Ruffian Games has revealed that the Pacific City of Crackdown 2 isn't just broader and more diverse than its predecessor, but towers over it as well.
"All I can say is that in the first game, the distance between the highest and the lowest point was under 400 metres. Now we are looking at over 1000 metres," lead designer Steve Iannetta told Eurogamer when asked about major geographical shifts, and in particular new underground areas.
"While we have kept the basic island structure, and to some extent the road network, we have really focused on creating a city that shows the consequences of its history, specifically the 10 years that passed from Crackdown 1 to Crackdown 2.
"Basically, the city's history became our style guild. We wanted to see evidence of every battle fought, every area that was abandoned, every wall erected to contain the virus, and every breech point where they failed."
Beyond that, Ruffian has sought to reflect elements that proved unexpectedly popular in the first game, bringing them closer to the heart of the game's design in the process.
"At a building by building level, we have rebuilt swathes of the city, this time with a focus on Orb hunting," Iannetta explained. "We now have many new much taller buildings. Even the Agency Tower has a few surprises in store."
Like many of us, Iannetta also felt that one of the best things about Crackdown was the toybox players were left with - and particularly the feats some players were able to perform with a little help from vehicles and the game's physics - so many of the new items in Crackdown 2 have been seeded with potential for experimentation.
"We did not know that you could do half the things we have seen," Iannetta acknowledged. "Someone driving the SUV to the top of the Agency tower to firework displays using light shades, exploiting a cheeky wee bug. We always wanted to turn the contrast button up on toys and interaction.
"That is where the Mag Grenades came from. They are quintessentially Crackdown. They offer a use, but [offer more] when you abuse them. We are hoping for some spectacular results!"
According to Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg, Crackdown 2 should be out for Xbox 360 in the first half of 2010.