Todd Eggleston: No
We’ve just received news that Crackdown 3 has been pushed back yet again, this time to 2019. A) Is this even technically a delay? B) Was anyone actually expecting this game in 2018? Even back in 2015, was anyone expecting this game in 2018? But more importantly, C) Do we even care at this point??
Crackdown 3 was a Xbox One reveal at E3 2014. This was the title that was going to show you the power of the cloud! 100% destructible environments! DA CLAWD!! And since the announcement we have only seen one fairly poor presentation, silence, Terry Crews, then more silence. While the likes of Scalebound and Lionhead get shut down, this game continues to “think it can”. Don’t get me wrong, I was that guy that pre-ordered it so I could get the Halo beta and I absolutely fell in love with the original game. Even the achievement list is still one I talk about today for just “getting it”. But every time this game is shown or discussed, it just throws up red flags.
For one thing, you have four developers on a game. Let me repeat: four developers all working on a single game and it is still taking 5 years post announcement, and that is their best case scenario.
Cloudgine is there to make use of their cloud technologies and to develop the core engine for the game. Let me list for you Cloudgine’s glorious backlog of games: Toybox for the Oculus Rift. There is no number two. Crackdown 3 is their number two, which oddly seems appropriate now that I say it out loud. And then you have Sumo Digital, the people that ruined Little Big Planet for you, handling the campaign mode. How do you ruin Little Big Planet? British developer Reagent Games seems to be the primary on Crackdown 3 but I can’t find much info on them, even Wikipedia doesn’t have a Reagent Games page. All their pages on the website simply have giant Crackdown 3 pictures but their About Us page does say they have a world class heritage. And you know, “if it is on the internet”. And that brings us to Ruffian Games who will be providing “assistance”, whatever that means. But they are responsible for bringing us Crackdown 2 so……
So maybe Microsoft Studios is simply playing it safe. Maybe they are releasing the game early 2019 to help sales. Maybe we’ll get a release date this Saturday at E3 2018. But really, does anybody still care? It was either announced a week after they brainstormed the idea in a meeting room or it is coming nowhere close to convincing the higher-ups that this was the game they promised. Or are they simply trying to figure out how to make this an “as a service” game too?
Jordan Hawes: YES
I’m honestly not even surprised Crackdown 3 is getting pushed to 2019. I say pushed, because you can’t really delay something that has never had a release date. That being said, I won’t say I’m not disappointed that it won’t come out this year, but honestly it needs more time in the oven. Isn’t that what everyone was saying the last time we saw it? In fact almost every delay Crackdown 3 had was based on what people wanted, so why do we keep complaining?
Now here me out while I do a rundown of every time it was delayed or pushed. Remember when Crackdown’s main focus was the cloud? Actually this was the main focus of MS in general and people absolutely hated it. So we get our first couple looks of the cloud and a lot of people were extremely worried about the always-online requirement. Worried that the people with slower internet or no internet in general weren’t going to be able to play. So Microsoft hired Sumo Digital with some help from Ruffian games to create an offline SP mode while Cloudgine would continue working on their MP mode with all the great cloud destruction. The campaign was only announced in 2016. The campaign mode was obviously going to take time so it got pushed again to 2017. We saw some more footage and it looked a bit rough, it obviously needed some more time and people were very vocal about it so MS decided to give it more time to smooth it out.
So all these delays and pushes were the result of the fans wanting more and MS is providing that. Shouldn’t we be happy that they’re putting more time and money into it so we don’t have another half baked game? Sure, it’s been 5 years, but when you look at its troublemsome development you can easily see why, and I think it’s a positive.
Let’s be real here, Crackdown has never been a flagship franchise for Microsoft. Most of us bought it for the Halo MP beta, but it turned out to actually be a very entertaining title. That’s it though. I don’t think anyone thought Crackdown was going to be MS’ next main franchise, but it was still a very fun game. Crackdown 2 saw a different developer which was obvious as it didn’t have the same magic the original title had. Luckily, David Jones (the series creator) is now running Cloudgine and is back working on his baby. This gives me hope that we will be getting more Crackdown 1 than 2.
Let’s talk about these studios since Todd wants to cherry pick the negative about them. Like I mentioned above, Cloudgine is now being ran by David Jones. He is heading up the main cloud side of the title and while, yes, they’re a pretty green company but this at least is promising to have the creator back in charge. MS even recruited a local development studio to help Cloudgine in their efforts named Reagant Games. Sumo Digital, while not having a large pedigree of smash success games HAS created some very good ones: Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing, Forza Horizon 2, Snake Pass and a bunch more smaller titles. They are also being helped by Crackdown 2’s Ruffian Games and while Crackdown 2 was definitely not as good, they at least have the experience with the title.
If The Last Guardian can be delayed for 7 years and still release with floaty controls and bad AI but managing to find success with its fans, I’m pretty sure Crackdown 3 will be fine. I think all they need to do is show a rock solid trailer and hands-on of the game with no physics issues, a level of extra polish the last showing lacked and an expanded cloud-based MP that works as promised. As long as the delays show progress then who cares? That’s exactly what we asked for.
But for God’s sake Microsoft. . . please do not have celebrities show off your game that have no idea how to play. It just makes the game look worse.