The next Crackdown will not hit PC and Xbox One until 2018. Microsoft has delayed its open-world action shooter to next year to ensure it can produce a high-quality single-player and multiplayer product. That’s a bummer for Crackdown fans who have waited since the original (the sequel was disappointing) for a worthy successor. But by delaying Crackdown, Microsoft will have almost no major games debuting this holiday season.
Crackdown 3 is now due out in the Spring. Microsoft Studios Publishing boss Shannon Loftis confirmed in a tweet, as well as an interview with Polygon, that Microsoft is concerned about getting the game right.
Crackdown 3:campaign, coop, & Wrecking Zone is moving to spring 18 so we can make sure we deliver all the awesome that Crackdown fans want. https://t.co/dwWPJ25NXq
— Shannon Loftis (@shannonloftis) August 16, 2017
“We’re very excited about Crackdown 3, and so are many fans, and so it’s a difficult call to move the release date,” Loftis explained in a note to Polygon. “However, we want to make sure to deliver the right game, with the right quality, and at the right time.”
Crackdown 3 was originally supposed to launch November 7 on Windows and Xbox One alongside Microsoft’s new Xbox One X console. But with Microsoft shifting Crackdown into 2018, the publisher now only has a handful of games and really only one potential blockbuster.
On October 3, Microsoft will launch Forza Motorsport 7 on PC and Xbox One … and that’s it, in terms of big-budget games from the publisher. Beyond that, the only other standout Microsoft releases are smaller downloadable indie games that the company is distributing. Those include the classic-animation platformer Cuphead on September 29 and the 3D platformer Super Lucky’s Tale.
Compare that to other publishers. Activision will have both Call of Duty: WWII and Destiny 2. Electronic Arts has Madden, FIFA, Need for Speed: Payback, and Star Wars: Battlefront II. Bethesda is launching Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and The Evil Within 2. Nintendo will have Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, Metroid: Samus Returns, Super Mario Odyssey, Fire Emblem: Warriors, the updated Pokkén Tournament DX. Sony has Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Knack 2, and Gran Turismo Sport.
You might look at Sony’s list and say that is comparable to Microsoft. But the Xbox platform hasn’t had many remarkable releases so far this year. Halo Wars 2 hit in February to some praise from critics but mostly silence from fans … and then, once again, that’s it. The publisher also launched a remaster of original Xbox platformer Voodoo Vince and a re-release of Phantom Dust. And this is Microsoft Studios’ output for the year.
Sony, meanwhile, launched Horizon: Zero Dawn, Farpoint, Gravity Rush 2, Nioh, MLB The Show 17, and the updated Wipeout Omega Collection. For download-only games, the company had Matterfall, Parappa the Rapper Remastered, Patapon Remastered, Locoroco Remastered, and … Drawn to Death (so not all winners).
So what is Microsoft doing? Where are all of its games? 2018 could end up better off with Rare’s online pirate simulator Sea of Thieves, the zombie-apocalypse management sim State of Decay 2, and now Crackdown 3. But 2017 is going to go down as the lightest year yet in terms of Microsoft-published releases for Xbox One. And the company never produced so few games during the active years of the Xbox 360.
The timing is funny, however. Microsoft is getting better about supporting games on PC, but of course it comes at a time when it is shipping almost no games at all.