Somehow 'The Crew' Became a Long-Tail Success Story


#1

It seemed like it came and went, but Ubisoft's announcement of 'The Crew 2' means a lot of players stuck with it.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/somehow-the-crew-became-a-long-tail-success-story

#2

From what I can tell about how the first big expansion pack went, at least, it seemed like there was a solid community of people deep on that PvP racing train, and its always on such deep sale that I bet they’ve seen plenty of people pick it up cheaper later on.

My wish though is that I could restart my save progress so I could actually just enjoy that game’s big empty world again, because going on big ol’ cross region drives was the best part of that game even if the game never wanted to facilitate it.


#3

I really enjoyed The Crew and didn’t understand why it got panned. Driving across USA-Lite was so much fun.

Okay, I do kinda understand why it got panned. The story was absurd and it came out at a time when the Ubi-Open-World-Collect-All-Map-Icons mechanic was wearing thin. And sure, the modding system was a little silly and left a lot to be desired.

I love driving, cars, and driving games. The first thing I did in The Crew, as soon as the game would let me get out of Detroit, was drive to the west coast. It took me a half-hour, but it was a blast. Ripping past ersatz national landmarks going the wrong way against oncoming traffic running from the cops with the throttle wide open; I was creating my own personal Vanishing Point.


#4

I have never understood why some games attract a mountain of praise for having stuff to do in an open world which provide activities between the story and mechanical progression/upgrades while other get panned for… having exactly that too. Burnout Paradise is amazing because there are billboards to find, shortcuts to memorise, and everything is tracked for leaderboards at every intersection.

So, The Crew is a crazy USA (anyone who wishes to say how exceptionally “weird” it is, please come actually visit all the places that inspire games set around the world and welcome to our reality) theme park of different locations that’s just fun to cruise around and enjoy the various locations and looks. The cars feel good, especially for an arcade game with various different vehicle type and attempting to put them all on a range of terrains and weather conditions.

The story was fun because it was exactly what every single good Need for Speed game does in being totally derivative but also the budget mash that’s not quite like anything you’d see in any real movie. It certainly didn’t look great at launch but they swapped out the engine by the time the first expansion came out and baring a few bugs it was a good change. I do wonder how they make a sequel to that tiny version of the USA - Europe? Making it less of a theme park version? Go in cheap and just refit the existing map with Canada and Mexico?

As to profitability: they gave the base game away last year for anyone with a uPlay account on PC. They released expansions, multiple, which got people to jump back and enjoy the multiplayer stuff, and when the base game is free then that’s probably going to help revenue. They’ve also been aggressive with sales on consoles. They sold 2 million copies during the final month of 2014 at launch, then had an expansion ready for the end of 2015 and another only last year (end of 2016). It’s also been on Games with Gold. I’m sure giving millions of copies away, having millions of people who paid for the game, and having two big expansions that also go on sale have really helped profitability. Personally, I’m happy I enjoyed the betas and my free copy on PC but I’d rather not throw cash at something with always-on DRM. But if it wasn’t plagued by that, I’d say it’s a really solid mid-range arcade driving game with a lot to do and see well worth picking up.


#5

I’m guessing it must have been significantly improved since launch (reminiscent of DriveClub), because I just bought the full edition the other day, and I don’t really see any of the issues I saw people complaining about during the reviews… Well, outside of the AI impossibly rubber-banding when you’re dominating the race, but what else is new; that’s in most arcade style (or cart) racing games.

The handling is a little wonky when you first start, but once you buy a proper car and get a couple of upgrades in it, it plays great. Also looks fantastic (not Forza/DriveClub levels, but damn fine regardless), and has a metric ton of things to do/see.

As far as it starting you off in a limited area… I mean, it’s an RPG… It’s quests are limited to what you’re capable of competing in. It just so happens that they spread those out over the map rather than by level/time, so as you get more car types available, you progress outward and the other regions start offering more “Main quest line” activities. That said, you can travel the entire map at any rate you like, and there is still plenty to do in the regions without main story-line races… There’s challenges, hidden items to find, multiplayer events, etc…

I dunno, maybe it’s because I’m a Camaro junkie, and someone on this dev team is obviously as well, but I’m having a blast with it. Easily the most fun driving game I’ve played on Ps4, outside of DriveClub.


#6

It is a bit weird that they give you (after the intro) an unspec’d car to start with and drive in the city and then teach you how to buy a car spec. But… you’ll never drive a car with no spec, just change which spec is applied to it. So that very first drive in your “own” car is below the handling of any other vehicle you’ll ever be in and all those lvl0 bronze parts also make it handle worse than the upgrades provided throughout the game (a system I did kinda dig). And it’s not like that’s the only waypoint they give you so you could drive around for a bit doing the side-challenges without applying a spec.

The game also shipped with really weird sensitivity curves for default and loads of sliders to tweak them, which was an odd move but did allow you to tune the handling (a few popular forum posts basically give good starting points that maybe they patched in as the official defaults at some point). It was a bit like the recent NfS game offering a slider for handling so you could tell it what sort of arcade handling you wanted (only with more than 1 slider so harder to grok). It certainly didn’t help first impressions around release.

I actually found that on some of the longer races that the rubber banding basically gave up. The pack just hung back to a ridiculous extent once you’d bested them so even a spectacular mistake wasn’t going to ruin your race. It was only the club challenges (the end-game stuff) where those longer races offered challenging times to beat/AI competition.


#7

Interesting… I’m only like six-eight hours in, and have been doing a ton of challenges, so I’ve probably only completed maybe a dozen quest races, but the rubber-banding has been insanely noticeable for me on those.

Just last night I was in a race where I was extremely over-leveled (like 190 versus 60 or so), and I literally watched an AI car freaking zip past me, when I had just a second before that had something like -5.50 seconds or so of lead… and I was on a straight-away.

If that gets less noticeable as I go, that would be great, but even still, it doesn’t ruin the game in any way. It was one car, the rest of the pack stayed where they should have been, and it didn’t maintain that speed, I was able to overtake it shortly afterwards.

Regardless, it’s still an excellent game, and for what it’s selling for right now, well worth it.