With CrimeCraft, Vogster has a tough battle to fight against player perceptions. While this game has all the hallmarks of an MMO in terms of missions, progressions, open areas, progression, etc., they hesitate to call it an MMO. Players hear MMO and make some pretty core assumptions, and it’s a battle any game that hopes to challenge them must face.
CrimeCraft is a 3rd person MMO shooter set just a few years in the future, after the world institutions have broken down and the world descended into a bit of chaos. Players dig into this world of chaos, run missions, shoot people and generally embark in some madness.
A core rule in the development of CrimeCraft was to only allow players to use technology that really exists. It’s in the future, but this is by no means a sci-fi game. Admittedly, some of the stuff is far fetched, but all of it is at least possible – if not practical – right now. For example, the stealth suits work a lot like those ones from magazines that the military tests. That was about as far out on the sci-fi limb as they seemed to go.
It creates a believable world that people can really sink into.
One of the MMO conventions they’ve shattered is the idea that a level one cannot compete with a level 50. In their game, increased level gives some bonuses and access to more stuff, but as they told us at the show, a shot to the head from the sniper rifle kills no matter what level the shooter is.
The game itself is centered around guilds, or as they call them gangs. They’ve set it up intentionally to promote large social groups that battle against each other on the fringes of the city. Given the style of the game, it’s a logical place to go.
Since anyone, regardless of level, can contribute right off the bat, it’s easier to sink into these gangs and get involved in the community.
For those who like a more traditional MMO element, crafting should be pretty familiar. They told us that they had no urge to reinvent the wheel here. It’s a pretty basic recipe system. Track down the components and build it.
And while the game is generally focused on gang vs. gang combat, there are plenty of missions and jobs for players to undertake.
Jobs are the simple “meat and potatoes” quests that send people off on very specific goals. Kill ten of these, etc.
Missions, by contrast, have a built in narrative and advance the in-game story. They have clearly delineated between the two types. So if someone just wants to get something done, a job is the way to go. If they want to sink into something deeper, grab a mission.
One really cool innovation, which caters perfectly a guild driven, social MMO, is their Newspaper system. The developers of the game will follow the events within the game and every so often put out a new edition of the in-game newspaper, available to players within the world. Inside will be stories, professionally written by the team, about the events in the game world.
This means that if one gang triumphs over another, expect to see a story and some specific references to players. It’s an interesting approach that has not been tried to any degree since Wish, and never in a launched game. The idea is to promote player achievements. There is nothing more likely to keep a player in a game than a certain dose of actual fame among the community. A newspaper is a perfect vehicle to promote that.
CrimeCraft is currently in Closed Beta. The Open Beta is due in August and the full version will be released on August 25th. THQ publishes CrimeCraft.