Microsoft first announced Crackdown 3 back in 2014 before we even had access to buying the Xbox One. Here we are, three years later and about to buy the console’s mid-generation successor, and we still don’t have Crackdown 3 anywhere to be found. Several delays and rumors about its shaky quality have tossed red flags all around the project, and now Microsoft is saying that it’s early reveal was a mistake.

This comes according to General Manager for Microsoft Studios Publishing Shannon Loftis, speaking with Polygon at Gamescom.

I think we probably announced Crackdown too early.

The problem, says Loftis, is that Crackdown 3 contains three different, distinctive gameplay modes and that each of them are being developed by separate entities, Reagent Games, Sumo Digital and Cloudgine. Coordinating the efforts of all three studios hasn’t ben easy for Microsoft.

We definitely underestimated the challenge of making sure the quality bar of all three of those modes was high and it delivers on what we need to deliver on. So we had to take the extra time, [and] make sure that we’re delivering the game the Crackdown fans want. It was a super hard decision to do that, and it was made harder because we announced the game.

In other words, it’s just not that good

Games like Crackdown are lightning in a bottle. They are quality games that gained a cult-following through word of mouth, and they naturally take on this grand reputation that becomes something far bigger than the publishers ever had in mind. Nobody knew we would be talking about Crackdown ten years after it was first published, and many at Microsoft saw it as a game that they could use to peddle the Halo 3 beta into people’s homes.

Well, here we are ten years later, trying to calculate and recreate that same reputation, and it just can’t be done. They can make a new game called Crackdown 3, but recapturing the spirit of the game’s fame and rise to success has to feel natural, not cold and calculated like this game has become. If the original Crackdown had undergone such extensive, grueling re-evaluations, it probably wouldn’t have been such a hit.

Sometimes, you just have to roll the dice with a broken game. With Crackdown, it worked. With Crackdown 3, Microsoft has clearly sunk too much time and money into it to take such a risk, and the more they send it back to the drawing table, the further to strays from what made the first game so special.

Plus, I agree, it was announced way too early, and was unfairly used as a Trojan Horse to sell more Xbox One consoles during its launch. Scalebound ring a bell, anyone?

Crackdown 3 will be released for the Xbox One, in 2018.