GC2015 Preview: Crackdown 3

Reagant Games was very eager to unveil Crackdown 3’s first footage to the public at Gamescom this year, and behind closed doors we here at Press-Start got an in-depth look at the campaign of the game, and even got our hands on a small taster of the game’s multiplayer mode.

As we began our session the team from Reagant gave us a presentation about the game, firstly focussing on the game’s campaign. The team noted that Crackdown 3 was essentially their attempt to create the game they always wanted to make. The game bases itself around with me the original great and building upon these foundations. The game takes place in a completely new city that has been built from the ground up, including a vast network of gangs and crime syndicates. The team notes that the basis of the game is one that not everybody expects, which is platforming. If you can see it, you’ll be able to get there. The city of Crackdown 3 is vast and deep, and every inch of it is for you to explore, from top to bottom.
STILL_CD3_0004_Crackdown-3-01-pngOnce again your mission is a player is to eradicate these criminals from the city and restore order once and for all. The third installment a much more narrative based approach, where each gang has their own unique crime boss, who each have their own unique personalities and back stories, which are told through the game world, which is filled with video screens and other materials to give the player an insight into the world of their foes. Each gang has their own hate meter, which is influenced by the player’s actions for or against them. Your enemies can either hate or respect you, but if you want to lure them out, you’ll have to max out you’re hate meter, which will make then come to you for a final confrontation, though there’s a twist to this dynamic. Your foes won’t always go for you, but rather cause mayhem and casualties throughout the city, which will put you in a position where you’ve got to take them out as fast as possible in order to minimize damage and protect civilians.

A huge basis of this narrative approach is what we call Digital fabric, which makes structures and objects throughout world tell the player stories and provide information in an easy and stylish way. Whether it’s the billboards giving you insight into the villains, or your transforming vehicle providing you real-time information about the damage it’s taking. It’s not just all show and these visual aspects each have their function in enhancing the gameplay experience for the player.STILL_CD3_0001_Crackdown-3-06-pngCustomization and experience are again an important aspect of Crackdown, which defines the way you play. If you’re good at something, the game advances you in that direction. Skill such as strength are also show visually as your character develops with your stats. In a lot of situations you’ll have to adapt, since enemies can give you situations where a traditional approach may not be effective. For instance, an enemy that is protected from bullets by armor will have to be taken down by other means, prompting you to possibly use features and weapons that you might not normally use. You can take down gangs in your own way, but you’ll have to be smart in a lot of situations. Objects in the world can also be used as weapons, such as crates, barrels and even vehicles. It’s all based around physicality, and the world is your toolbox.

What was up next was one of our biggest surprises conference. As our presentation of the campaign ended, we were given a look at Crackdown’s new cooperative game mode, which puts players in a city that is completely destructible and like it’s offline counterpart fully explorable from top to bottom. The destructible capabilities of the game we’re shown off during the press conference as being supported by Microsoft’s Azure tech, which allows external servers to provided the calculations needed to be able to perform destruction showing off in their demo. Behind closed doors we got a hands-on look as members of the press got to test this out for their own. Me and three other members of press were set up at Reagan’t press area, and we were put into the the section of the city that the team showed off on stage. Our mission is simple, cause as much destruction as we possibly could in the limited time we had.STILL_CD3_0003_Crackdown-3-08-pngWe were given a simple variety of weapons to choose from as we immediately faced our attention towards the tower in the middle, that we promptly tried to collapse into another surrounding structure. Each building is set up around a steel structure, that realistically provides a supporting structure for each building in the world. The outer layer consisting of concrete, glass and such is easy to take down with explores, bullets and such, but its core is a harder thing to break through. This is where teamwork came in, as one of us focussed on weakening the supporting structure, which gave us the chance to focus on the outer layer to speed up the process. As the structure finally came down we got a pretty close look at what this technology can do, and even though Crackdown 3 may not be most graphically-intense title when it comes to models, textures and lighting, the sheer scale of what had just occurred was an impressive sight. During our session we were also given statistics on how many servers were used for the damage we were causing, which followed the stage demo closely by about 10 to 11 servers, courtesy of Microsoft Azure. Considering the visual performance the consistency of the framerate was very impressive, although we were eager to see how performance would be in a less stable network environment like many players may have.

The build we got to take a look at and play with may have been pre-Alpha, but looking at what’s already there Crackdown 3 is shaping up to be one of Microsoft’s most important titles of next year, which is a position the franchise deserves with its history on the 360. Crackdown 3 is currently slated for a summer 2016 release exclusively on Xbox®One.