Amazon Studios finally released its first game Thursday, eight years after entering the video game publishing market. Titled “Crucible,” the action-adventure game aims to compete with Riot Games’ blockbuster “League of Legends.”
The free-to-play team shooter from Amazon and developer Relentless Studios is available now on PCs via Valve’s Steam platform, and a new launch trailer debuted today to hype up fans.
“Crucible” was originally announced in 2016, but the game has reportedly taken many forms throughout development. Game lead Colin Johanson told computer gaming magazine PCGamesN that Amazon Studios made several key development changes based on feedback from the gaming community.
“We worked with pro gamers, streamers, content creators, cosplayers, figurine designers, tournament organizers, dancers, cultural consultants, and many more” to make a game that could compete with mainstream titles, Johanson said, adding “we made some massive shifts in development based off of these conversations.”
Some of these massive shifts included changing the in-game economy. While “Crucible” is free, Amazon will monetize via purchases of a season pass or in-game items. No “pay-to-win” items will be offered, Johanson said.
“We tossed out the entirety of our original monetization plans, redesigned the visual direction of nearly all the hunters in the game, and removed entire game systems” before reaching the final product, Johanson said. “I hope (creators and players) find a game that’s significantly better than the one we shared with them in the early days, and know that time they spent helping us was worthwhile.”
The game is aesthetically similar to Activision Blizzard’s hit hero shooter “Overwatch,” which was released in 2016. “Crucible” players can choose from 10 characters to play in three different battle modes against other online combatants.
“Crucible” has big shoes to step into if it wants to take over the dominance “League of Legends” has maintained over the esports and PC gaming market for over a decade. Riot Games operates over 20 different esports leagues based around “League of Legends” and the title has over 100 million active players each month. Amazon does have an advantage in that it owns Twitch, the leading game streaming platform, and will likely use that connection to recruit streamers to play the game and increase its exposure.
It remains unclear if Amazon will look to turn “Crucible” into an esport.
“We like to look at as an ongoing challenge to keep working with the community and to deliver the most fun competitive experience that we can, so that’s what we’ve done, and what we will continue to do long after launch,” combat design lead Jon Peters told PCGamesN.
Nick Statt, a reviewer for The Verge, described “Crucible” design as “a rather bland aesthetic,” but said that the game does manage to recreate some of the excitement in “League of Legends.”
“All of its well-worn game modes, including a mini battle royale and one inspired by e-sports heavyweights like League of Legends, feel more like new experiences rather than remixes of popular classics,” Statt wrote Wednesday.
Watch the “Crucible” trailer below: