Ever wanted to park a hyper car on top of a skyscraper? Or ‘skydive’ from 36,000ft sat in the driving seat of a BMW? How about ‘ski’ a speedboat down a mountain?
For The Crew 2’s creative director Stephane Beley, fun is the driving force behind this huge open-world racer – which parks realism in favour of adrenaline-fuelled thrills the Fast and Furious series could only dream of.
Its piece-de-resistance? The ability to transform on-the-fly from a car to a boat or plane.
“We have to say we are an arcade game,” Beley explains. “The Crew 2 is an easy-to-access game but you have a steep learning curve, too.
“If you want more of a challenge, you can get rid of all the driving assists – which really help the more causal players – to create a more simulation-like experience.”
Just like the 2014 original, Ubisoft has created a scaled-down map of the United States – including forests, mountains and barren plains.
The map is so large, it takes 40 minutes to drive from one side to the other. Road trip, anyone?
There’s even a day and night cycle, meaning you’ll be able to have some truly epic races.
Thankfully, the little details have not been lost in the grand sense of scale – the team even visited the US to ensure different states’ unique characteristics were captured in-game.
“To recreate this world we spent about three weeks in the US,” said Beley.
“For the wildlife, for example, you will not see the same animal in Miami in New England, for example. You’ll see many types.”
Amazingly, Beley explained, The Crew 2 runs on the same engine as the original – only with substantial tweaks under the bonnet.
“It’s an evolution of the engine, but we would say it’s a revolution,” he said.
“The first time when we kicked off the project three years ago, I told the team I wanted all the different technologies in the game – such as weather systems and physics-based rendering.
“It was really important to focus on the graphics and bring these qualities to the game.
“Did you see the snow?” he asks?
(I nod and tell him I experienced a number of different micro climates during my 45-minute Crew 2 road trip).
“I think it’s one of first games to have the full recreation of the US, which can be affected by different weather systems. When you are in a plane and it is raining, you can go above the clouds and it’ll be sunny.”
To keep things interesting, there are four different hubs – each with their own theme and playstyle.
These range from off-road motocross events to pro-racing and drifting competitions (the latter of which takes some getting used to).
The world can be explored co-cooperatively, too – so if you’ve ever wanted to go on a virtual US road trip with a pal, this game is for you.
Finally, Ubisoft revealed you’ll have your own ‘pad’ in the game – complete with a harbour for boats.
Based in Miami (Ubisoft mentioned more locations will come along post launch), you’ll be able to customise your pad using XP as you progress through the game’s career system.
EA’s Need for Speed: Payback may have had its moments, but the focus on a linear, scripted narrative was definitely a wrong turn.
By giving freedom to the gamer, The Crew 2 will allow players to create their own adventures – wow moments unique to their game.
Time to get the crew together.
The Crew 2 is out now on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
CHECK OUT THE CREW 2 IN ACTION BELOW.