Crucible, a new free PC game from Amazon's original game development area, will be released later this month, the e-commerce giant announced on Tuesday. It is the first original budget game from Amazon Game Studios, as the studio has mainly focused on tablet games released through the Android App Store since the division's launch in 2012.
The game is a science fiction third-person shooter that combines a number of popular game designs, including components from team shooters like Blizzards Overwatch, battle arena games like Valves Dota 2, and battle royale hits like Epics Fortnite and Respawn's Apex Legends. The result seems to be a combination of the game industry's most dominant competition titles over the past five years, which could bring Crucible to the top of the Twitch and esports scene if it took off.
Crucible will launch on May 20 for PC only
Crucible offers a list of different characters with specific abilities – Amazon doesn't call them heroes like most other games – and three different game modes, each of which touches the biggest genres of competitive games. The first mode, called Heart of the Hives, is a four-on-four mode in which two teams compete against AI-controlled enemies. In the second mode, Alpha Hunters, eight teams of two compete against each other in a Battle Royale competition, with the last standing team being declared the winner. And the final mode, Harvester Command, sounds a bit like Dota 2 and League of Legends, with two teams of eight competing against each other to collect "essence" and improve your characters during the game.
While that certainty sounds like a game trying to offer a little bit of everything to everyone, Crucible seems to be shooting for a similar part of the season spirit as Riot Games' new tactical shooter Valorant, which blends Overwatch elements with the core design of Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Both games are free PC shooters (at least until the console versions are announced), which will certainly try to attract many streamers and professional players for a top audience seat at Twitch.
Picture: Amazon Game Studios / Relentless
The big difference is that Crucible is developed by the company that owns Twitch, which may offer some marketing advantages, and its developers seem to appeal to both casual gamers and competitors, while Valorant is aimed exclusively at the competition. Crucible will also be launched later this month, while Valorant will be launched later in the summer. But both will vie for attention
Crucible was launched in 2014 and officially announced in 2016 at TwitchCon, the annual meeting for Amazon's live streaming platform. Since then, Relentless has been owned by Amazon Game Studios, a subsidiary of Seattle Seattle, which it redesigned many times last month, according to a New York Times report. The report said Amazon had planned to release Crucible in March, but the studio's managers decided to postpone it until April and then further back to May due to COVID-19.
Crucible has three modes, all inspired by popular competition games
"We just don't know where the world will be in a few weeks," said Frank Castle, director of Relentless Studio, the NYT at the time. The decision was to postpone the game, "instead of putting a lot of pressure and responsibility on a team that has worked very hard for many years of its life when it could go through pretty difficult times with itself or loved ones."
At the time of its release in 2016, Amazon was planning an element of Twitch integration that would give it a unique advantage by allowing a player to stream the game live as a game master who oversees the games. It is not clear that any of this will remain in Crucible now, four years later, as the feature is not mentioned in the Amazon press release.
Crucible is just the first of two big budget games Amazon Game Studios is releasing this year. The second game, called New World, is said to be a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game that is scheduled to be released in August. However, little is known about the title, its appearance or style of play and the popular MMO games that may be inspired by.