XCN: There are some really interesting Achievements in Crackdown. What’s your particular favourite?
Phil Wilson: It kind of feels like Achievements were made for Crackdown. We’re huge fans of the whole Achievement system and we’ve looked at how lots of games use them. Some give them out like sweeties while others do a pretty good job, and we really wanted to make our Achievements interesting and enjoyable for people to chase. A couple of good examples involve the Agency Tower. There is an Achievement for getting to the top of the Tower. It’s ridiculously high, like half-a-mile high. It’s the highest point in the game and when you get up there you’re rewarded with this amazing view and you can see all the cars and people far off in the distance. It’s a pretty unique experience. But then you need to find a way down! We added a little pool of water at the base of the Tower and if you can jump off and nail that pool you get another Achievement! But my particular favourite is getting the maximum number of headshots possible in a 60 second period. I can’t even remember what we called it in the end. But we have a great targeting system once you’ve powered up your firearms skill that lets you target enemies and flip to particular body parts. Taking down a bunch of guys running towards you with headshots is a very empowering experience…
XCN: Which other Xbox 360 games inspired the way you use Achievements in Crackdown?
Phil Wilson: I find that it’s quite rare that Achievements are done well in Xbox 360 games. You find that a lot of games give them away as you progress through the game and then they create a few ludicrous ‘find all of these and we’ll give you a couple of points’ Achievements. Those take forever and they’re not the most fun things in the world. Crackdown’s Achievements, on the other hand, are all fun challenges that exist in the game world already, outside of the main storyline. They make total sense within the Crackdown world and – importantly – they’re great fun.
XCN: So what’s your personal best for juggling a vehicle or enemy in the air?
Phil Wilson: I love juggling vehicles, but I can’t remember what my personal best is! Once you find the homing rocket launcher and you have the strength to throw a vehicle in the air you can have lots of fun with that. You can do the same with people as well, which is an interesting experience. But I like to get my vehicle airborne by driving it. As you improve your driving skill in the game the Agency vehicles evolve to reflect that skill, and when you’re a four-star Agent driving the Agency SUV it becomes this huge monster truck. You also get an ability bonus with the souped-up vehicles, and in the case of the Agency SUV you can suck down the suspension and release it to jump. That’s when you can do some ludicrously long jumps. There’s a stretch of water between the Los Muertos district and the Agency Island which is about half a mile wide, and using the Agency SUV and a moveable ramp truck you can clear that. In the same way that there were lots of Warthog videos when halo came out, we expect people to be uploading videos of them doing ridiculous stunts in Crackdown.
XCN: Do you have any other challenges for Crackdown players to take on?
Phil Wilson: In terms of challenges for the community, I’d be impressed if anyone can complete the game from start to finish in Psychotic difficulty level. It is possible, and everyone at Realtime Worlds seems to have done it, but it is a real challenge and it definitely changes the way you play the game so it’s quite a unique experience in itself. Another challenge is to try and take on the toughest boss in the game – the Shai-Gen – as soon as you start. It is possible but you’ll have to fight up floor after floor of the skyscraper, you’ll need to have ninja skills, and you’ll need to level-up as you go! One last challenge is for people who are still playing the demo: The skill-leveling is turned up in the demo, so I know it’s possible to get a four-star Agent before the demo times out. I’ll be well impressed if everyone manages to do that.
XCN: We’ve heard that there are only 900 GamerPoints available in the final game – what’s happened to the other 100?
Phil Wilson: Yeah, we’ve held back on the GamerPoints a little, we’ve only given out 900 with the main game. The other 100 are reserved for downloadable content. We’re working on that right now and we’ve got some fantastic ideas about how we’d like to augment the game and add new modes. I’d like to talk more about that now, but I can’t! How will the other 100 points be unlocked? We’re working on ways to distribute them evenly through the DLC, but we haven’t finalised that yet.
XCN: Will that DLC contain new maps, new characters, maybe female characters?
Phil Wilson: I’m on strict instructions not to say anything other then the DLC is definitely coming! I wish I could say more, but you’ll have to keep your eyes on CrackdownOnCrime.com for more info!
XCN: So what’s in the future for Realtime Worlds? Crackdown 2? Or a whole new game?
Phil Wilson: Well, it’s been a real hard slog making Crackdown. We’ve loved it, but it’s been very hard work. Still, it makes it all the sweeter that we’re so proud of the game we’ve created and we definitely don’t want to leave the Crackdown universe. We’re going to enjoy making the DLC in the meantime but in the future this team is definitely keen on a sequel and that would make perfect sense. As for Realtime Worlds in general, we’ve already announced APB which is a massively multiplayer game we’re developing with Webzen. There are also lots of other projects we’ll be announcing soon, but the Crackdown team really wants to get out there and make more of this gameworld we’ve created!