gamescom 2015: Crackdown 3’s Use of Technology is Jaw-dropping

The Crackdown series has always been a fan-favorite, offering a very memorable brand of over-the-top crime-fighting action. We were pretty psyched to hear about its return with Crackdown 3, and we walked away from our recent gamescom 2015 demo totally blown away, Not only did we get the kind of awesome single-player Crackdown experience that we know and love; we got the coolest tech demo that has ever graced the Xbox One.

We are not exaggerating when we say that Crackdown 3’s multiplayer building destruction demo was pretty much the coolest thing at gamescom. Like, holy crap levels of amazing. Games have promised this level of building destruction in the past, but no game has ever fulfilled it quite this fully.

So, get this: Crackdown 3 uses the Microsoft Cloud to segment the city into different chunks, each one using a different server’s processing power. We got to see a color-coded guide that essentially shows how each city block is connected to a unique server. This means that the compute load is split enough that the Xbox One isn’t trying to do every calculation for the entire game world (an impossible feat for even the beefiest computer – let alone a console). Essentially, Crackdown 3 uses the Microsoft Cloud to summon the power of 20 Xbox Ones, and fuses them together to make your game defeat lag and destroy anything you want, the way you want to.

This is all technical, but what it boils down to is that you can literally shoot a building apart, piece by piece. You can send it toppling, it will crash into another building, and that building will also crumble into thousands of pieces. The level of potential destruction is unfathomably large. You can conceivably raze the city to the ground with your friends – which is, obviously, the first thing we intend to do when we get our hands on the game.

The single-player mode feels a lot like Crackdown… by which we mean, it’s still awesome. You’re still a super-jumping super-cop, fighting crime on the mean, cel-shaded streets. It’s not just more of the same, though; everything is bigger, and there’s a lot more of it this time around. You get more vehicles, guns, orbs, crime bosses, and a much larger city with a lot more citizens to protect.

And there’s even more verticality in Crackdown 3, which is great for those of us who enjoyed climbing to the tallest buildings in the city. And the story mode is getting a lot more actual story, but not through cut-scenes. Crime bosses hijack billboards to communicate with (read: taunt) you. The action never stops, and you’re never taken out of the game experience.

The firefights in Crackdown 3 are frenetic and intense, and the vehicular chases and combat feature a new HUD that alerts you to damage, so that you can take action appropriately. It’s a smarter Crackdown game, to be sure.

Crackdown 3 is in the early stages of development right now, and still has more than a year to go before multiplayer releases in summer 2016. But that honestly makes the aforementioned destructible environment demo that much more impressive. We’re eager to see how it all plays out, how multiplayer figures into the mix, and just how awesome the final game will be.