Back in the days of the Xbox 360’s infancy truly innovative Ip’s were few and far between but along came Crackdown to change all of that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Crackdown was revolutionary but it was very much a breath of fresh air, at least for me. This was before every game that came out had Open World game play fornicated into it, so the style was still interesting. While it was kinda “grindy” it was the good kind of grind, jumping from building to building collecting orbs to further enhance your Agent’s jumping ability was wholly enjoyable.
Crackdown is a third person super hero simulator in an open world environment, obviously this was a perfect combination. You start the game by picking one of the predefined characters called Agents, you are then assigned to defeat the Kingpin of each of the different gangs that control Pacific City. In the Beginning you are underpowered (compared to what you will be) and dropped into the world to unleash your mayhem upon the city. The first the thing I always do is go collecting the many orbs resting on building and in high places so as to raise my jump and sprinting ability’s. after that go attack things to raise the combat ability’s as well. The game is very open and allows you to tackle anything when you want but makes sure to tell you if you have no chance. The entirety of Pacific City may be explored from the start of the game, allowing the player to locate the hideouts of each General and Kingpin, which can be made easier by accessing supply points scattered around the city. Once a supply point is unlocked, the player has the option of returning there to travel to any other supply point, restock on weapons and ammunition, or drop off newly acquired weapons, to permanently add them to their weapon selection. Should the player die, they can re spawn at any open supply point. While exploring, the player is likely to come across enemy resistance, with their aggressiveness based on how badly the player has damaged that particular gang recently. If the player is too aggressive against the non-gang residents of Pacific City, including the Peacekeepers, they are flagged as rogue, and Agency hit squads are dispatched to take them down.
Crackdown was conceived by David Jones the founder of Realtime Worlds, who also had a hand in creating Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings. Originally Crackdown development was started in 2002 and planned to release in 2005 on the OG Xbox, but by 2004 Microsoft had brought the team the Xbox 360 hardware and suggested moving the game to that system. By November 2004 Pacific City (the game map) was finished and Co-op became possible but in January 2005 the team switched to the Renderware 4 engine which caused many problems and was according to producer Phil Wilson “huge mistake”. Thankfully by 2006 Microsoft was able to provide extra programmers to help, which was perfect timing for a demo to be shown at E3 2006. Microsoft found that by October, 2006, the game had fallen in the bottom 30 percent in test player reaction against the other games being tested. A smart move by Microsoft came next, they decided to pack in the Halo 3 multiplayer trial with Crackdown, which proved to be a much needed boost. Crackdown was released on February 20th 2007 to Critical acclaim and steller reviews. Crackdown premiered to very strong sales. During the week of its worldwide release of February 22, 2007, it was the top selling Xbox 360 game in North America, Japan, and the UK. The game was the top selling game in North America for the month of February 2007, selling 427,000 units. By the end of 2007 Crackdown had sold 1.5 million copies.
Crackdown is definitely one of my fond game memories and helped shape my love for Sandbox style games. The sequel added a lot of interesting things as well but we’ll get to that later. This just goes to show that with a good idea and some faith from your corporate overlords a great game can be born. Thank you reading and remember Sometimes Even The Mundane Can Be Extraordinary.