While at Gamescom, I got to go hands-on with the upcoming sequel to The Crew. Boats, planes, automobiles and more all appear in this high-octane, off the wall production that manages to stand out in the crowd, forging a new identity as a racing game that values freedom above all else. My thoughts on my playthrough can be found HERE.
After my session, I got to have a chat with the game’s producer Stephane Jankowski, and talk about all the wonders of The Crew 2.
In a world that has a lot of racing franchises, how important was it for The Crew 2 to do something different and stand apart from the crowd?
We really listened to the community since the beginning, since the launch of The Crew. And so they wanted to have more variety, more accessibility to the content and so everything that we built, we built for the community. They love the game, we have more than twelve million players on The Crew and so that’s a huge community who really like that kind of experience, that kind of open world do what you want kind of feeling, so we wanted to bring more toys for this kind of experience. Planes, boats, it’s just a new way to experience the big world that we have in the game.
Were there any really big challenges that came with allowing that variety? I read somewhere about the game’s draw distance has to be greatly increased to cater for planes. Were there any others?
For example, for the boats we wanted to have this kind of experience, I don’t know if you remember on The Crew, during the first beta that we did, a player decided to go from one coast to the other with his car. Just driving non-stop from one to the other. So we were like, can we do that with a boat now? So, we looked at the map from the United States, there’s no such network. So we created one. We created a network of river going from west coast to east coast, so now you can do that with a boat. If you want to take just a boat ride through the USA, you can.
Beyond expanding the map and the variety of vehicles, in what other ways does The Crew 2 cater to player freedom?
So the progression system is the perfect example here. The progression system in The Crew was a story mode, it was kind of a dark story, a revenge story and the players reacted saying we don’t need that. [They said] Don’t try and make us play a story that doesn’t resonate with us, so we’ve completed reshaped the progression system and now every activity that you do in the game earns you what we call Fame points. And so you just earn Fame points to get to new levels, get access to new content and that’s how we embrace the openness of the game. Everything that you do, whatever vehicle you ride, will earn you points for doing stunts and so on.
How has the added power of the Xbox One X and the PlayStation 4 Pro helped you guys push the envelope with this sequel?
Well, we decided to do that for all platforms. So even on PC, we pushed new graphics, new physics, new lighting to be sure that the game is even better now compared to The Crew. And it did help to have PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X with extra hardware, so now we can push all platforms and go to the next step altogether.
Given that variety is everything in this game, what’s one thing you’re most excited for gamers to experience?
So the big surprise to us when we did the E3 demo, when we had players and journalists playing the game, they started to use what we call the Fast Fav feature. In one button you switch from a car to a plane to a boat instantly and you can do whatever you want in the world. This really small feature, players loved it and thought it was kind of unique to the genre. You can switch on the fly and create situations that nobody else can do. You create your own story. If you want to take a jump with a bike, switch to a plane then get back in a boat and do a crazy stunt, you can. You can do whatever you want. This is what I want to see from the players, what kind of crazy things they can do to rack up points.
In the demo, I noticed the Golden Gate Bridge. What other landmarks can we expect to see in the full game?
We recreated the entire USA. We don’t have all the cities and all the places, but we kind of condensed it, so Mt. Rushmore is there, we have Las Vegas and the strip. Everything that you can imagine as a pop culture representation of what is the USA, there’s a very good chance you’ll have it in the game.
How big a role exactly does multiplayer play in The Crew 2?
So we’re a crew, you’re always online, always connected to all players whether they’re your friends or not. You’ll always feel that you’re part of that huge online community. But if you don’t want to play with them it’s okay, you can play your solo experience but it’s always open. You get extra bonuses if you’re playing multiplayer, but it doesn’t matter, even if you’re playing solo you’ll still earn points and you’ll still progress.
When can we expect the beta to roll out?
We’re going to announce it in the next couple of weeks and so that’ll be on the road to release which is going to be on March 16, 2018.