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Ubisoft's The Crew: Ultimate Road Trip Game?

Oh dear, did someone forget to put all their product managers in the same room at any point? Ubisoft have managed to announce both The Crew and The Division on the same day – confusionpocalypse is surely inevitable. Presumably The Local Ombudsman Committee is being saved for tomorrow.

If it helps you to keep track of which one’s which, The Division is prefixed with ‘Tom Clancy’s’ and is an RPGy thingy about shooting people, while The Crew has no prefix and is about driving across America. And sounds absolutely brilliant in concept. ROAD TRIP!
Start-to-“redefine what driving games mean”? 20 seconds, or 10 if you don’t count all the logos at the start of this video:

Honestly, you big-budget developers really don’t need to go around claiming you’re redefining everything all the time. You could just say, for instance, “we’re trying to make an ace driving game, with an enormous open world and freeform co-op.” Music to my ears, that. Fuel had a crack at similar, with mixed results, but this one seems a little more focused and is trying to recreate a huge swathe of America to drive/race/cruise/drag your eyeballs across. More specifically,

“The entire USA is your driving playground, covering thousands of square miles, from city to suburb, county to county, state to state, coast to summit. THE CREW defines what freedom truly means in a driving game, without any barriers and invisible walls to restrict your car to the road. Go anywhere in the huge open world at any moment and use the surrounding environment to your advantage. Take that cop chase off-road and watch those cumbersome patrol cars spin out in the dirt, or maybe just hide in a corn field…”

Actually, that does sound quite redefiney, doesn’t it? I am very happy to eat my words. Burnout Paradise and/or Test Drive Unlimited writ ultra-large, perhaps – the idea of calling up Jim or someone on Skype, drinking beer (it’s not illegal when it’s a game!) and just cruising around America for no reason other than the pleasure of the drive is the most appealing thing to come out of E3 for me so far – indeed, one of few things to chip through my anti-E3-excitement armour at all.

I did worry from the video that it might be too obsessed with racing, and with it a little manic, but a friendly Ivory Tower dev confirmed to me on Twitter that “you can just spend hours roaming freely and enjoying the view.” I’m very happy to hear that, and am now researching trucker caps and denim shirts in preparation for my virtual fly drive.

The Crew will be out on PC and assorted flavours of the other things early 2014, and is made by a sort of racing supergroup called Ivory Tower. Staff have worked on the likes of Driver (hopefully the good ones), Need For Speed, V-Rally and, indeed, Test Drive Unlimited.

Ubisoft have put out quite a long Q&A about The Crew, but pasting the lot below seems poor form. So I’ll post it into a different page you can visit if you so choose. Having my cake and eating it, me. Here’s a CGI trailer too, but maybe we should just all stop watching those and then maybe the games industry will stop creating them.

ROAD TRIP!

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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