Can Crackdown 3 escape what happened to The Last Guardian?
What was that old Shigeru Miyamoto quote everyone seems to rollout each time the release date for a game is once again ratcheted back? “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” And while there’s an inherent truth to these words uttered from one of the industry’s most beloved and celebrated creators, it can sometimes be frustrating and in a way sad to see one of the year’s big releases to scramble around in development hell. Microsoft’s Crackdown 3 seems to be the latest in a long line of examples that suffer from this problem, and one that stings all the greater when considering it was lauded as one of the few set to show off the power of the Xbox One X.
The third entry into Xbox’s destruction-filled sandbox series, Crackdown 3 was originally announced at E3 2014, promising players the ability to tear the city surrounding them down entirely thanks to the onset of cloud computing which would handle the processing. This type of approach isn’t anything new by all means (Red Faction: Guerrilla and the Battlefield series are shining examples), but Crackdown 3 was intended to up the scale enormously, rolling back these lofty ambitions ever since. The game’s ambition was lofty from the outset, and it seems the developers have been playing catch up ever since.
A similar game that fell victim to such great heights of fan expectation was Sony’s infamous The Last Guardian, an exploratory adventure game developed by Studio Japan that eventually saw a release last year after over a decade in development. And while Crackdown 3 doesn’t appear to be placed on quite a similarly high pedestal, this game would have clearly been in development for all of five years, if indeed it eventually manages to hit its current set release date of February 2019.
Things were starting to look up when Crackdown 3 eventually crept out of its silent slumber earlier this year at Microsoft’s E3 2018 press conference, this time fronted by the always overly-enthusiastic Terry Crews no less. There was however, less of a focus on cloud-powered real-time destruction, pulling into question whether or not this was still a diversifying feature of the game. Crackdown 3 has been suffering from an identity crisis ever since, and the longer it stays behind closed doors, the longer its likely to not meet fan expectation upon release.
It all comes down to the fact that nobody wants Crackdown 3 to fail, players and the development team included. But what needs to happen next with the game is for it to relay a clearly planned out and identifiable vision, in a message that isn’t muddled. At the moment, Crackdown 3 is reaching for heights as lofty as the orbs it challenges you to acquire and collect in game, and at a time when Microsoft’s console is screaming out for first party exclusives, they last thing they need right now is an equivalent to Sony’s Last Guardian blunder. Here’s hoping it’ll be worth the wait when it finally releases this February.