Thursday, May 21, 2020

Amazon launches multiplayer Crucible PC game - here's what it means

Crucible, the latest free-to-play PC game created by Relentless Studios, Amazon's gaming arm, has been launched. The new game can be downloaded on the PC and involves players working with teammates to hunt their opponents and take down hostile creatures on a rogue planet. 

This is Amazon Games Studio's first big-budget original game, given that it has focused mostly on tablet games in the past and released them through the Android app store since 2012, when the games division came into existence. 

Players can choose from a roster of 10 hunters that includes Bugg, the robot botanist, Earl, the interstellar trucker and Summer, a dual-flame-thrower-wielding former welder. Each hunter gets a unique set of weapons and abilities as they seek to destroy their opponents. It is a fast-paced game that challenges players to continuously re-evaluate and calibrate their strategies. 

The game became available in North America last night, immediately after the official launch. According to the Crucible Twitter handle, other regions around the world will soon be able to follow suit. 

Here's how to get set

Crucible begins an 8-week Pre-Season today. During this period, players can learn the game, discover and build skill playing their favourite hunters, and begin honing their strategy before Season 1 kicks off. 

Players who log into Crucible by June 2 will get an early adopter gift of 1,000 Credits deposited into their in-game account. Credits can be redeemed for cosmetic in-game items like skins and emotes, as well as a Pre-Season Battle Pass, available for 950 Credits. The Pre-Season Battle Pass offers players a series of challenges and rewards, including hunter and account customisation options.

Crucible's three modes

  • Heart of the Hives: A 4 vs. 4 battle against giant boss Hives that spawn throughout the world. Each Hive contains a valuable Heart, and the first team to capture three Hearts wins, making each match a dangerous balance between racing the opposing team and surviving the powerful Hives.
  • Alpha Hunters: Eight teams of two take the battlefield and fight to be the final team standing.
  • Harvester Command: Two eight-person teams battle to capture and hold Harvesters spread across the map, vying for control of the Essence that drew them all to the planet. Teams earn points by controlling Harvesters and defeating opponents, and the first team to 100 points wins.

The Twitch advantage

A major advantage that the Crucible would have is that it is created by the company that owns Twitch, a live video-streaming service operated by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon. Without doubt, this could help the game garner marketing advantages.

Moreover, the creators of the game are obviously targeting both casual as well as competitive gamers. The theme of the game is obviously inspired by MOBAs as the fact remains that Relentless is not the first studio to use genre-blending as the foundation of its game. Epic Games had done in 2016 with Paragon, an action-packed MOBA which didn't really hit bulls-eye with the gamers. 

The same year, Battleborn, a first-person shooter, came from the Gearbox Software stable that received some positive reviews but didn't really set the cash registers dinging. In spite of these failures, Relentless has gone ahead with the genre-blending idea. The company roped in people from different communities such as professional gamers and streamers to provide feedback. 

And Relentless has one thing that other game developers do not. And that is the name Amazon. 

“As players around the world enter Crucible for the first time today, we’re eager to see how they adapt their strategies to hunt and survive in a constantly changing world,” said Christoph Hartmann, vice president at Amazon Games. “Each new match in Crucible requires fast thinking and quick adaptation to tackle each challenge that comes their way," Hartmann said in a prepared statement. 

Crucible, which is available for free on PC via Steam,  was developed by Relentless Studios, an Amazon Games development studio located in Seattle. The studio is led by Louis Castle, co-founder of Westwood Studios. The company's next big ticket release would be titled New World and should be launched on August 25, 2020. 

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