Have you ever had a crush on someone, only to have your friend (or former friend) move in and take him or her right from underneath you? That's kind of what happened to Crackdown developer Realtime Worlds when Microsoft chose Ruffian Games to develop Crackdown 2.
Now what if you had to live in the same house with the person that stole your crush? With former Realtime World developers on the Ruffian team, and both development houses in the same town in Scotland.
Q: And do you get on with Ruffian okay?
David Jones: Yeah, it's just one of those awkward moments. In terms of the franchise, as always - as with anything we've created - we're always keen to see it do great things. This is like a bump in the road... was there really no way it could have been done by one of the studios Microsoft shut down...?
So why did Microsoft choose one over the other? And why didn't Realtime Worlds offer up to develop Crackdown too when it had the chance? The reason is quite simple. Realtime Worlds DID offer to create a sequel right before the release of the original, but Microsoft "drug its feet" and never committed, so Realtime went on to work on the upcoming MMO APB.
Q: One of the titles announced at E3 was Crackdown 2 - what are your thoughts on that game being developed by Ruffian?
David Jones: Well, obviously we created the original, and you want to be associated with success, so we want to see it go on and do great things. It has such a strong following now, but it was one of those products that came out of nowhere, and I think that was indicative of some of the problems in the industry before - Microsoft didn't quite know what it was, didn't quite know how to market it. It was one of those sandbox games, and I think the success caught Microsoft by surprise a little bit.
We were always ready to start work on the sequel, and get cracking, but one of the big problems facing developers is that you have to know what you're working on about four or five months before your project ends - so at that point we tried to have a discussion, get things kicked off... but in the end we decided to plough ahead with APB.
The bottom line is that what we thought would happen is that a sequel would be done by a studio somewhere... maybe one of the internal studios, or others that they've worked with, and that would be the way it went forward.
I think it was unfortunate that it had to be with a start-up in Dundee... it is challenging to get enough developers in one region as it is, so that was the only little big of negativity to the story.
Maybe the two development houses can get together for some good ol fashioned co-op gaming in Crackdown 2. Or...maybe they can kill each other in APB.