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 about Xbox Live multiplayer?

David Jones: I look at Crackdown as the first game to do co-op in the way we're doing it. You can join in your mate's game at any time. You could both hop into supercars and scream through the streets at 200mph, your mate five metres in front of you flipping cars out of the way. Or if you were about to take on a Kingpin that you were having trouble with you could ask your mate with high firearms skill to hop into your game and give you a hand. You could even just keep a saved game that you only play with your mate. It's a totally new way of playing an open-ended game like Crackdown.

And do you have any plans for downloadable content?

David Jones: Absolutely. It's a massive city and we want to keep re-using it. We think the Agency could start bringing in new armouries and vehicles, so we've got loads of cool ideas for downloadable content in the future.

Lots of people are viewing Crackdown as the Xbox 360's Grand Theft Auto. What's your reaction to that?

David Jones: I still play GTA and I'm a huge fan, but it's grown more into a story mode than anything else. It's all about the missions and they drag you through with lots of character development. Having worked on the first two GTAs I think it's veered away from what those games were all about - free form fun and non-stop action. We've got some pretty interesting stats about how many people have never even finished two missions in Grand Theft Auto - it's pretty high!

That's why we wanted the free form aspect to be the core gameplay of Crackdown. You can do free form stuff in a lot of games these days but it never really rewards you. You always end up having to do the missions anyway. So what we wanted to do with our character progression system was really give the player a reason just to have fun and do what they want. With Crackdown we're offering a balance. If you want great story and the full Hollywood experience, you can have that. But if you just want to mess around and have a good time, you'll be rewarded just as much.

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