Speaking to MTV Multiplayer shortly before the launch of Crackdown 2, Ruffian Game’s producer James Cope took some time to address the criticisms being laid at the game’s doorstep in some reviews of the game. To see what kind of criticisms Mr. Cope is referring to, look no further than our excellent review.
First and foremost, the biggest complaint with Crackdown 2 was with its similarity to its predecessor. On the subject of setting the game in Pacific City again, Cope had this to say:
“We started work on ‘Crackdown 2’ at the very beginning of 2009 … Ruffian was formed in 2008 and we jumped straight into Crackdown 2 in 2009 and we worked pretty much flat out from that point on until about two weeks ago. The timescale aspect did factor into that decision. At the beginning of the project we thought, Ok, there’s potentially some effort savings here and we can focus that time in places where we can expand upon the gameplay. The gameplay always won out in those decisions. Did it work? It’s arguable.”
The other big issue critics leveled at the game was its repetitive mission structure. It appears Ruffian were not blind to this slight either:
“One of the things we are worried about is that there are elements of repetitiveness in the game, but that is through necessity of how the game is structured for being this completely open experience that can be approached from any angle with many players.”
Now, Crackdown was never a driving narrative force, to be sure. In fact, aside from the essentials, i.e. ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘why’, the game was bereft of any story whatsoever. Critics and fans alike were outraged at Crackdown 2‘s similarly thin story, but apparently Ruffian actually gave them what they wanted:
“Expanding the storyline too much beyond what was already set wasn’t what people wanted. The couple of design challenges we faced with the ‘Crackdown’ franchise was that it’s built around a completely free-form and open world. Go-anywhere, do-anything in any order. Trying to tell a story in that is very hard. You can’t tell a linear narrative and you can’t direct or expect people to be in certain places at certain times and make anything cohesive in that environment. It’s one of those things that you just have to sweep under the carpet a little bit and focus on the gameplay experience.”
Additionally, Cope hinted at two new DLC packs coming to Crackdown 2 in the future, though no dates or prices were given.
The first pack to hit, currently titled “Toy Box”, will be similar in content to the original Crackdown DLC “Keys to the City”, which essentially allowed players to spawn anything they wanted and jack up their skills with the press of a button.
The second pack, currently titled “Deluge” will give players a different way to play the game. As to what that is is currently anyone’s guess, but Cope explained it thusly:
“We’re looking at new game modes to expand the play, rather than say, ‘Here’s some new map packs for the game you’ve already got’, which I don’t think it [sic] great value from a consumer’s perspective. We’re aiming at having a completely new way to play the game you’ve already got. I think people are much more appreciative of that.”
It is interesting to see a developer address a game’s shortcomings mere days prior to its release. Whether Ruffian believes they can salvage some lost sales by explaining the rationale behind the design choices they made, or are simply speaking from a heavy heart, remains to be seen. As for me, all the reports of the game being lacking did not stop me picking it up on my way home tonight. The delectable pulsing green orbs await me.
Did you guys pick it up, even after reading our review? Do you think these criticisms are fair? If so, is your anger now assuaged?
Source: MTV Multiplayer