Relentless Games and Amazon’s team-based shooter Crucible had a rough launch when it came to PC last month. Right now the game has a 56 on Metacritic, and since then Relentless Games has laid out some steps for how it plans to improve the experience moving forward. But it looks like the game is taking an interesting detour in the process: it’s going back into a closed beta.
Through a post on the game’s official site, Relentless Games explained its reasoning for this, as well as how it will affect existing players. In short, it won’t mean much to anyone who’s already playing the game, but as this beta will be closed, anyone who doesn’t have the game before it begins tomorrow (July 1) at 9 a.m. PT, will either have to sign up for the beta and wait for approval, or wait for the game to go public again.
Beyond that, Relentless is looking to create a sort of “community council” comprised of high-level players and casual fans alike, in order to help the team iterate on the game and improve it. Along with gathering feedback from this council, developers will be joining in on scheduled play sessions to test things out and take notes from other players.
If you’re already playing Crucible, most of whatever’s coming will be business as usual for you, as you’ll still launch the game the same way, maintain all your progress, and any in-game content you’ve purchased will still be accessible.
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Since the game being put back into beta isn’t going to affect Relentless’ plans in terms of changes and content updates, the studio said in its June 4 developer update that right now it’s divided its plans into two phases: one that will focus on fixing and updating established core systems, and a second that will be about bringing new content and systems on top of the improved ones after phase one.
While the approach is irregular, if pulling the game back into beta testing can help Relentless sift through feedback and hone in on key issues, it might be the best route for the studio to go in the long run. Crucible’s launch might have had some major issues, but we’ve seen plenty of games make a significant comeback after things weren’t looking too hot for them at first. Final Fantasy XIV is one of the biggest success stories for Square-Enix right now, but that happened after the game launched in a brand-damaging state that the company had to completely reboot. Other major comeback stories like No Man’s Sky and Destiny have fervently dedicated fan bases now, so it’s clear that just because a game stumbles at the beginning doesn’t mean it has to be declared dead on arrival. Maybe Bioware can make the same happen for Anthem, which the studio has said it’s in the middle of overhauling as we speak. Would’ve been nice if they’d given that much care to Mass Effect: Andromeda. but what do I know?