2020's set to be the year when Amazon Game Studios, the video game development division of the e-commerce giant, starts to bear interesting fruit. Before Amazon launches its long-incubating MMO New World later this year, the company is debuting its entry into the crowded free-to-play shooter space: Relentless Studios' Crucible goes live on May 20.
Launching just on PC, at least to start, Crucible sees players choosing from a cast of 10 different hunter characters to form teams for competitive play. The hunters look to vary drastically in profile and abilities, ranging from a cutesy robot to a lumbering alien with a trucker hat and a quad laser.
In teams of two, four, or eight depending on the mode, you'll be fighting to collect Essence (which can upgrade your abilities), hunt hostile alien fauna, and kill opposing teams. Two of the three game types involve capturing or hold objectives, and the third is more of a straight last-team-standing mode, sort of like a Duos' battle royale in miniature.
Crucible is the first major, high-budget release to come from Amazon Game Studios since its founding in 2012. Relentless, the studio behind it, is led by Westwood Studios co-founder Louis Castle. As a New York Times report revealed last month, the studio's name was bestowed to it by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Bezos certainly has good reason to take a special interest in the success of Amazon Game Studios. Amazon's been investing in talent, engine technology, and original titles for the past eight years and has so far had little to show for it, apart from a tie-in game for The Grand Tour, the cancellation of Breakaway, layoffs, and some high-profile exits. With Crucible coming soon and New World set to launch in August, Amazon has two big chances to prove that it's a serious contender in the games industry based on the quality of its output.
Having reliably strong first-party games would definitely help Amazon if, as indicated by reporting last year, it plans on launching its own cloud gaming service. Amazon's so big it could surely strike deals with other developers and publishers to bring good games its way, but the recent debut of Stadia has once again helped demonstrate why it's a good idea to launch a platform with strong exclusives.