Crackdown 3 is aiming to launch on February 15, 2019, following a string of high-profile delays. The cloud-powered title represents cutting-edge technology for Microsoft, who are using the game to showcase physics calculated in the cloud, leading to computations far, far beyond the capabilities of a base Xbox One.
Beyond its multiplayer arena gameplay modes, Crackdown 3's campaign is a crazy superhero sandbox, where players can earn the power to throw gasoline tankers, punch enemies across the map, and jump across skyscrapers.
To learn more about the full package, we caught up with Microsoft Studios' Creative Director Joseph Staten and Head of Production Jorg Neumann to discuss Crackdown 3.
Delays, delays, delays
Crackdown 3 has been a project notorious for its delays, since it was first announced at E3 2014. Microsoft Studios' Creative Director Joseph Staten, noted that the technology behind the cloud contributed to the long development cycle, but that ultimately, the goal has been reached.
In conversation with both Staten and Engineering Lead Brian Stone in a previous interview really made it sound as though the cloud-powered destruction systems in Crackdown 3 created various unknown technical hurdles to overcome.
The ability to destroy all surface geometry in the game, including all buildings and physical structures, also led the teams working on Crackdown 3 to reconsider how shooters work in general.
I certainly experienced some of those new ideas when I played the game at Redmond a few weeks ago. Not only do all agents come equipped with standard weapons, but you also come equipped with huge explosive weapons designed to destroy the environment, and thus, strip cover away from fleeing enemies. The best players in Crackdown 3 will be those who anticipate where the line of sight could become an issue while getting creative with rockets.
While the focus on Crackdown 3's coverage in the media tends towards the technical achievement with Azure, the game will also feature a large story campaign long-term Crackdown fans will find familiar, in a highly vertical world that's four times bigger than previous Crackdown titles.
Set in the corrupt city of New Providence, Agents infiltrate a benevolent corporate exploiting (and perhaps tied to) a global terrorist catastrophe for their own ends. The campaign will feature nine bosses split across three unique factions. One focuses on robotics, another revolves around industry and tech, and another is more militarized. Players will have to battle these factions to work their way up to the big bad at the top.
Staten noted that while getting the cloud tech right did impact the schedule for the game's release, that it has led to an improved, and more polished campaign experience.
Crackdown 3 was originally billed as a four-player co-op, but that has been dialed back to two-player in recent times. Neumann outlined that this was at least in part due to the chaotic nature of Crackdown 3.
On the topic of blowing shit up, you have to wonder why there was never an intent to add cloud-powered destruction to Crackdown 3's campaign. It seems that the decision was philosophically-driven, rather than technologically-driven.
Wrecking Zone currently has two game modes. One is similar to Kill Confirmed in Call of Duty, where you have to grab the dog tags of downed enemies to get a point for your team, while also having the ability to deny points for the enemy team. The other is similar to domination, where you have to capture and hold areas of the map to earn points. I asked about plans for future Crackdown modes, and plans for post-launch.
Right now, Microsoft is focusing entirely on Crackdown 3's launch, which is a departure from other multiplayer games which often come with a season pass and the promise of additional content down the line. It sounds as though Microsoft is still fleshing out what that might look like for Crackdown 3.
I asked Joseph Staten whether Crackdown could eventually find itself up there with Forza, Halo, Minecraft, and Gears of War as one of Microsoft's "flagship" franchises, given the promising cloud technology and relatively unique proposition in Microsoft's first-party lineup. But like all good things, Crackdown would have to earn it.
I certainly feel like Crackdown as a franchise has potential to be up there with the best of them for Microsoft. Whether or not it's Crackdown 3 that achieves that, it's too early to say, but that won't be for lack of trying. The amount of effort that has been poured into the technology powering Crackdown is immense, and I'm looking forward to experiencing what that will be like in the final product, even if questions remain about the full package. Time will tell.
Crackdown 3 aims to launch on February 15, 2019 for Xbox One consoles and PC for $59.99, or as part of Xbox Game Pass for $9.99 per month.
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Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
"Crackdown 3 is aiming to launch on February 15, 2019, following a string of high-profile delays." technically it only has had one delay. The only previous release announced was November of 2017 and that was later delayed to its current release date. It would be more accurate to state that Crackdown has had a long development cycle, and a single announced delay.
As MS are a services company they should licence out the tech. Clearly they've put a lot of time and energy into it and Crackdown 3 looks great. Would love to see it used more. Imagine a battlefield game using it 😯
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