal with rage-quitters, so that dedicated players donât get punished for sticking to unwinnable 3v4 or 2v4 matches. (The only consolation as of press time is a mild boost for lopsided teams and a somewhat new âsurrenderâ option.)
Also, since Relentless is taking this game back behind a curtain for tinkering, Iâll add one small request: change the name of the game before you relaunch. âCrucibleâ has long been established as the mode name for Destiny and Destiny 2âs versus modes.