The decision to announce at E3 2014 — four years before the game launches at last on Xbox One — is something Shannon Loftis, general manager for Microsoft Studios Publishing, said she regrets in hindsight.
“I think we probably announcedCrackdown too early,” Loftis told Polygon during a Gamescom interview in Cologne, Germany, this week.
Crackdown 3 contains three distinct game modes, Loftis explained, and the three studios working on the title — Reagent Games, Sumo Digital and Cloudgine — needed more time to push the quality bar higher. The game was most recently delayed to a 2018 launch last week, but that was only the latest setback to hit the title, originally promised for the second half of 2016.
Delaying Crackdown 3, Loftis said, was the result of the Xbox publishing team realizing the game needed to be a better experience rather than just making it out the door on time.
“We definitely underestimated the challenge of making sure the quality bar of all three of those modes was high and it delivers on what we need to deliver on,” she said. “So we had to take the extra time, [and] make sure that we’re delivering the game the Crackdown fans want. It was a super hard decision to do that, and it was made harder because we announced the game.”
This reflection was part of Xbox’s changing strategy with game announcements, Loftis said. While fans may not see as many exclusive titles now — though Loftis points out there are four coming to Xbox One (and Windows 10) for the holiday — there are more on the way.
“I think in the past we have made the mistake of announcing some exclusives a little bit too early,” she said. “We’re trying to learn from that mistake and do better, so we have a bit that’s in development now that we’re not talking about. We’re in this for the long haul, and we wanna make sure that not just in the spring of 2018, but in the summer, and in the fall, and the spring of 2019 that we’ll have great, unique, fun experiences for Xbox gamers.”
Crackdown 3 is due out next year for Xbox One and Windows PC.