The Crew: Motorfest Revealed – Farewell to Boats and Planes?
In what seems like a very busy week for racing games, following the extended preview of Forza Motorsport, another franchise ditching its numbered iterations is The Crew. Ubisoft Ivory Tower are looking to create a take on the series that resembles more Test Drive Unlimited than it does Americana.
The series is heading to the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, and building on the groundwork of The Crew 2, which enjoyed over half a decade of live service and updates. They are building off of the ‘MotorFlix’ brand and lore that The Crew 2 has now spent 2 years developing with it’s seasonal structure, TC:M looks to be taking that similar seasonal approach and will likely be building the game with seasonal content (and Battle Passes) in mind.
Farewell to Boats and Planes?
The Crew 2, in it’s initial material and content, made a very large sticking point of the game’s flying and seafaring modes of transport, with big, world-warping set pieces permeating the early game.
However, with MotorFest’s initial teaser, boats and planes seem to be completely absent. While this may be disappointing to some, I personally think if they were to omit them entirely to focus on creating a polished and fun car experience, that would be a good thing. The implementation of boats and planes I felt was underbaked in TC2 and it became clear with the game’s later life that boats and planes were very low on the priority list, so it’s not an admission of failure to ‘trim the fat’ from the latest game in favour of developing a complete, focused experience.
While it will continue to support the Playstation 4 and Xbox One generation (A choice I can’t say I agree with, judging by its effects on the Forza franchise), the experience looks to be enjoyed best on PS5 and Xbox Series consoles alongside PC – The game looks full of life and brimming with vibrance as the teaser trailer does a good job of briefly showing the landscapes you’ll traverse, along with 4 cars being confirmed:
- Lamborghini Sian Roadster (2020)
- Lamborghini Urus (2018)
- Ford Bronco (2023)
- AC Shelby Cobra 427 (1962)
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In a sea of open-world racers, two things have sold The Crew above all else – It’s MMO-like features with skill trees and micro-progression, and probably it’s most recognisable asset, the entirety of the USA as it’s playground.
The sheer scale, variety and vastness of the world was what got me initially invested in the franchise back with the original on Xbox 360, and kept me onboard heading into The Crew 2. While TC2 did take some creative liberties with the map to better serve its gameplay and style, for better or worse (We don’t talk about Laguna Seca..), I hope that the expansiveness of the map can remain, while still packing the world full of life and detail that in some areas, prior iterations of the franchise missed the mark on, with many ‘blank spots’ and areas that looked unfinished between major towns and cities.
Driving Behind the Curtain
One thing that looks to set TC:M apart is it’s Insiders Program – Similar to a technical test, this will allow for dedicated players to get an early build of the game and provide feedback directly to the developers, effectively ‘steering’ the development of the game. The previous entries in the series did also follow in this model, seeding out Alphas, Betas and hosting technical tests, though don’t expect much news out of those – it is very likely that Project Orlando’s testing phase will be under strict NDA.
With the game slated for 2023 and set to release on all major console platforms, PC and Amazon’s Luna streaming service (RIP Stadia), I’ll be eagerly awaiting more details as we inch closer to the game’s eventual release later this year.