Microsoft Details 'Crackdown 3' Story, Gameplay and Actor Terry Crews' Participation

'Crackdown 3' creators chat with Terry Crews and fans about the game

Crackdown 3 panel pictures Credit: Chris Roesink

Last week at the annual San Diego Comic Con, Microsoft gave panel attendees their first look at actor Terry Crews character in its upcoming open world action adventure, Crackdown 3, as well as discussing the game's story and gameplay.

The actor, whose participation with the game was shown off in a live-action trailer earlier this summer during Microsoft's E3 press conference, will be playing Commander Isaiah Jackson – named after Crews' son – of the Agents of Justice. Designing around Terry, art director Dave Johnson said, proved to be a bit of an issue for developer Sumo Digital.

"You see Terry on TV, right? And you see him on films, and he's big," Johnson said. "And then you see him up close and it's staggering." 

When the developer saw him suited up to shoot the E3 trailer, they realized they needed to make adjustments to his costume for one big reason: you couldn't see enough of his muscles. Seeing the actor flex, he says, made them realize they would have to design a whole new suit both for him and his character.

As they tell it, Agents in Crackdown are suited based on levels of experience – one being the lowest, six being a commander. Adding Crews to the mix, Sumo began asking itself questions about its characters.

"When it came to Terry," Johnson said, "we asked ourselves, 'Well what would a commander look like?' At this point in the development process, we already have a Level Five suit. We already have Agents Level One, Two, Three, Four and Five looked like, so what did it mean to be a Level Six?"

The answer came in the way of creating a new special suit for the character, one with extra adornments and features other Agents of lesser levels don't have access to.

"The point is, Terry's special," Johnson said.

Taking place over a decade after the events of Crackdown 2, Crews' character will be heading up a strike team of Agents as they go after a corporation called TerraNova, responsible for a series of global blackouts. As they go through the game's story, The Agents realize TerraNova isn't just a corporation, but a hierarchy of villains bent on "world domination." The Agents, as one could probably imagine, will be responsible for trying to take them down.

"The player's ultimate goal is to dismantle this hierarchy, but part of that is figuring out who these characters are and where they are in the world," the game's design director Clint Bundrick said. "You go through this process of attacking [these foes] and pissing them off. And as you piss them off they actually escalate and add to their defenses and they make the world more dangerous for you."

"Terry's special"

Eventually, he continues, enemies will even send out retaliations against the player that can happen dynamically anywhere across the game's open world.

"You can have a fight on a rooftop that I never saw because that's where you happened to piss that character off," Bundrick said. Eventually, after doing enough damage and pissing a particular villain off enough, they will come after you, leading to dynamic boss fights.piss that character off," Bundrick said. Eventually, after doing enough damage and pissing a particular villain off enough, they will come after you, leading to dynamic boss fights.

Sumo is trying to give players a sense of really knowing these villains, giving them a real reason to want to take them down when the time is right. To do that, Bundrick said, it's created a system called "Feed Jacks," where bosses will be able to track the player's movements.

"Feed Jacks allows these characters to actually hack into the environment and their heads will project off of buildings and follow you and look at you and communicate with you," he said. "It's a way where, whether you're climbing the tallest building in the world or running through the streets carrying a car to smash somebody with it, these characters can suddenly come into the world and the story has a way of following you."

Crackdown 3 has been a long time coming at this point, as it was originally announced during Microsoft's 2014 E3 press conference. While it's been quieter about the feature in recent promotions, one of Crackdown 3's big features – and something it pushed heavily when it was first announced – is its use of cloud based servers to create a completely destructible open world. Due to the online-only nature of such a feature, it's since been reported that this feature will only be available in multiplayer. Crackdown 3 is expected to be released for the Xbox One and PC on November 7th.