Hunt. Level. Adapt. These are the words that frame the shot as the behemoth that is Amazon enters the fray. Amazon’s game publishing arm, Amazon Game Studios, released a gameplay trailer of their third-person hero shooter, Crucible, and it’s set to release on May 20, 2020. With Crucible’s developer, Relentless Studios, Amazon will make its big debut into the shooter genre with the game’s launch. Now with Crucible cresting the horizon and their MMO, New World, in the pre-order stage, Amazon is setting up to be a sizable competitor in the world of multiplayer gaming. Whether or not Amazon has their eyes set on pushing Crucible into Esports territory is yet unknown. No matter their AAA budget, however, the players will speak and be the final judges on whether Crucible will last in the wilderness with Overwatch, Apex Legends, and soon-to-be Valorant stalking from on high.
“Welcome to Crucible, where each match is a struggle for control,” and for those familiar with Epic Games’ Paragon and Motiga’s Gigantic — may they rest in peace — Crucible will look very familiar. With a handful of MOBA-like elements tossed in, Crucible’s core mechanics are based on the foundation of foresight, adaptation, wit, and team strategy in a PvPvE setting.
The game is “a free-to-play team-based action shooter where your gameplay is defined by the choices you make,” and players will need to react to the unpredictable nature of human opponents in addition to the alien planet they find themselves on itself as it morphs throughout the course of a match.
Players choose from an initial roster of ten characters that cover a variety of play styles called Hunters, and the unique arsenal of abilities and weapons that characterize each Hunter are accessible at the start of a game. Crucible has a customization feature vaguely similar to a skill tree in an RPG: pre-match, players sub-specialize their Hunter by choosing certain upgrades and a specific leveling order to better fit a role for that particular match. This eliminates the need to choose anything mid-match, but the trade-off is that player foresight and choices really matter. It also creates a lack of conventional roles and team compositions, as Hunters are incredibly diverse in their ability to be tailored according to a player’s needs. As far as matches go, the game will contain three different game modes, all with PvP and PvE elements:
Heart of the Hives – a 4v4 race of resource acquisition by way of killing PvE bosses and collecting three of their hearts to win. Enemy players can sabotage and interrupt your team as you attempt to collect your resource.
Alpha Hunters – eight teams of two compete against each other to be the last team standing. The trick here is that downed players can team up to form a new team, but “these alliances are quite fragile,” as YouTuber DukeSloth remarks in his gameplay review video. You can totally ditch your teammate and team up with another through this, and if the game gets down to three players, the match becomes a 1v1v1.
Harvester Command – an 8v8 resource-based competition in which teams battle to gain the most of a resource called Essence by fighting to take control of Essence Harvesters. The first team to 100 points wins.
An additional component of Crucible’s gameplay is the ability for Hunters to level up. As Crucible’s team notes, “Essence is a strange substance with incredible properties, and it’s the object of all the commotion on the planet Crucible. You can get it from opponents and creatures you kill, or by controlling objectives. As you collect Essence, you’ll level up.” From that leveling up, you’ll get access to your pre-chosen upgrades in your first five levels. After that, the more you level up, the more your raw power and health increase.
The last ingredient to a Hunter’s success is only the strategy and wit you bring to the table as a player. Players must not only be vigilant and quick to capitalize on the changing nature of Crucible’s landscape in order to secure victory but be discerning with how to play their Hunter on the battlefield. Predictive, skillful, and flexible seem to be the name of the game with Crucible’s upcoming hero shooter.
DukeSloth makes an interesting point towards the sustainability and growth potential of the game, hinting that a priority on watchability through clear animations and game state notifiers is no accident. Amazon does own Twitch, after all, and the potential for the game as an Esport is definitely there. Now, all that’s left to do is to wait until the horn is blown and the gates are open to see what Crucible’s true potential really is.
Crucible will be released exclusively on PC and is available to wishlist on Steam now.