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Dev time, co-op shaped Crackdown 2

Ruffian answers critics. Plus: DLC news.

Ruffian Games has defended its Xbox 360 exclusive Crackdown 2, released this week, after the game got something of a rough ride from critics and players.

Producer James Cope told MTV Multiplayer that a short development cycle and the focus on free-form, co-operative play shaped the decisions that have disappointed many about the game.

The return to the same location as the first Crackdown, Pacific City, was down to the newly-formed Ruffian studio having just 18 months to make the game, Cope said.

"We started work on Crackdown 2 at the very beginning of 2009. Ruffian was formed in 2008 and we jumped straight into Crackdown 2 in 2009 and we worked pretty much flat out from that point on until about two weeks ago," he said.

"The timescale aspect did factor into [the decision to return to Pacific City]. At the beginning of the project we thought, OK, there's potentially some effort savings here and we can focus that time in places where we can expand upon the gameplay.

"The gameplay always won out in those decisions. Did it work? It's arguable."

Cope admitted he could see why players would complain about the recycled location. "As a consumer, I think it's a fair criticism. With my consumer hat on I would look at it the same way."

Meanwhile, the game's point-capture missions, which many find repetitive, were influenced by Ruffian's decision to make a co-op game in which four players would have total freedom to do their own thing.

"For the campaign game, we had to devise an over-arching mission structure that worked when you go through it on your own, linearly, or go through it with four players doing four completely different things at one point in time, all working to finishing the game... That does impose some creative confines in which we have to work," he said.

Cope also argued that the game's lack of story was down to Ruffian's dedication to Crackdown's free-form, non-linear gameplay.

He went on to give some information on the Toy Box and Deluge downloadable content for Crackdown 2, news of which slipped out earlier in the week.

Toy Box will come first and bring back the Keys To The City mode from Crackdown, a debug mode that allows players to summon any object they want and max out their abilities, as well as adding new gadgets and vehicles.

Cope was more evasive on Deluge, but said it would provide "a completely new play to play the game you've already got".

Crackdown 2 is released in the UK tomorrow. As far as we're concerned, it doesn't really need defending.

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Oli Welsh

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Oli was Eurogamer's MMO Editor before a seven-year stint as Editor. He worked here for a colossal 14 years, shaping the website and leading it.

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