Amazon has pulled its first major game release, putting it back into a testing phase after poor feedback from players.
Free-to-play shooter Crucible is now being put back into “closed beta” – a pre-release stage with a limited number of players.
Current players will be part of the beta, but new players will be unable to download the game without an invite.
Amazon said it had listened to player feedback and would “continue to make the game better”.
In May, when the game was about to be released, Amazon Games vice-president Mike Frazzini told the BBC the company wanted “to make games that resonate with a very large audience of players”.
“Ultimately the players will get to decide whether or not we succeed… ultimately we don’t know how good it is until it gets out there,” he said.
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Crucible is a team-based competitive PC shooter, which entered a crowded market on its release. It uses a hero-centred roster concept, which is dominated by Blizzard’s Overwatch, and a third-person viewpoint and free-to-play model similar to Fortnite. Call of Duty: Warzone has become a major player in recent months, while the much-anticipated Valorant released in June. And Ubisoft is expected to announced its own contender, a free-to-play battle royale shooter, in the coming days.
IGN’s review began by declaring the game “like a monster assembled from dismembered design ideas from the world of e-sports”, criticising its lack of focus. PC Gamer, meanwhile, criticised the game’s technical performance and “boring” gameplay.
Weeks after its release, Crucible’s developers published a blog acknowledging some of the negative feedback, and admitting that “there are features that we need to add as a top priority”.
That was followed up by the announcement that the team was putting the game back into closed beta.
Deciding to pull the game from general release is rare but not unheard of, and some games have gone on to major success after a rocky launch.
Final Fantasy XIV, a multiplayer online RPG, famously launched to terrible reviews, and its developers made the unprecedented decision to write a story leading up to an apocalypse which shut the game down. It later re-released a hugely changed version of the same game to critical success.
And Fortnite began as a mildly successful survival shooter game. Its landmark Battle Royale mode was added after release, going on to become one of the most popular games of all time.
Amazon is due to release its other tentpole game from another of its studios, online roleplaying game New World, in August. But unlike Crucible, it will not try to attract players by being free-to-play – with the standard edition of the game currently on sale for £35.