Developed by Amazon’s Seattle-based development team Relentless Studios, the game is similar to other popular online titles like Overwatch and Apex Legends. It’s a third-person shooter that takes place in a sci-fi future on the large, jungle-like planet of Crucible, which is home to “Essence,” a valuable substance everyone is vying for. Players can choose to be one of 13 unique characters, each with their own personalities, abilities and upgrades. Depending on the game mode, players can work together in teams of two, four or eight, fighting against other players and the world itself to achieve a specific task. Crucible is free to play, but will be monetized through cosmetics and a “battle pass,” similar to Fortnite.
“One of the things that we hear most often from people who try Crucible is that it feels unique,” Mike Frazzini, vice president of Amazon Games, told Bloomberg. “There are elements and gameplay mechanics that feel familiar, but they’re combined in a way that’s different from anything else they’ve played.”
While this is the company’s first original title, Amazon is no stranger to the games industry. After selling video games and consoles from other publishers for more than a decade, it established Amazon Game Studios in 2012, but has run into many hiccups over the years, and its handful of smaller original games never gained much traction. In 2014, the company also acquired Twitch, the biggest game streaming site in the world, for nearly $1 billion and has since rolled out Twitch Prime, offering a series of benefits for gamers as a part of its Amazon Prime or Prime Video services.
Amazon will be launching another game called New World this August.
Whether these two releases will give Amazon the splash it needs to solidify itself in the game development arena remains to be seen. It faces stiff competition, with longstanding companies like EA and Activision Blizzard constantly improving their popular titles and releasing new content. Plus, unlike Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo — all key players in the games industry — Amazon does not have its own console.
However, Amazon has worked hard to make sure this game has a wide appeal, even going so far as to consult with cosplayers, Twitch streamers and artists about their character design, according to Wired. If players respond like Amazon hopes they do, video game development may just be one more industry this company dominates.