Crackdown

One of the great open-world templates fails to come into focus in this well-meaning, if embattled, sequel.

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Crackdown 3 tech analysis: a console classic reborn?

Crackdown 3 tech analysis: a console classic reborn?

Xbox One X, Xbox One S and PC versions tested.

The journey towards Crackdown 3's release has not been a smooth one - but after some four years in development, the game is finally complete. Its troubled history and dodgy trailers left us concerned about the quality of the final product but as it turns out, the campaign portion of Crackdown 3 is actually an accomplished and often beautiful game, using Unreal Engine 4 innovatively to deliver a unique visual style, paired with the best HDR implementation we've seen since Gran Turismo Sport. Whether Crackdown 3 delivers as a sequel comes down to how closely wedded you are to the original's chaotic anything-goes open world and the introduction of more structure here. Opinion may be divided on this one, but the core gameplay delivers much more than I expected, and I think one of this game's strengths is just how much of an actual sequel this is, as opposed to a reboot or a 'reimagining' of one of Xbox 360's finest hours.

So, what is Crackdown 3? It's well known at this point that the 'power of the cloud' destruction demo shown back in 2015 has not been fully realised in the final game, certainly not in its campaign segment. And this is fascinating because Crackdown 3 is, in effect, two entirely separate games created by different companies seeking to deliver their own unique experience. They're even separate downloads on the Xbox Store.

The closest relative we get to the initial 2015 demo is Wrecking Zone - a destruction-driven multiplayer game that only opened up to reviewers in a very limited fashion less than 24 hours ago. We'll be back on that soon, but our emphasis in this piece is on Sumo Digital's work on the single-player/co-op portion of the package, which is essentially, what Crackdown 2 should have been - a revamped, upgraded sequel to the original game with an emphasis on high-speed traversal and verticality.

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You can't play Crackdown 3's competitive multiplayer with friends at launch

You can't play Crackdown 3's competitive multiplayer with friends at launch

Party functionality to come with a post-launch update.

You can't play Crackdown 3's competitive multiplayer with friends at launch, Microsoft has confirmed.

Microsoft recently held technical tests for Wrecking Zone, the destruction-based competitive multiplayer portion of Crackdown 3, and players noticed they couldn't invite friends.

It turns out, this standard feature will skip the full launch of the game, too.

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After multiple delays Crackdown 3 re-emerges with a firm release date

After multiple delays Crackdown 3 re-emerges with a firm release date

And our first look at multiplayer destruction.

After multiple delays Crackdown 3 has a firm release date of 15th February 2019 - and a new trailer that shows off destruction in multiplayer.

Over three years after Dave Jones, one of the chief creators of Lemmings, Grand Theft Auto and the first Crackdown game, took to the stage during Microsoft's 2015 Gamescom media briefing to present pre-alpha in-game footage of Crackdown 3 and promise a competitive multiplayer open-world experience with "100 per cent destructible environments" powered by the cloud, we finally see something of the end result.

Crackdown 3's multiplayer mode is called Wrecking Zone. In it, two teams of five agents battle it out in fully destructible arenas, the goal being to destroy the enemy tower. It's powered by Microsoft's cloud computing service Azure, creative director Joe Staten said during Microsoft's XO18 event.

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XO18 Inside Xbox special live report

Acquisitions! Expansions! Some weird bit about Winnie the Pooh! All the news as it happened.

Acquisitions! Expansions! Some weird bit about Winnie the Pooh! All the news as it happened.

Microsoft details this weekend's two-hour X018 Inside Xbox live stream

Microsoft details this weekend's two-hour X018 Inside Xbox live stream

Crackdown 3, Sea of Thieves, Forza 4, and more.

Microsoft's X018 event takes place in Mexico City this weekend, and the publisher will be streaming a two-hour Inside Xbox special from the show, bringing with it a variety of new announcements for the likes of Crackdown 3, Sea of Thieves, and Forza Horizon 4.

More specifically, X018 - an fan event that Microsoft has previously dubbed "a global celebration of all things Xbox" - unfolds on November 10th and 11th. For those that can't make it to Mexico City in person, the two-hour Inside Xbox live stream (which will hopefully be less exasperatingly paced than previous efforts), begins at 9pm on Saturday, November 10th in the UK. That's 1 PM PT/4 PM ET for our US pals.

Xbox One's social media channels have been teasing a few details of what we can expect during Saturday's live stream, including Crackdown 3, Minecraft, Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, and Forza Horizon 4 announcements. Additionally, Microsoft has promised "big" PUBG news, a look at Shadow of the Tomb Raider's upcoming The Forge expansion, plus "a surprise or two", including "over a dozen game announcements for Xbox Game Pass."

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Four years after it was announced, Crackdown 3 is in a tough spot

When Dave Jones, one of the chief creators of Lemmings, Grand Theft Auto and the first Crackdown game, took to the stage during Microsoft's 2015 Gamescom media briefing to present pre-alpha in-game footage of Crackdown 3, gamers were promised a competitive multiplayer open-world experience with "100 per cent destructible environments". By connecting to the Microsoft cloud, Crackdown 3 would benefit from 20 times the computational power of the Xbox One, we were told. As virtual buildings blew apart in the most realistic, expansive way we'd ever seen in a video game before, Crackdown fans dared to dream about the kind of game they would eventually play.

As with so much to do with video games, however, dreams rarely turn into reality.

Fast forward to 2018 and Crackdown 3 is in a tough spot. It's suffered multiple delays, met with apathy online and was even rumoured to be cancelled. Behind the scenes, developers - a raft of developers - have worked hard to turn Crackdown 3 into a real video game that will actually come out. They have faced multiple challenges along the way, which, people close to the project speaking with Eurogamer anonymously have indicated, has a lot to do with that pesky cloud-powered multiplayer, its "100 per cent destructible environments" and exactly who is - and isn't - working on the game.

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Crackdown delayed to 2019

UPDATE: Now coming February 2019, says Microsoft.

UPDATE: Microsoft has confirmed Crackdown 3's delay into next year, saying it will now launch in February 2019.

FeatureXbox Game Pass revives Xbox One's digital vision - without the evil

Microsoft kills game ownership and… it sort of makes sense?

I am being somewhat facetious with that subheading, not to mention self-indulgent. (For the uninitiated, it's a reference to my predecessor Tom Bramwell's classic, stinging editorial on Microsoft's misguided plans for how Xbox One software would work - plans that would eventually be ditched.) With yesterday's announcement that all first-party exclusive games would be added to the Xbox Game Pass subscription service on release date, Microsoft is not killing game ownership. It's not even trying to.

Considering Crackdown 3 is one of the few platform exclusives that Microsoft has at the moment, its showing at E3 seemed rather muted. The short campaign trailer may have had a big dose of Terry Crews, but it was surprisingly light on destruction - a feature, it turns out, that's actually limited to its multiplayer portion only.

Clearing up confusion surrounding Crackdown 3 destruction

It was always going to be in multiplayer only.

When Microsoft showed more of open world blow 'em-up Crackdown 3 during its E3 2017 Xbox media briefing, it did so with a trailer that starred American actor Terry Crews. The only problem was, we didn't get a good look at gameplay, nor did we see any of Crackdown 3's ambitious destruction.

FeatureThe big interview: Xbox boss Phil Spencer

On Xbox One X, exclusives and more.

During its E3 2017 media briefing, Microsoft faced pressure to convince the gaming public to fork out its hard-earned cash - £449 in the UK to be exact - on an Xbox One X, née Project Scorpio. With the specs out of the way, it was all about the games. And so the games came - 42, 22 of which with rather vague "Xbox console exclusivity" attached. But while we saw some lovely little games as part of a different side of Microsoft (The Last Night, Artful Escape and Ori 2 spring to mind), where were the big first-party exclusive new game announcements? You know, the kind of announcement that gets early adopters fumbling over themselves to pre-order? There weren't any.

Crackdown 3 will launch alongside Xbox One X in November

Crackdown 3 will launch alongside Xbox One X in November

New gameplay revealed via Terry Crews.

Open-world cult classic Crackdown's impending second sequel, Crackdown 3, is now due alongside the Xbox One X on 7th November, Microsoft revealed at its E3 press conference.

Developed by Sumo Digital (LittleBigPlanet 3, Snake Pass), the sandbox sequel was announced way back in 2014 but went off the grid for a bit. Now Microsoft has shown some gameplay footage of how it's shaping up.

When Crackdown 3 was first announced, environment destruction was a major part of the reveal. Microsoft Studios general manager Shannon Loftis said on Twitter it was still a key part of the game.

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FeatureThe safest pair of hands in video games

A snapshot of Sumo Digital as it prepares to step out of the shadows.

There are always little symbols to look out for that can help you figure out if a game's going to be worthwhile. Once upon a time it might have been Nintendo's seal of quality, or maybe the logo of your favourite developer - back in the day it was Treasure's magic box, perhaps, or more recently the glimmering P of Platinum Games. In recent years, there's another logo I've always kept an eye out for, a symbol that's a guarantee of quality, and a certain little spark. Quite often, though, you have to look really hard for it.

The Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusives due out in 2016

The Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusives due out in 2016

Gears of War 4! Crackdown 3! Sea of Thieves! More!

Hot on the heels of announcing the delay of Scalebound to 2017, Microsoft has committed to a 2016 release for a raft of Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive games.

In a post on Xbox Wire, Xbox marketing chief Mike Nichols announced a number of meaningless statistics about player engagement and time spent doing this and that on Xbox and Windows 10 devices. But the good stuff is in a list of already-announced games due out on Xbox this year, which comes complete with release dates and windows.

Here it is:

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FeaturePhil Spencer on Xbox's big year

The importance of exclusives, PC, VR and more.

What a difference one man and 18 months can make. Before Phil Spencer took over at Xbox, the brand was in troubled waters. Questionable policy decisions had shook Xbox and mired the early days of its new console in acrimony, and even though Microsoft wisely chose to listen to concerned consumers it's been working hard to regain the momentum lost ever since. As it heads into a vital fourth quarter of 2015, the momentum has definitely returned: the broadening of the Xbox brand to PC was helped by the relatively smooth roll-out of Windows 10, the Xbox division just turned a neat profit and, while it still falls short in sales to Sony's PlayStation 4, its line-up for the remainder of the year looks significantly stronger than its opposition's.

Crackdown 3 tech demo details destructible environments

Crackdown 3's Gamescom tech demo details how its destructible environments work.

Initially we see that you can shoot holes through walls, which crumble a little more with each shot. What's interesting is that if you create a circle of holes the middle piece will just fall out. In short: you can chisel out your own doors.

You can also shoot down bridges and watch buildings crumble in real time. It's a bit like Earth Defense Force 2017's wonton destruction only with actual physics.

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