The centerpiece of Microsoft’s fall lineup, Crackdown 3, is the centerpiece no more. Microsoft confirmed to Polygon that the open-world supercop action game would be moving from its November 7 launch alongside the Xbox One X to a spring 2018 release.
Microsoft Studios Publishing general manager Shannon Loftis said that the company chose to delay the game’s release on both Xbox One and PC to give the trio of developers, Reagent Games, Sumo Digital, and Cloudgine, a bit more time to polish the experience.
“We’re very excited about Crackdown 3 and so are many fans,” Loftis said in an email to Polygon. “And so it’s a difficult call to remove the release date.”
“However, we want to make sure to deliver the right game, with the right quality, and at the right time. Crackdown 3 is a hugely ambitious game and we want to ensure we deliver the right experiences all the way through every part of the game, whether that’s campaign, co-op multiplayer, or our competitive multiplayer mode, Wrecking Zone,” Loftis continued. “Getting the balance right between the three modes is important, and we are going to take the extra development time to ensure that.”
A bumpy road
Crackdown 3 was first announced at E3 2014, and was intended to be a showpiece for Microsoft’s cloud-computing technology, which would make complex destruction possible that wouldn’t be possible on a modern console. Since that release, Microsoft has been relatively quiet about the game, showing tech off at some developer events and finally let people get their hands on it at E3 this summer – check out our interview right here.
That led to some of that toxic hype that always comes with long-awaited, high-concept games, and some confusion about what exactly the game would be. While the destruction was put front-and-center, it isn’t part of the main campaign – it’s multiplayer only and is a separate mode from the drop-in cooperative multiplayer the game is known for. While Crackdown was a huge surprise when it came out, its sequel Crackdown 2 was lazy and boring. Microsoft knows this one has to live up to the original if they want it to be successful, so a delay to finish the game and maybe course-correct messaging about it seems like a good idea.
In addition to the cloud-computing competitive multiplayer, Loftis says the game will hit true 4K resolutions on Xbox One X. Crackdown 3 doesn’t have a firm release date yet, but it’s now moved to spring 2018.
That empty feeling
With Crackdown 3 pushed into spring, the Xbox One X lineup is looking a little grim. The only big console exclusive Microsoft has left is Forza Motorsport 7. While games like Assassin’s Creed: Origins will take advantage of the system, they’ll be available elsewhere, and won’t be system-selling games on their own. With Microsoft now releasing all its games on PC as well as Xbox One/One X, you could argue no Xbox One games are system-selling games. But losing an exclusive to a delay like this is rough with a console launch. Microsoft is going to have to work hard in the next couple months to convince people that raw horsepower is the answer to our gaming needs.