Crackdown 3‘s development has been a series of delays and mistakes, mostly on the part of Xbox’s executives, but it sounds like the main reason for the game’s delay from the initial launch window of 2016 to its current target of February 2019 is its destruction-focused PvP multiplayer mode, especially because its single-player is already finished and has been for a while now, according to a recent report.
Eurogamer recently published a report based on anonymous insider sources and on-the-record interviews more fully detailing the exit of series creator Dave Jones and exactly what his role was during Crackdown 3‘s development. The headline, however, is that Crackdown 3‘s single-player/cooperative campaign has been “locked down for some time,” but that the multiplayer—Wrecking Zone—is holding up the release.
According to the report, it sounds like the developers are having a hard time figuring out how to get Wrecking Zone to work and how best to utilize Jones’ Cloudgine technology—if Cloudgine is indeed still in play, something that’s unclear following an acquisition by Epic. The developers are feeling added pressure on this front thanks to a pre-alpha Gamescom 2015 demo that was meant to be more of an “example of the kind of thing you could potentially use cloud to do,” according to Jones, than a preview of Crackdown 3‘s actual gameplay.
That demo apparently set the bar really high for Wrecking Zone, which is a five-on-five PvP mode set in a more contained map where each team’s goal is to destroy the enemy’s base tower while protecting their own tower. It sounds like developer Sumo Digital and the other teams brought in to work on Wrecking Zone haven’t been able to make the promised “100 percent destructible environments” consistently work in an uncontrolled setting.
Crackdown 3‘s most recent delays—from the Xbox One X launch in November 2017 to 2018, followed by another delay to February 2019—can be attributed to the lackluster response Crackdown 3‘s single-player demo received at E3 2017 in conjunction with Wrecking Zone not being quite ready.
“You can’t just create a game that fools like me, who played a ton of Crackdown, love,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer told Eurogamer. “You also need to be inclusive to people who’ve never seen the game. That’s just work. The team is on it and they’ve got a plan.”
It sounds like the plan is to not only make sure Wrecking Zone appeals to a wider range of new players but also to somewhat re-brand the game to make Crackdown 3‘s campaign more exciting and less of a been-there-done-that situation, which seems to have been the purpose of the game’s E3 2018 trailer and the reason why the game didn’t show up in a playable state at this year’s show. The problem is that this is easier said than done.
Crackdown 3 is scheduled to launch in February 2019 on Xbox One and PC, though reports indicate that if we don’t see it then, we might never see it.