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.



  1. Gap Gen says:

    The Crew is basically Pixar’s Cars: The MMO, right?

    • The Random One says:

      I’d play that too.

      Now I’m imagining a version of Burnout Paradise with the Cars… cars, and they get severe facial damage from the takedown events. The winner would appear with like black eyes and missing teeth. The loser would DIE.

    • Parrot says:

      it’s TDU3 with cartoony handling…

  2. pakoito says:

    So Burnout Paradise with DarkSoulesque coop. Me likey, but not at the cost of my soul.

  3. Veritaas says:

    I wonder how they’re handling building a map that large. I assume they used the Google Maps API, but as far as terrain generation, I have no idea.

    • mrwonko says:

      Well, it’s obviously not to scale (it can’t be), but it’s still massive. There’s bound to be some procedural generation there.

      • pakoito says:

        >apparently around 5,000sq km in size

        link to static.giantbomb.com

        No procedural generation needed just a big-ass map, which is “just” a matter of sitting designers with a decent terrain modelling tool for enough time. As the graph says, Fuel was actually twice that.

        • Oneironaut says:

          Fuel also felt extremely empty. I still really enjoyed it, but if they can make The Crew actually feel like you’re driving around an entire country, I’ll be buying it on day one.

          • pakoito says:

            Same as Oblivion felt emptier than Skyrim or Nehrim, or most MMOs, it’s just a matter of more designers doing more interesting areas. Throwing around corners, trees and buildings doesn’t cut it. See Burnout Paradise for reference of varied tracks in the same maps.

        • The Random One says:

          Wow! This is the first time I’m looking at that graph since I’ve played Burnout Paradise, and I’m amazed at how much larger its map is than San Andreas’. I literally thought San Andreas’ was bigger, even if only slightly.

    • Smashbox says:

      I think not – look at this monstrosity:

      link to i.imgur.com

      Whatchu doing over there Texas?

      • Lev Astov says:

        Yeah, I was coming to point that out. That’s a terribly deformed map! Looks like there are only a few major cities and they cut out all the stuff in between. That would make driving around a lot quicker, that’s for sure.

      • Parrot says:

        lol, that’s the US on botox. Too bad – I really enjoyed the accurate scale of Oahu in TDU1

    • Parrot says:

      There’s Digital Elevation Data (DEM) available for the whole USA with 30 meter accuracy (3 meters for some parts scanned with LIDAR)… so, not that difficult really

  4. DeathRow says:

    I might finally play a car game.

  5. Reapy says:

    Seem really cool for the exploration part of it, the driving didn’t look that great, sort of GTAish with the lightening bursts behind it. Still I’d pick this up bargin bin and drive around for a while for sure.

  6. ZIGS says:

    A Test Drive Unlimited spiritual sequel? Sign me up!

  7. Hydrogene says:

    If the driving model is better than FUEL (ie, no canned speed limits according the the type of terrain), this could be very interesting!

  8. tnzk says:

    Didn’t anyone else think the trailer looked like what a Fast & Furious game should be?

    Am I the only one on this site who even knows what Fast & Furious is?!

    • The Random One says:

      cars wot go fast: the movie, starring Vin Diesel

    • Axess Denyd says:

      Fast and Furious was when the US government supplied guns to Mexican drug dealers. That would make a crappy game.

      Wait, did you mean The Fast and the Furious? The film of 10 million shifts?

  9. The JG Man says:

    The scale seems amazing, You could really tell this was being made by (Ubisoft) Reflections – Miami had a back alley you can drive through!! Thought it looked really fun and may be shoe-in for sleeper-hit-announcement from the event. Very cool.

  10. ulix says:

    Always-On, by the way…

    • Vinraith says:

      It sounds like it’s designed strongly around multiplayer, so that’s to be expected (even if it is a shame).

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      Actually he said you can play offline. The NFS is actually always on.

    • Primey0 says:


    • ulix says:

      Nope. I’m right:

      link to kotaku.com

      • Axess Denyd says:

        That’s pretty crap. It was looking like a potentially promising game, too. But I do not want griefers to ruin my fun, or weirdass ghosts warping in and out of my game.

        Or anyone talking to me ever.

  11. Jason Moyer says:

    Looks like it could be good, although it’s hard to tell when I’m staring at the back of someone’s car.

  12. RedViv says:

    But does it have a Crewatar? No? This is a necessary feature. I guess they lack the required Clooooouuuudddd though.

  13. nrvsNRG says:

    no cockpit no sale.

  14. Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

    Looks fun, although I’m not installing UPlay for an arcade racer (however big the map).

  15. GameCat says:

    Now we need On The Road mod where we can hitchhike across America.

    • jonahcutter says:

      I was thinking the same thing.

      Though I think even better would be a procedurally-generated roguelike where you travel down a road scavenging supplies and dodging/fighting cannibals. With supplies getting harder and harder to find. But that’s another game entirely.

  16. GreatUncleBaal says:

    Now I bloody loved Fuel but I can understand the complaints that it was a wee bit too empty and unfocused. I took it in the spirit of Jim’s approach to it in his feature a few years back, and kinda just treated it as a big thing to explore rather than a racing game; it was a surprisingly great game to tool around in while listening to a podcast or half-watch telly.
    This initially sounds like a bit of a crossover between TDU and Fuel, which I would be very interested in, although there was something about the gameplay which didn’t quite grab me in the vid.

    I’m still waiting for my Vanishing Point game.
    Or at least Cannonball Run.

  17. UncleLou says:

    I think CGI Trailers have their place (for, say, a top-down strategy game or RPG), they really do, but not if your game looks extremely similar like the Trailer in concept, but dramatically worse, technically.

  18. jonahcutter says:

    Smokey and the Bandit mod anyone?

    I will actually consider buying a driving game if that is possible.

  19. PedroBraz says:

    Collectables? Takedowns? I hope they dont loose focus too much. Ditto on a Cannonball Run game. Give me the best most interesting driving roads in the world, and a good selection of classic vehicles. Why is that so hard?

  20. SuicideKing says:

    DA MUSICA on the CGI trailer is epic.