Open-world shooter Crackdown 3 was one of the Xbox One's highly anticipated exclusives for this fall. Console gamers will have to wait a little longer, as Microsoft has elected to give developer Sumo Digital more time to polish the game and avoid some steep competition.
Rumors of a Crackdown 3 delay swirled in recent weeks following news a Spanish retailer canceling pre-orders of the game. Windows Central was able to extract a statement from Microsoft Thursday that confirmed the title's delay to February of next year.
"Our fans' response to the signature antics and explosive gameplay of 'Crackdown 3' has been incredible. To ensure we deliver the experience they deserve, 'Crackdown 3' will be launching in Feb 2019. We look forward to sharing more on 'Crackdown 3' this Sunday during the Xbox E3 2018 briefing."
This, unfortunately, leaves the Xbox One without a major AAA first-party exclusive for the fall unless Microsoft announces something during its Xbox E3 2018 briefing. There will still be a mix of third-party exclusives planned for release later this year, such as Below from Capybara Games. Still, it is highly unusual for games like State of Decay 2 and Sea of Thieves to be the first-party Xbox exclusives to carry an entire year.
A large reason for the delay is likely the same reason that other publishers have decided to wait until next year instead of releasing this fall. Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption 2 is the 800-pound gorilla, sitting with an October 26 release and is expected to pull the bulk of dollars and playing time this fall. Even highly anticipated games like Call of Duty: Black Ops IV have shifted their release dates to beat the western opus to the market and attempt to grab gamers' attention before they are shifted elsewhere.
A February release will surely give Crackdown 3 more room to breathe, but it will also be competing against other titles that sought greener pastures. One of those will be BioWare's Anthem, expected to be released in March, 2019, and the PlayStation 4 exclusive Days Gone, which confirmed a February, 2019, release via the PlayStation Blog today.
Still, it will be interesting to see how Crackdown 3 has come along at the Xbox E3 2018 briefing and during hands-on demos on the show floor. The game was originally announced at E3 2014 with a targeted release date of 2016. Sumo Digital showcased the game's destructive capabilities in 2015, but skipped E3 the following year and was given a new 2017 release before being delayed again to 2018.
Multiple delays and long development cycles are nothing new in the game industry. However, it is interesting to see Microsoft stick with Crackdown 3 so long after canceling games like Fable Legends and Scalebound in recent years.