Amazon’s Christoph Hartman admits company did “exactly the wrong thing” with ‘Crucible’

"Don’t go and do what everyone else does because everyone else went for battle royale shooters"

During an interview with NME, Amazon vice president Christoph Hartmann talked frankly about the company’s failed battle royale shooter Crucible.

Crucible launched in May 2020, and was pulled back into closed beta in June of the same year before being cancelled last October. Hartmann admitted that the company learned a valuable lesson from the game: not to try and chase game development trends.

“That’s one of the lessons out of Crucible,” said Hartmann in our interview. “Don’t go and do what everyone else does because everyone else went for battle royale shooters, because there was Fortnite, there was PUBG. It’s exactly the wrong thing we did there. That was my first year [at Amazon]. The decision had already been taken, and also when [development started on Crucible], there was no Fortnite. You know, it wasn’t just copycat. Many people had the same idea at the same time.”

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Crucible
Crucible. Credit: Amazon

Hartmann then explained that the reason he was so keen to move ahead with New World as an MMO was because MMOs are currently not in fashion. “The reason we made an MMO is because everyone went away from it,” says Hartmann. “I’ve got good experience of doing things other people didn’t want to do.”

During the interview he also praised Amazon for their actions after Crucible’s cancellation: “My whole approach to making games really fits well with Amazon, because it, too, always wants to play the long game,” says Hartmann. “After Crucible, Amazon didn’t go into panic mode and change everything, it didn’t fire someone; it just got more ambitious and said ‘let’s double down’ and started seeing what it could learn from the experience.”

Elsewhere, an update to Returnal is coming that will include the ability to save mid-run and a photo-mode.

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