Steven Dewhurst spent seven years at the developer and publisher as a senior systems designer, most of the time working on Crucible. Dewhurst cited fundamental problems with Amazon Games, calling their workplace policies “draconian”.
“Looking back, it’s pretty obvious — and to be honest, it was pretty obvious at the time — that the project is doomed to fail, and Amazon isn’t the best place to make games.” — Dewhurst told NME in an interview. “Essentially, their executive management has a lot of arrogance that stems from the fact. That they were very successful at a bunch of things. And thought their success at those things led to success at other things when they weren’t even remotely similar.”
Dewhurst said that during the development of Crucible, Amazon experienced “a lot of growing pains” with management not understanding what skills could be transferred to game development and a bizarre policy preventing staff from taking on any personal projects. “We hired a bunch of the best people, the Crucible team had a great culture,” he said. “It was all great, but the outside work policy is terribly stifling.”
He continued, “During the seven years I was there, I was forbidden to study anything about how to create art, engineering, manufacturing, or [allowed] work in a small team, in a large team, or in another role.” Dewhurst said Amazon failed to recognize the team’s desire to continue to learn and grow, saying that executives have a “why learning things will help you do your job?”
However, Dewhurst wasn’t completely disappointed with his time at Amazon, saying he learned a lot from his time there. “I met a lot of people and got to work on a product. That I really liked and I think it could be amazing. Also, Amazon pays very well, so there are a lot of things. Like this out there. a wonderful way to spend seven years of your life.”
Crucible died almost as quickly as it was born in the gaming world. The game was released in May 2020 to poor reviews, including our own score of 48 from Morgan Park. Just a month later, it was returned to beta before being completely shelved in October 2020.