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After Ubisoft shut down The Crew's servers, this group of modders began work to bring them back

"To give up on such a remarkable video game would be a crime!"

The Crew Revival fan-project
Image credit: whammy4

Ubisoft's decision to shut down servers for its open-world racer The Crew came as a blow to the game's community. But, rather than remaining defeated by this news, a group of dedicated modders decided to take matters into their own hands - and began recreating the server-side software necessary to play The Crew online once again.

This fan-lead project, codenamed The Crew Revival (at least for now), currently has five members working on it. "We started pretty much as soon as Ubisoft announced the shutdown last December," team member whammy4 told Eurogamer.

"It's still the same game that everyone played before, except instead of connecting to Ubisoft's central server, they will connect to ours (or a local server running on their computers if they choose to play offline)," he explained.

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While whammy4 knows that many online-only games have been shut down over the years, he believes The Crew stands out for "several reasons" as being worthy of saving. Most importantly? "It can be, and often is, played solo on your own", whammy 4 said, meaning Ubisoft "artificially enforced constant online connectivity constraints" on its players.

"As we know, [this] resulted in this AAA full price game being completely inaccessible for the 12+ million players who own(ed) the game."

Whammy4 called Ubisoft's decision to shut down The Crew's servers "completely unacceptable", adding this type of action from developers and publishers "seems to be an alarmingly rising trend" in the video game industry. In addition to shutting down servers, Ubisoft also reportedly started removing the game from owners' libraries and revoking their user licence in the process back in April.

"If the trend continues, in a decade we'll have tons of unplayable, dead video games that people once loved and played, which is why video game preservation is extremely important, before the situation spins out of control," whammy4 continued.

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This project is evidently incredibly important to the entire Crew Revival team, with whammy4 calling the original game a "unique" experience.

"It is the only video game, even to this day, to allow the player to cruise along an open world, contiguous, scaled down yet still huge USA. To give up on such a remarkable video game would be a crime," he said.

Whammy4 does not yet know exactly when The Crew Revival's servers will be available to the public, although he said the team hopes to have everything ready before The Crew's 10th anniversary, which is this December. When it is all sorted, however, it will be free.

"The reception [to The Crew Revival] from people who are both familiar and unfamiliar with the game has been greatly positive, as they are happy to see the game be revived, and be preserved, like all games deserve to be," whammy4 said, telling me he believes there are "one or more" of Ubisoft's Ivory Tower developers in the revival's Discord server.

"I think Ubisoft heard enough criticisms from their customers [following the server shut down], but I have one thing to say to The Crew's community: they should absolutely not let Ubisoft keep getting away with such horrendous practices, otherwise it will just keep happening to more and more games, including The Crew's sequels, and history will just keep repeating itself," he closed. "People must not forget."

To stay up to date on how whammy4 and the rest of the team are getting on with The Crew's preservation project, you can join the revival's Discord server here.

In Eurogamer's own review for The Crew, Outside Xbox's racing aficionado Mike Channel came away impressed. "It's a game that requires and occasionally enforces patience, but like all great road trips it's about the journey, not the destination," he wrote.

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