Interviews

Crackdown

Real Time Worlds' David Jones gives us the lowdown on the free-roaming game that flips GTA's cop-killing antics

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What kind of influence on the gangs do the Kingpins have?

David Jones: It's very difficult to clean up the gang members on the streets if you don't take out the Kingpins, as it's the Kingpins that are supplying the gangs at street level. They're keeping them in weapons, ammo, new recruits and vehicles. If you start to target individual Kingpins, however, you'll see the results at street level and that will in turn make it easier to take out other Kingpins. If all the gang members are heavily armed, take out the arms supplier. If they're recruiting new members as quick as you can kill them, take out the recruiter. That's the strategic angle, but if you want to just wade in there and take them on that's up to you.

Tell us more about the individual gangs?

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David Jones: Los Muertos are quick to react and very violent. The Shri-Gen gang are based in the financial district and they're a little more calculating, a little slower to react, but very powerful. They'll send highly trained troops like snipers after you. Then there's The Volk, an industrial gang based in the docks area that are bringing in lots of shipments to the city.

Does your relationship with the gangs ebb and flow as you clean up the city?

David Jones: No. They all hate you, all the time!

Is the main character customisable?

David Jones: You have different heads and faces to choose from at the start of the game, so you should look pretty individual at the start of the game. Then as you play the game you'll evolve depending on your strength, your agility suit, and so on. Depending on your skills you'll start to look totally unique.

What kind of new abilities and skills will players gain as the game progresses?

David Jones: As you improve your abilities you'll see your character changing. For a start he'll physically get much bigger. After around 20 hours you should have a character with all his skills maxed out. Maximum strength, maximum agility, maximum armour, maximum explosives. That's the kind of power the player will have at the end of the game once he's taken out all the Kingpins. He can even kick vehicles out of the way or pick them up and throw them across the city!

How much freedom does the player have about how they go about taking down the Kingpins?

David Jones: Right from the very start of the game you can go and try to find the Kingpins and visit them. That's the first part of the game. Once you've found them you've got to figure out how you can take them out. We've left it completely open for gamers to choose the best way to kill the Kingpins depending on their skills and abilities. But we also say that Crackdown can be completed by anybody. If you prefer to do all the freeform stuff - driving around, doing stunts, exploring, getting into firefights - just do that for 10-15 hours and you'll build up a really powerful character. Then go find the Kingpins and take them out! It's up to you. If you want to be the only person in the world who has killed all the Kingpins at level 1, then there'll be sneaky ways of getting to them and taking them out.

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So it sounds like there's plenty of room for player experimentation?

David Jones: Definitely. For instance, you could pick up a load of explosive barrels and move them. You could stuff them all into the back of a truck, drive it somewhere, then blow it up to create a huge explosion. You could try and complete a mission that way. The whole game's really open like that - you can try anything you want!

Can you give us an example of a Kingpin and how you might take him out?

David Jones: Take Garcia as an example. He's got a big statue of himself erected near his hideout - he's a bit vain! He lives in a fortified villa on the cliff edge. He's got gates everywhere and guards everywhere, and he's even got a big bell that rings when there's an attack on his base. One thing you can do is take out the bell from a distance to prevent the alarm being raised. And there are loads of other ways of getting in. If you've got high agility skill you might decide to scale up the cliff face and infiltrate the hideout from the rear. Or if you've got high driving skill you might just get a level 5 truck and ram raid your way in through the front door. We've got an area like that for all 21 of the Kingpins...

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