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In a move almost unheard of in the gaming industry, Relentless is regressing Crucible, its recently launched free-to-play hero shooter, back to closed beta state. The Amazon backed title released in May to lukewarm response. Crucible‘s popularity immediately waned after launch, dropping from 120,000 viewers on Twitch the day it came out to just 69 as of writing.
The move back to closed beta is part of Relentless’s response to the lack of enthusiasm around Crucible. The studio has hosted a public roadmap on Trello and is cutting the game’s scope to concentrate on the most popular mode, Heart of the Hives. As such, the other two launch modes, Harvester Command and Alpha Hunters, will be retired shortly.
In the dev blog describing the move from full release to closed beta, Relentless described how the process will proceed. If you’ve already downloaded Crucible and created an account, you’ll be able to continue playing as usual. The game will still be available 24/7 and will work through Steam as usual. The devs will be scheduling time each week to play with the community and receive one-on-one feedback about the game.
If you haven’t signed up for Crucible, you have until 9 am PT on 7/1 to do so. After that, you’ll have to wait for a new round of beta sign-ups, which will come in the near future.
While this is an unusual move for a game, especially one backed by such a large company, it’s admirable that Relentless is dedicated to fixing Crucible. The current player count on Steam (according to Steamcharts) is 183, down from a peak of 10,600. It takes some determination to dedicate time to improving a product that’s flopped so hard. We’ll have to see if this attempt to salvage the game pays off in the coming months.