Ubisoft's arcade racer The Crew is only a couple of weeks away. After a strong showing at E3 2013, The Crew sort of disappeared relative to the other 2014 Ubisoft releases; as such, it was hardly surprising when the The Crew's launch date was changed from "early 2014" to November 11. The second delay came as more of a shock; shortly before the game's release, Ubisoft and developer Ivory Tower said that The Crew simply wasn't ready, and moved the title to December 3. Disappointing, but given the problems Ubisoft's had with other big releases this fall and how the other big new online-focused racer, DriveClub, completely failed to launch, it's probably for the best.
Now, however, The Crew's almost here, and gamers won't even have to wait until December to get their hands on the title. On November 25 through 27, Ubisoft's holding a public beta that's open to all Xbox Live and PlayStation Network subscribers. The beta gives gamers access to The Crew's entire map, as well as select challenges and PvP lobbies in the game's "Midwest" and "East Coast" regions. Two of The Crew's five vehicle classes, "Street" and "Dirt," will also be available.
That's not all. Ubisoft also released a new trailer, "The Crew 101," to fill players in on all of The Crew's unique features. While the video plays lip service to The Crew's sprawling map (over 1900 square miles in size, including five separate regions and twelve major American cities), its arcade-inspired gameplay, and its DLC season pass, most of the footage explores The Crew's "MMO-Car-PG" features in-depth.
Like a traditional MMORPG, The Crew's gameplay focuses on completing quests to earn money, experience, and loot (in this case, taking the form of different car parts). The Crew offers players a number of different quest types: "Go To" levels, in which players must race against the clock to reach certain destinations in time; collectible challenges; follow missions; and traditional car races.
These missions don't have to be completed solo, either. Players can create four-player "crews," and can also join up with one of five in-game factions. Completing missions either solo or as a group will level up both crews and factions, and the faction with the highest score at the end of the month gains access to bonus missions with special rewards.
The trailer also touches on The Crew's customization features. Not only are there hundreds of different car parts that can be used to upgrade vehicles, but cars themselves fall into one of five categories, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, racers can earn "perks," like speed upgrades for all their cars or a mechanic that can be called anywhere, at any time.
It all sounds extremely ambitious, and if The Crew can deliver on its promises, it could set a new standard for arcade racers. It's hard to get too excited, though: this year's online-specific releases haven't fared particularly well, especially around launch. Here's hoping that the delays have given Ivory Tower the time they need to make The Crew as good as it could be. A stable multiplayer release would be a nice change of pace before the year ends.
If you missed it, below is the DLC season's pass trailer. Every major game comes with this standard it seems these days:
The Crew is set to launch on December 2, 2014 for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360.