Crackdown 2 may have a new developer and an "entirely new map" for its city environment, but we can trust that Pacific City's still in good hands, because the game is retaining half of its original development team.
While Realtime Worlds plugs away at All Points Bulletin and its other "very ambitious" MMOG, the franchise the company made its name on, sandbox supercop title Crackdown, is being handled at neighboring studio Ruffian Games, a fact that some folks at Realtime admit to being "miffed" over.
But if you're afraid that Crackdown 2 won't be Crackdown because it's being handled by a company that's not Realtime Worlds, fear not. "Close to half of our team worked on the original game," Ruffian Games' Billy Thompson, who was a lead designer on Crackdown, told EDGE. "We've got core members from every discipline who worked on it, the majority of the design team, and, depending on whom you speak to, some of the best coders and most talented artists."
We'd suspected this since the formation of Ruffian when the studio was revealed to be composed of key Crackdown creators, but it's nice to have confirmation. The same developers, however, does not necessarily mean the same game. While Ruffian's pretty scarce with the specifics, it sounds like Crackdown 2 is shaping up to be a fairly different beast than its predecessor.
"From an environmental point of view, you probably would look at it as being an entirely new map. It's still Pacific City but further on in the timeline," Thompson said. "We've altered a great deal, and think people who enjoyed the first game are going to be really pleased when they enter this one. And we've made sure the gameplay's altered significantly."
How has it altered? While Ruffian says it is adding "variation with the objectives" to avoid the somewhat barebones "find-the-boss, kill-the-boss" structure of the original game, it'll be keeping Crackdown on the other side of the sandbox game spectrum from more story-oriented fare like Grand Theft Auto. "One thing we're not getting caught up in is dialogue-driven cutscenes," Thompson said. "It's not what we do and we've no business going towards that kind of thing."
Good, because if I ever get a call from my annoying cousin while I'm trying to throw a dead body off the top of a skyscraper into the ocean, I swear, I'll turn off the game right then and there.