And so it has arrived. Finally, and after much Herculean effort from all involved, we have given life to a healthy baby game. Okay, so it’s more of a hulking 250 pound armoured law enforcer than a baby, but I’m still proud of it like a child. It’s occupied more than 14 months of my time so far, so it’s a great feeling to know that it’s soon to see the light of day.
It’s weird, I’ve spent the last month and a half working with the MGS and Ruffian teams to take the game they’d made and turn it into a demo form; I thought I wouldn’t want to play the demo again. I’d play the full game, sure, because I’ve never actually made it all the way through without cheating, and it’s a game where the pleasure is in the journey, not in the destination. But the demo is 30 minutes from the start of the game, and your progress isn’t saved, so I thought I’d just skip it and go to the main game. My wife and family finally got me an XBox 360 for my birthday on Friday, along with a stack of games (Halo 3, Halo: ODST, Forza 3, Bioshock 2, Assassin’s Creed 2), so I wasn’t short of things to play.
But like a digital drug, I found myself using my demo preview code, and playing the demo. I knew what to expect, and that didn’t make it any less fun. Shooting, punching, kicking, driving, exploding, all over the island. Not just once either. Four times through, to get 7 out of the 10 possible demo achievements. I even got my wife to play it through as well. That one I pretended was research for work: you don’t get much more inexperienced at 3rd person games than Vicki, and I wanted to see if we’d pitched the demo opening right. We had – she picked it up surprisingly quickly, didn’t die until much further into the demo than I’d expected. More pride – we’ve made something that can appeal to not only the hard-core, dedicated Crackdown fans, but also to newbies as well. Crackdown for everyone!
Not that I can take much credit for that really, it’s the stellar team at Ruffian who have done a fantastic job on the game. I’ve been privileged to work with them, and the wider team at Microsoft. This has been the biggest budget game I’ve worked on to date, with the highest aspirations, and the highest quality bar. It’s been a real eye-opener, and a great experience. Both teams are chock full of talented, enthusiastic folks, and my passion for the title they’ve matched and exceeded at every turn. I’ve got to give a special appreciation to our ex-colleague Peter Mackay as well – who went to Ruffian after leaving us last year. He’s done a great job on the audio for Crackdown 2, allowing the quality audio design to shine through. I was sorry to lose him as a team-mate, but I think he’s found a great new role at Ruffian.
The demo you can get your hands on tomorrow (June 21st), and the full game will hit the shelves from the July 6th. Get to work Agent!