Announced way back at E3 2013, after we’d gotten a real glimpse of the PS4 and the Xbox One, The Crew was a broadly ambitious driving MMO that boasted a map that spanned the entirety of (a smaller version of) the continental United States. From the auto-focused city of Detroit in the Midwest to New Orleans in the South and Los Angeles in the West, The Crew was a game that gave us more roads and highways to work with than even the most ambitious of circuit racers.
Most impressive, though, is that The Crew does all of this with nary a loading time. Travelling across The Crew’s map is expected to take players a good 90 minutes but the game lets you do it seamlessly, without a ‘please wait…’ animation in sight.
It’s a huge feat from developers Ivory Tower (supported by Ubisoft Reflections) and it’s one that Ubisoft previously said could only come to PC, PS4 and Xbox One. But now, the publisher has announced that the game will be coming to Xbox 360, causing fans on PS3 to wonder why they have to miss out.
The reason the PS3 doesn’t get to rev those engines and pay for those microtransactions in The Crew is because, a Ubisoft representatives explains, its infrastructure is so different.
“The Crew was originally built for the new generation of consoles, so when we made the decision to port it to the previous generation, we decided to focus solely on the platform closest to the new-gen’s technical infrastructure, which is the Xbox 360”
While there are plenty preparing to hop up onto the soapbox, it’s important to understand exactly what Ubisoft means when they say that the PS3’s architecture is so different. It’s true that the Xbox 360 and the PS3 are similar in terms of overall power, but they go about achieving it rather differently. This has been a long-documented issue for multi-platform developers. Both consoles have 512MB of RAM but on the PS3 this is split into two cells of 256MB, giving developers less ‘wiggle room’ and generally making the console harder to make games for. Its architecture is inherently different and more difficult to take advantage of.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a game that notoriously suffered quite a lot from this RAM split with massive lag and crash problems occurring for PS3 players. Not only did it put plenty of potential fans off buying the game, it also took Bethesda several months to fix. As Skyrim offers a large open-world just as The Crew does, Ubisoft has likely taken that into consideration, save technical issues kill off their new IP before its wheels have even hit the tarmac.
PS3 owners are right to be peeved though, as Ubisoft clearly has no trouble bringing their other big budget titles to the platform. Meanwhile, Xbox 360 players have a right to be concerned about whether their version of The Crew will be the same, seamless driving experience that it is on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Ubisoft does have a few months to further clarify this though, as The Crew’s release date is three months away.
The Crew will be released on November 11th for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360.