Crackdown 3's 2018 release date, single and multiplayer differences, destruction and everything we know


Fast Facts  

  • Release date: Spring 2018
  • Format(s): Xbox One, PC
  • Developer: Reagent Games
  • Price: TBD

It's hard not to worry about Crackdown 3 at this point. After a 2014 reveal, a 2016, and then 2017, release dates have flown past like a leaping agent with 'Spring 2018' the current window. 

Word on Crackdown 3's delay from Microsoft's Shannon Loftis is "we want to make sure to deliver the right game, with the right quality, and at the right time" - a pretty cookie cutter statement for a game that's had released dates in three separate years, and very little else to show. Unless you count promised summer 2016 multiplayer beta that... never happened.   

At least E3 2017 has gave us a new look at the game, most notable for Terry Crew's live action trailer appearance.  

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

Terry Crews wants you to blow some sh*t up

Crackdown 3 is an over-the-top action game about muscular men and women blowing stuff up and generally being cool. So who better to rep it than actor and infamously beefy Terry Crews? Microsoft's E3 2017 press conference gave us our best look at the game yet, with four players wreaking havoc across a beautiful cityscape. The only downside? Now we also want an FMV spin-off starring Mr. Crews.

Well, actually there's two downsides. While Crackdown 3 was originally set to take advantage of Microsoft's Azure cloud computing power to provide almost 100% destructible environments, it seems like that feature is getting scaled back. Sure, plenty of stuff is still gonna blow up and crumble, but it doesn't look like you'll be able to demolish an entire skyscraper anymore.

The Crackdown 3 release date is spring 2018 and features separate single and multiplayer offerings

After some explosive showings back in 2015, Crackdown slipped past its summer 2016 release date and was delayed until sometime in 2017. Shortly after E3 Microsoft then moved it back even further to spring 2018. And while we got some gameplay in the E3 trailer we're still a bit short on concrete details. 

While a complete retooling for Xbox One X seems likely it seems like elements of the online cloud-based destruction have been difficult to fully integrate with the (potentially offline) single player. Clint Bundrick, the Microsoft Game Studios design director says, "the development of Crackdown 3 is essentially the story of building two completely unique experiences” while outlining differences between a single and multiplayer, the former featuring less complete destruction. “We have a brand-new campaign game, playable in single player offline or online co-op for four players, and a multiplayer mode that is built off a never-before-seen technological innovation with 100 per cent destruction," he explains.

Microsoft has since gone on to say explain that Crackdown 3's 100% destructible city was always a multiplayer only thing and sorry for not making that clearer. Game design director Gareth Wilson said "the destruction was always planned for the multiplayer side of the game. We've got this big competitive multiplayer game where you play in a large multiplayer arena, 20-30 minute battles, and the aim of the game is to smash the crap out of their tower, and they have to destroy your tower before the time runs out. That's where the destruction works great."

Wilson has also said "with hindsight, we didn't do a particularly good job of messaging that [difference]. It was always that we were going to have two games: a classic campaign with four-player co-op, which is a homage to the original title with similar mechanics and updated graphics and more narrative. And then the cloud stuff was always going to be in the multiplayer."

Read more: Xbox One Project Scorpio - everything we know about Microsoft's next console

Crackdown 3 gameplay is based around being a super-cop in a futuristic, open-world sandbox

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. Crackdown 3's being developed by many of the same team members who made the original, including series creator Dave Jones, which should make this sequel feel closer to the first game than Crackdown 2, which was given to a different studio with a shorter deadline. 

Read more: The 15 greatest game worlds in Xbox history

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