Implementing the cloud computing performance into Crackdown 3’s Wrecking Zone PvP mode wasn’t an easy task.
„What we’re doing in Wrecking Zone is we’re running Havok in Azure [servers]. We’re spinning up the equivalent of 12 Xbox Ones, that level of cloud compute, to do this lockstep full destruction. What this means is that if you’re on a day one Xbox One from four years ago, or a brand new Xbox One X, that experience of destruction will be the same on all platforms. An Xbox One X will be rendering it in 4K and an Xbox One will be in 1080p or what have you, but a destructive chunk is a destructive chunk regardless of the platform. It’s really nice. It means that even if I have an older piece of hardware, I’m not getting a downgraded Wrecking Zone experience,” Joe Staten, the creative director of Microsoft Studios, told VentureBeat in an interview. In short, we’ll be getting cloud-based performance when it comes to destruction.
Staten added that the 5v5 limit (ten players per match) was a design decision – Wrecking Zone has no such technical limitation, but the costs of the Azure servers are high, and Microsoft had to find a solution to not lose money.
He also revealed why it took so long for Crackdown 3‘s multiplayer to get off the starting line: „[Cloud destruction] took longer than we thought to figure out. Certainly from a technical point of view, but even after we wrapped our heads around that problem, figuring out what was truly fun — simple lessons we learned, like player count or session length or game rules. All of these things require careful testing. So much about multiplayer gameplay, arena PvP type multiplayer is predictability of cover. […] Once you start to destroy all geometry in the arena, players can no longer rely on that fundamental rule of gameplay. We had to iterate, make mistakes, rebuild, and think about gameplay in a different direction.”
Crackdown 3, which was announced at E3 2014, will finally launch on February 15 on Xbox One and Windows 10. The first video below shows Wrecking Zone, and the second one offers gameplay from the single-player campaign.