Console gamers underwhelmed by the lack of next-gen features in the current generation may finally have something to get wowed about with Crackdown 3 for the Xbox One. Cloudgine showed a level of destruction not previously seen during Gamescom presentations this week. Is the promised “power of the cloud” finally being realized for Microsoft’s console?
Cloudgine’s Dave Jones was all over the show floor at Gamecom this week. He was there during the Xbox media briefing to introduce Crackdown 3, demonstrating the game at Microsoft’s booth, doing fan Q&As and sitting down for a 17-minute demo with IGN that was mostly the same as the booth demo.
Crackdown 3 will launch in late 2016 with three different modes – the traditional single-player offline mode, an online four-player co-op mode, and an online multiplayer mode. All three modes will feature various levels of destruction, but it is the latter that uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud servers to bring full on city-leveling destruction.
Every building and object in Crackdown 3 has a physical structure that can be destroyed. Unlike most games that treat buildings as little more than backdrops, the Crackdown 3 buildings are designed with a steel superstructure, rooms, and even gas mains that can cause explosions.
Since everything has a physical presence, players can use guns to shoot holes through walls. This in turn creates small pieces of physical debris that fall to the ground. Players can pick up these pieces, according to Jones, presumably to use offensively or perhaps defensively depending on their size.
Normally, the level of destruction shown in Crackdown 3 would severely tax a console’s memory and compute power. Cloudgine has tapped into the Azure servers to add power as it is needed. You can see the destruction in different parts of the city being handled by different servers in the demonstration. The more destruction that happens, the more compute power and memory are drawn in dynamically from the cloud. During the big finale of blowing up nearly everything, you can see the game use the Xbox One plus 10 cloud servers. The record is 14, per Jones.
The decision to limit the destruction in the single-player and co-op modes is understandable since it is potentially game breaking. The series is known for allowing agents to climb and jump buildings to reach orbs and various objectives, and those won’t be reachable if the entire city is flattened.
Still, players will be able to find creative ways to reach those objectives and orbs through the destruction they are allowed to create. Jones mentioned going into the bottom of a building and then blasting holes in each floor as players climb their way to the top of a building to reach a gang boss as an example.
Xbox One owners will get their fast taste of Crackdown 3 during the multiplayer beta planned for summer 2016. The full game is planned for a holiday 2016 release. This will be one to keep an eye on for slippage as Cloudgine has created an impressive tech demo that finally shows the fabled “power of the cloud” we’ve heard about since the console was first announced. Now they have to do the hard part of putting a game behind it.
[Images via Xbox]