Jon recently broke the news that Ruffian Games has moved on to other projects since releasing Crackdown 2. Considering Ruffian was established for the sole purpose of delivering a sequel to Crackdown - a sequel, I might add, that topped the UK charts - it's not hard to imagine at least one of their new projects is the third entry in the series. And Ruffian has already confirmed they'd love to do a sequel.
But what can we expect? Or, more importantly, what do we want?
Pacific City, Be Gone!
Assembled by former Real Time Worlds Staff, Ruffian Games was established a mere year and a half before Crackdown 2 released. Now, a year to produce a fully-fledged sequel is a tall order, and as such Ruffian had to make certain compromises. For one, they did very little to Pacific City. A few major structures were built, a lot more were demolished, but by and large Crackdown and Crackdown 2 were set in a largely identical playground.
So with Crackdown 3, I'd like to see a brand new city. In fact, with the ability to run faster than a sports car, leap tall buildings in a single bound and even fly - pretty much - C3 shouldn't be restricted to a mere city. An entire region, with urban sprawls giving way to lush fields or golden deserts. Ruffian attempted to introduce new environments into Crackdown 2, but the so-called Freak Lairs simply felt like a chunk had been bitten from Pacific City's crust and painted with a rock texture and fog.
But in their blog post, Ruffian claim their new game(s) will include a "heavy focus online". You could interpret that as their next project being an MMO, but with both Crackdown titles already containing pseudo-MMO qualities, it might not. However, with an emphasis on multiplayer components, you need big, big playgrounds to avoid overcrowding and bottlenecks. So a new city isn't outside the realm of possibility...
Both Crackdown 1 and 2 suffered from awful mission design. In the original, you slaughtered troops to eliminate kingpins, which often devolved into spamming B and pounding their bodies to pulp. Then, in the sequel, you cleared out strongholds or withstood waves of Freaks. Zero variety, other than the change of locale or the occasional new soldier or Freak. And, frankly, that sucks.
So, again, with the third I'd like to see some actual objectives beyond kill this and destroy that. Even a few chase sequences, like where you pursue a similarly superpowered Freak across the rooftops, or dismantling a well-armed military structure, leaping from floor to floor and ripping off turrets or disabling machinery. It's not too much to expect, and empowering the player beyond simply filling their Skills meter is a feature Crackdown sorely lacks.
Not to mention I remember Ruffian championing Crackdown 2's co-operative objectives, when actually all it consisted of was you and your mates twisting a few valves while fending off the ravenous hordes. It was a major shortcoming, and I'd be very surprised if Crackdown 3 didn't try at the very least to include some more substantial co-operative activities to explore. Considering they only had a year to develop, prototype and finally deliver Crackdown 2's online components, Ruffian did remarkably well, so I expect big things from their next project.
If It 'Aint Broke...
It's obvious Crackdown 2 coasted on the merits of its predecessor, and while certain areas require a drastic overhaul, Ruffian shouldn't dismiss the solid foundation the game rests on. Collecting orbs is perhaps too addictive - a Warning! should be affixed to the box - being able to upgrade your Skills and then unleash them on an unwitting Pacific City an unadulterated joy, and the 'go anywhere, do anything' mantra is a perfect demonstration of our medium's unique strengths.
So while I'd love to see varied, objective-driven missions and a brand new, multifaceted city, I'd stage a mass protest outside the Ruffian HQ if Crackdown 3 doesn't include the luminous scattering of Agility Orbs, the ability to leap rooftop to rooftop and hurl cars like paper-planes, alone or with a bunch of like-minded pals. We should be able to strap a dozen remote mines to a civilian car, lift the hapless driver and his vehicle above our heads and toss it at a passing truck, clicking RB at the precise moment and enjoying the fireworks display.
But like C2, build on it. First we could jump, then we could glide, so - for the sake of progress - we should now be able to fly. I also think each Skill should have a collectible orb, not just Agility and Driving. Perhaps a brute you locate to best in physical combat for Strength, a gun range mini-game for Firearms, and a pyrotechnics display for Explosives. The possibilities are limitless...
What do you want from Crackdown 3? As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below!