Crackdown 3 release date, trailer, E3 gameplay, and everything else you need to know

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After the Xbox E3 2018 press conference, it feels like we're finally, finally close to Crackdown 3 being a real thing that we can actually play. It's been a long, hard road since the game's announcement in 2014, from that original, cloud-powered, physics-heavy destruction demo (which is now MIA, but possibly still coming as an online multiplayer mode), to a shift in focus to the increasingly raucous campaign gameplay, represented with furious aplomb by Terry Crews. But after a strong E3 showing, it seems like we're getting there. 

Most importantly, after multiple delays we now seem to have a real, complete, ultimate Crackdown 3 release date, and a final blast of gameplay footage that looks significantly more exciting than anything we'd seen before. It's been a long time coming, but Crackdown 3 might just be worth the wait. 

Fast Facts  

  • Release date: February 2019
  • Format(s): Xbox One, PC
  • Developer: Sumo Digital / Reagent Games
  • Price: TBD

Crackdown 3 release date is February 2019. It might not be delayed again 

Crackdown 3 was announced four years ago, in summer of 2014. It has since had three projected release dates in three separate years. It has now been delayed again, and bumped over to next year. Pray for Crackdown 3, friends, it is so close to its goal. Its heart will surely break if this happens again. Repeat after me: The Crackdown 3 release date is February 2019. The Crackdown 3 release date is February 2019. If we all believe hard enough, we can will it into happening. 

Read more: Xbox E3 2017 Recap: Best of Microsoft at E3 2018

The new Crackdown 3 trailer shows one heck of an escalation in explosive chaos 

While E3 2018 might have delivered us another Crackdown 3 delay, it did also give us another Crackdown 3 trailer. The expected good stuff? Terry Crews bellowing his way through the carnage in charmingly self-aggrandising fashion. The unexpected? The cartoon carnage in this Crackdown looks to be on a whole other level from what we've seen before, even compared to the demo we played at E3 2017. Vehicles, verticality, robots, scale... We'll get onto it all properly in the next section, but it all certainly feels pretty damn big. 

Crackdown 3 gameplay adds a world of goofy, sci-fi weaponry to the building-jumping, super-cop action

The quick pitch: Crackdown's a third-person sandbox like Grand Theft Auto, but instead of playing as a modern-day carjacker, you're an Agent of law enforcement in a near-future metropolis. It's got more in common with a superhero game than a crime drama, given how your cel-shaded Agent can bound up and over buildings or kick cars like they were soccer balls. And unlike Superman, ethics aren't a huge priority: when you're determined to take down a perp, you've got the freedom to unleash a barrage of bullets, grenades, and rockets into crowded areas without a care in the world.

When you're not taking out gang leaders through whatever anarchic methods you deem appropriate, you can cruise around in a transforming car or enhance your supernatural strength by collecting brightly colored orbs sprinkled around the city rooftops. Based on how the previous games shook down, that latter element will play out as an ambient platform-puzzling treasure hunt capable of destroying sleep patterns with horrifying ease. 

Read more: The 15 greatest game worlds in Xbox history

As for the new Crackdown 3 gameplay we've seen in the latest trailer? It seems that the sci-fi tech has scaled up to meet our Agents' abilities. There are transforming cars that can turn into tanks, and then morph into a third, anti-grav form to drive up walls. There are mechs. There's a giant enemy robot snake. There's an upgraded version of the series' previous tether gun, and that thing was hilarious. It's looking like good times. Good, very silly times indeed. 

The Crackdown 3 single-player campaign is a city-wide war on crime

For whatever reason, your employers at the Agency are perfectly content to send you into a crime-filled city all by your lonesome, turning you into a police force of one against an underworld of thousands. There's no word yet on whether or not Crackdown 3 takes place in the series mainstay of Pacific City, but wherever you end up fighting an army of felons, you'll have to factor in a new, frankly named mechanic: the Hate System.

Your primary targets are the many Crime Lords who are orchestrating all the misdemeanors going down at street-level, but you can't simply kick down a door and shoot them dead. They'll only show themselves once you've gotten their attention after building up a Hate Meter by systematically eliminating their network of hired goons and reclaiming their territory for the side of the law. All the while, those Crime Lords will be taunting and/or threatening you via giant holograms throughout the city, a la Batman: Arkham Knight. Accrue enough of their Hate, and they'll personally try to take you down in all-or-nothing boss fights. 

Read more: The 7 best uses for your old Xbox 360

Crackdown 3 co-op lets you recruit help to take down those Crime Lords

The cinematic trailer that served as Crackdown 3's announcement shows three Agents working in tandem to bring down a gang leader's bulletproof fortress. You've got one gruff-looking Agent driving a truck covered in demolition charges, another guy triggering a controlled explosion to turn an adjacent building into a makeshift ramp, and the default Agent acting as the sniper that shoots the combustible payload, turning a toppling tower into a devastating battering ram. Clearly, teaming up with other players will let you really do some damage to the criminal underworld. No word yet on whether or not Crackdown 2's player-vs-player shootouts will make a return.

Read more: the 25 best co-op games to play right now

Check out a couple of new Crackdown 3 shots 

Your Xbox is chewing through virtual consoles in Crackdown to make all that destruction happen 

The only thing standing in the way of Crackdown 3 is your Internet Provider 

Crackdown 3 is basically two games, and I want to play them both 

Crackdown 3 effectively turns your Xbox One into the most powerful console ever made