First announced back at E3 in 2014, Crackdown 3 has walked the knife-edge of vaporware, often going months without any update. For instance, the game’s official site’s last blog post was eight months ago. However, what has been shown in the past proves it to be one of the most promising games coming to Xbox One, and a project that can really take advantage of the upcoming Project Scorpio.
While developers Reagent Games and Sumo Digital have been keeping shtum about Crackdown 3 in the past year, we have a good idea of the game’s technology thanks to a hands-on back in 2015. We also expect there to be a lot of news coming about the game at E3 2017 next month, where Crackdown 3 is likely to take centre stage at Microsoft’s press conference.
The killer feature that everything else in Crackdown 3 is hooked on is destruction. Using a cloud-based physics calculations, everything in Crackdown 3’s city can be destroyed. Fire enough rockets into a building and it will topple and fall, crushing any buildings, vehicles, and hapless players in its path.
Ahead of its scheduled release later this year we’ve gathered all the news, rumors and info about the game into one place. Gear up agent, this is everything you need to know about Microsoft’s next big exclusive.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The elusive sequel to one of Xbox 360’s best exclusives
- When it is out? Holiday, 2017 “or earlier”
- What platforms will it be on? Xbox One and PC
- Crackdown 3 developers: Reagent Games, Sumo Digital, and Cloudgine
- Crackdown 3 publisher: Microsoft Studios
- Crackdown 3 price: TBA, although pre-orders are available now
Crackdown 3 trailers and images
First demoed back in 2014, this is what the destruction tech underpinning Crackdown 3 looked like three years ago:
Impressive, but a little sterile.
Now, this is what it looks like with a nice coating of Crackdown 3:
IGN was able to capture more than 15 minutes of the game in action, which gives us the best look of the state of the game two years ago:
Finally, this is the last footage of Crackdown 3 release, the team showed what happened if you laid out hundreds of explosive barrels and started firing at them without consideration for your poor console’s processor:
Crackdown 3 release date
Crackdown 3 Scorpio
Ahead of the Scorpio reveal, there were a lot of rumors that Crackdown 3 would be the game used to showcase the technology. Instead, at the reveal, Microsoft chose to show no games and focus on the hardware itself. The only officially announced feature for Crackdown 3 Scorpio is that it will run in 4K.
However, we wouldn’t be surprised at all if Microsoft puts Crackdown 3 front and centre when showing off the power of Scorpio at E3 this year. The demands of a completely destructible in-game city are a perfect showcase of the powerful new console and what it can do that Sony and Nintendo’s hardware can’t.
Crackdown 3 confirmed features
Besides showing off the game’s technology, Microsoft and the game’s developers have kept their lips sealed about the larger story and gameplay of Crackdown 3. There are some things we’re certain about, though.
100% destructible environments
The tentpole feature of Crackdown 3 is its destruction. There is a scale and detail to its demolition like nothing we’ve seen in a game before. You can start small, shooting a hole in a wall to create a sniper spot, or you can carve out the bottom floor of a tower block and watch the thing topple in real time, raining debris on the city below.
While some of the rendering work is done on your machine, the destruction has been made possible by cloud-based computing, with most of the calculation work being offloaded to other machines. This solution apparently increases the processing power of the Xbox One by more than 20 times.
Unfortunately, this level of destruction is only available in the game’s multiplayer modes. In the campaign, even if played in co-op, you will only have access to a limited level of destruction.
Since the first Crackdown the series has supported co-op in the main campaign, this feature is returning in Crackdown 3. As with Crackdown 2, it can be played with four players. Destruction will be limited in the main campaign, while there may be a technological reason for this, it’s also likely because it would create a major headache for the game’s designers if you and your friends could level every enemy base in the game without even stepping inside.
Agility orbs are back
Agility orbs, a Crackdown trademark, are making a return. This glowing balls, hidden all around the game’s city are, depending on who you speak to, the best or the worst thing about Crackdown. Every orb you collect increases your character’s abilities but there are hundreds of them, many of them hidden away in hard to reach places. If you ask us, Crackdown has a lot to answer for with the current state of collect-athons in games.
Crackdown 3 rumors
The rumors surrounding Crackdown 3 haven’t been so much about what will be in the game but what state the game’s development was in.
While Crackdown 3 is supposedly on track now, , someone who’s leaks have often been right on the money, claimed earlier this year that “development was rough”. He that “there's still issues but nothing like Scalebound.” Microsoft famously canned Scalebound earlier this year.
Crackdown 3 wishlist
There is still a lot about Crackdown 3 we don’t know but our hopes for the game are that it will plug the gaps left in the first two games.
Crackdown’s cities have always begged to be seen from the air. While your character could eventually leap great distances, they couldn’t take to the skies indefinitely. We’d love to see a jet join your agency issue car, finally giving you the tools to explore the city how it was meant to be seen.
Just imagine crashing it through a fully destructible skyscraper!
A final boss you can kill at the start of the game
Bear with us, this isn’t as strange as it seems. So, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild shook up the open world genre in a lot of ways, but one of its best was the game’s structure. Rather than have you gradually unlock chunks of the world, you were given everything immediately, including the ability to march straight to the centre of Hyrule and right the game’s final boss, Calamity Gannon.
Neat idea. Except, Realtime Worlds wanted to do this 15 years ago with the original Crackdown.
Talking to Kotaku UK, Ruffian Games’ Billy Thomson, who worked on Crackdown and Crackdown 2, said that “Dave [Jones] really likes games that have got absolutely no structure at all, completely freeform. [...] To the point that the guy that was meant to be the final kingpin could be killed at the very start.”
At the time, that design ethos created a lot of problems so the team didn’t fully embrace Jones unstructured approach. Maybe with Crackdown 3 it will finally happen.
- Here's to hoping Crackdown 3 is good enough to join our list of the best Xbox One games.