Amazon-owned game developer Relentless is placing its free-to-play Crucible shooter back into a closed beta state after realizing the game was released before it was ready. In a blog post published Tuesday, franchise leader Colin Johanson says the emphasis is now on "providing our fans with the best possible experience while we work to make the game better," and so the game will return to a pre-release state to give the studio space to make improvements and schedule a more robust launch.

"We will continue to follow the roadmap we previously laid out and work on map, combat, and system changes to improve the experience of the Hives Heart as well as to implement other improvements based on your feedback and what we think the game needs to thrive," Johanson writes.

The step is a very spectacular admission of failure surrounding the launch of Crucible back at the end of may. The game, which combines elements of mobile online battle arenas (MOBAs) with the hero shooter genre, arrived with little fanfare and amid the highly competitive free-to-play PC market which includes numerous royal combat games, Riot's successful new tactical shooter Valorant, and dominant established sports such as League of Legends and Overwatch.

Although Crucible brought some real developments to the table, it was largely forgettable because of the lack of overall originality in the game and its mediocre characters, fighting and art style. It even suffered from a bit of an identity crisis by at once seeking to be a little of everything: Hero gunman, royal fight and MOBA gunman. Last month, to focus solely on the game's MOBA-inspired Heart of the Hives mode, Relentless ditched the more distant battle royale and team-deathmatch modes. Yet, that didn't seem to give the studio enough time to fix key issues and make the game more appealing to new players.

Relentless says it will now take time out of each week to play with the group and seek input. "We are setting up a group council composed of beta participants of all play types, from casual players to extremely competitive players, with whom we will work particularly closely. We'll have more information about the board, as well as our weekly playing schedule, shortly, "notes Johanson.

Relentless says the game will also function as usual for those who have Crucible already downloaded, and can be released from Steam without having to download anything. Players may also maintain advancements in combat passes and cosmetic items they may have won or bought, and the in-game shop may remain available. But for those who want to play and haven't downloaded the title, tomorrow they will have to download it until 12PM ET/9AM ET before it officially reaches the closed beta phase of the invitation. Interested players will be able to sign up for access sometime in the future via the website of the game.

"We'll keep updating, working with organizers to run tournaments, talking to you on Discord, the Subreddit, and our other social media channels, and helping you make Crucible better and better. Once we leave beta it will be based on your reviews and the in-game metrics we see, "writes Johanson. Relentless also encourages players to continue sharing screenshot and clips, to encourage friends to play and to talk openly on social media about the game.