A former senior developer at Amazon Games has claimed that it was "pretty apparent" the incredibly short-lived sci-fi shooter Crucible was doomed to fail.
Stephen Dewhurst spent seven years at the developer and publisher as a senior systems designer, spending the majority of his time there working on Crucible. Dewhurst cited fundamental issues with how Amazon Games operated, calling its workplace policies "draconian."
"It's pretty apparent in hindsight—and honestly was pretty apparent at the time—that the project was going to fail and Amazon is not a great place to make games," Dewhurst told NME in an interview. "Fundamentally, their executive leadership has a lot of hubris that stems from having been very successful at a bunch of stuff and thinking that their success in those things translates to success in other things when they're not remotely similar."
Dewhurst said Amazon went through "a lot of growing pains" during Crucible's development, with higher-ups failing to understand which skills could be transferrable to games development and a bizarre policy that banned staff from pursuing any personal projects. "We recruited a bunch of top people, the Crucible team had a wonderful culture," he said. "All that was great, but the outside work policy is wildly stifling."
He continued: "During my seven years there I was prohibited from learning anything about how to create art or engineering, or production, or [allowed] to work on a smaller team, or a larger team or in a different role." Dewhurst said how Amazon failed to recognise the team's desire to continue learning and growing, saying how executives would maintain an attitude of "why would learning things help you do your job?"
However, Dewhurst wasn't completely down about his time at Amazon, saying he learned "a ton" from his time there. "I met a lot of people and I got to work on a product that I loved a ton and I think could have been amazing. Also, Amazon pays very well, so there are a lot of things that are like that. That was a fine way for me to spend seven years of my life."
Crucible died a death nearly as quickly as it was birthed into the gaming world. The game was released in May 2020 to paltry reviews, including our own score of 48 from Morgan Park. It was pulled back into beta a mere month later before being shelved completely in October 2020.