The Crew Gets a Release Date

By Marc Hollinshead, 4 years ago
You keeping up with the barrage of E3 news? There's still plenty more yet. Another title that's received treatment is Ubisoft's upcoming racing MMO The Crew. This curious game will see players from all over the globe collaborating together and racing it out against other formed crews in an open world recreation of the United States. To begin, here are some screenshots showing off some of that racing action:

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Next, a trailer has appeared called "Coast to Coast", and this shows some sped up footage of a crew racing across America in bustling cities, grassy countryside and snow-filled vistas:

Finally a rather lengthy Q&A has been released from E3 where the devs tell us pretty much everything we need to know about The Crew:

What is THE CREW?
THE CREW is a revolutionary action-driving MMO where players team up with others and compete like never before across a living, breathing open-world USA. THE CREW takes you and your friends on a wild ride loaded with exciting challenges.

What are the key innovations of THE CREW in comparison to other driving games?
THE CREW was born out of a dream to create a living, breathing world of car enthusiasts. A world in which any driving fantasy can be realized – street, dirt, cross-country, circuit – The game was built with cooperation at its heart. We believe the technology is finally here to make this dream a reality.
The first innovation that THE CREW brings to the action-driving genre is a massive open-world filled with activities, gigantic in scope, which delivers an unprecedented level of gameplay variety. 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. In this huge open world, go anywhere 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…
The second major innovation delivered by THE CREW is a revolutionary social driving experience in a persistent online open world populated by other real players. You and your friends will be able to seamlessly jump in and out of each other’s games at any time, in any mission. So, for the first time in a driving game, you will be able to play the entire campaign cooperatively with your friends. At the core of the game experience is an advanced social interface that connects you with your friends so that teaming up is effortless
and efficient.
Players can create their own gameplay experience based on their tastes (i.e. free-riding in the countryside, accomplishing side challenges, weaving in and out of city traffic or achieving an epic downhill race) and then “crew up” on the go to reach a common objective (i.e. chase and takedown a target in an open off-road environment). Sharing a common objective is a lot of fun, makes tough tasks easier, and provides greater rewards. You'll be able to select crew members from among your friends, ranked by their driving attributes, to ensure that your crew’s capabilities correspond with the needs of the mission at hand.

How many different activities will be playable in the final game?
The game will feature more than 900 activities at launch. From missions revolving around the main story, to quick challenges to test your skills on every terrain, our take on the US won’t give you a minute to rest. There is always a new activity within your reach.

Can you present the specificities of PVP in THE CREW?
In THE CREW, PvP missions incorporate all key elements of the single player experience. With about 70 specifically designed PvP missions all types of terrains and specs will be available, allowing for players to truly master each types of driving in a competitive environment. Taking place in an open-world, those PvP missions will also encourage players to be creative with their driving and to try to find the best paths from on checkpoint to another. Sheer driving skills won’t be the only component of what makes a good driver in PvP, you’ll also have to be smart with the choices you make.
Another key aspect that’s fully integrated in the PvP experience is how playing with a crew of player you know can impact the race. As THE CREW will feature a Crew VS Crew mode where players don’t only drive for their own victory, but for their team’s victory, determining roles and sticking to them can enhance a team’s performance. In a crew of 4 players, having everyone race for 1st place is the most obvious choice, but you might get a better result if a player is purposely staying behind is teammates and takes the role of a blocker so they can widen the gap and get a higher score.
Finally, THE CREW’s PvP experience will have its fair share of customizable elements so players can really race in an environment they are comfortable in. Sick of those traffic cars interfering? Just disable them. Looking for a raw driving skills contest? Maybe you’ll feel better in a race without collisions.

How does blending the single player and multiplayer modes change the experience?
In THE CREW, you are part of an online world, with other drivers around you. The choice is yours to play on your own in this living world, or to team up on the go with friends to accomplish collective challenges. It’s a brand new driving game experience unlike anything that’s come before it.
First, in the game’s universe, the experience is entirely customizable. You always have someone next to you, ready to jump into new challenges either with you or against you. You can decide to play a mission on your own, then change your mind and invite a friend to play it with you, or join a friend on the go to help him out on a mission you've already mastered, or just free-ride with old and new friends to discover one of the real world landmarks we've recreated. THE CREW offers you the freedom to tailor your experience at will.
THE CREW is a long-lasting experience with constant challenges for players to beat. Each time you enter the game world, you are notified of all your friends’ achievements that have occurred in your absence – new scores to beat, missions completed, etc.
Finally, always having other live players around you stimulates your progression. In every mission and challenge, there is someone to compare yourself to, someone to beat, and someone to inspire you and take you further. Imagine you just earned a vehicle and you run into a player’s far more advanced dream machine version of that same vehicle. You can’t help but think about what you can do to earn more XP and car parts so you can upgrade your car to compete with him on equal terms the next time you meet.

How many other players will be visible in each game instance? Will players be able to interact and compete with all of them?
The game will have a single server worldwide allowing for every player to meet whenever they want. As far as instances go, you will always be with up to 8 players. This is of course a choice made for technical reasons but there are also some pretty obvious practical ones when you think about it. It wouldn’t be easy to play a slalom challenge in the middle of a crowded highway for example.
This list of players you share your instance with is refreshed with your every move and is designed to provide the most comfortable and enjoyable experience to the players. Several filters are applied, with friends in top priority, so you’re always matched with someone that’s somehow relevant to you. For example, it could be a player from the same level but it could also be someone from your town.
As far as competition goes, we’re giving players the means to stand out in every possible way. Skill challenges feature asynchronous competition with ghosts and rankings; global leaderboards on every mission allow for players to instantly evaluate their performances and expect to learn more about competitive aspects of the game in the near future.

What makes ‘RPG progression’ in The Crew stand out from progression systems of other driving games?
Every car is a 20-piece puzzle that you can customize and upgrade at will as you unlock body and performance parts along your progression. During our campaign you will be introduced to 5 different tuning specs (street, dirt, perf, raid, circuit) that enable you to perform better and venture on unexplored or previously impracticable terrains. What really sets us apart is that you will have the ability to upgrade your car to adapt to completely different driving grounds like in no other driving game. In fact, we’ve incorporated this aspect in each car part you can equip as additionally to their base stats, they’ll randomly generate stats for a specific type of spec. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to equip it on another spec, just that you’ll get a bonus when using the spec it’s made for.
This system offers you to make your car performance evolve as you gain experience, for always more thrilling sensations. Taking your full stock Camaro SS 2010 to a racing tuned Camaro SS 2010 really delivers a different type of adrenaline and even within a spec, you’ll be able to specialize your vehicles.
On top of that the player will be able to choose between a wide range of perks according to his driving style: one perk will make your car more robust, one will affect your brakes while another perk will just improve the amount of cars you can keep in your HQ. In a way, perks in The Crew are much like skill trees in traditional RPGs. They can affect very different elements of the game and give players the possibility to truly match their play style.

Is an online connection mandatory?
THE CREW is set in a living-breathing world, full of challenges, opportunities and new players to meet. Online connection is mandatory because it’s a key element to the core experience of the game.

What extra features and content were you able to develop thanks to this extra time?
So first we’ve been giving a lot of attention to the car’s handling. From steering to weight management, we did our best to offer the most realistic, yet fun, driving experience on every terrain. The result is a whole new set of options to customize your driving experience. You can now go from the simpler arcade sensations to hardcore driving simulation in a few seconds at any time.
Another aspect we’ve been focusing on since the game got delayed is its overall look. We never compromised on the open world aspect but feedback we received from our E3 and GamesCom demos were that the graphics could still be improved. We’ve been listening and took the time to fully optimize the graphic engine, in order to deliver a truly next-gen experience not only in terms of scope, but also in terms of graphic quality.
Then there were opportunities to get extra licensor deals. We know that at the core of every driving game are the cars. The vehicles the players are using should not only feel real but be real and that’s been a big part of our work lately.
And finally we’ve been working on the online infrastructure of the game. As we realized the amount of players that were enthusiastic about the game, we identified the need for a much stronger infrastructure. We’ve spent the past couple of month working on that aspect, testing our servers throughout multiple processes.
We know several fans might have been disappointed by this delay, but our philosophy is to deliver the best game possible when it is ready. Fortunately, Ubisoft’s policy is the same in that regard and with their support, we agreed on delivering the best driving experience of this next-generation of consoles.
That's a lot of info! To coincide with this media frenzy, The Crew finally has a release date. The game will be coming out on Xbox One on November 11th, 2014.
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.