While E3 was closing Amazon was doing some closing of it’s own, specifically by shutting development of some unannounced games and laying off staff.
Things haven’t gone well for the retail giant’s game division, their first major title Breakaway was put on hold shortly after launching in alpha and then cancelled a few months later. Although no specific reason was given it is thought that the fact that game was only available from Amazon, rather than on Steam, meant there were very few players.
Hmmm, giant company thinks the can break in to gaming but doesn’t have enough players to make it work… I have a strange sense of deja vu.
Amazon hired Kim Swift of Portal fame and Clint Hocking from Far Cry, both of whom have since left, and also bought Killer Instinct developer Double Helix. Amazon Game Studios are currently developing the Crucible, a “third-person, last one standing game of trust and betrayal”, and New World, a survival game.They have also shipped The Grand Tour game for PC and consoles but it did not get very good reviews with PlayStation 4 version of the game having a Metacritic rating of just 52.
Amazon spent rather a lot of cash buying Crytek’s CryEngine, reworking and renaming it to Lumberyard, a free cross-platform game engine, but not many studios seem to be interested in using it.
“Amazon Game Studios is reorganising some of our teams to allow us to prioritise development of New World, Crucible, and new unannounced projects we’re excited to reveal in the future,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to Kotaku.
“These moves are the result of regular business planning cycles where we align resources to match evolving, long-range priorities. We’re working closely with all employees affected by these changes to assist them in finding new roles within Amazon. Amazon is deeply committed to games and continues to invest heavily in Amazon Game Studios, Twitch, Twitch Prime, AWS, our retail businesses, and other areas within Amazon.”