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Microsoft on Crackdown 3 delay: We want it to ‘sit next to Halo, Gears’

Microsoft is investing big in Xbox, and the delayed Crackdown 3 may reveal what that means for the publisher

Chris Plante co-founded Polygon in 2012 as editor-at-large and is now editor-in-chief. He also created and occasionally teaches NYU’s Introduction to Games Journalism course.

Microsoft’s decision to delay Crackdown 3 leaves the publisher with a relatively slim collection of exclusives for this holiday season. So why did the project get delayed yet again? And what can it tell us about Microsoft’s new strategy?

Booty’s answer speaks to Microsoft’s big investment, from the investment of time and money in games to the acquisition and formation of entire studios.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Polygon: It feels as though some games for Xbox have been released maybe a little early or maybe a little rougher than normal.

Matt Booty: Yeah.

Polygon: ... and this delay seems from the outside like maybe a change. Maybe more investment is going into things. Things are getting more time, even if it hurts, because I’m sure you would love to have Crackdown 3 ready for the holiday. I’m curious, is that how you are seeing. How much can we read into this delay in terms of the direction Microsoft is heading in the future?

Matt Booty: Yeah. Couple layers on that one. For the first, I’ll go back to what I was talking about: support from the company. We have a lot of support from Microsoft. We want to grow, we want to expand, but part of that is we have to make games that people are proud to make. We have to make games that people love to play. Some games just need more time, and we want to get it right.

Second part is that we really want to make games that have the opportunity to become a franchise that can sit next to Halo, sit next to Gears. Now, that doesn’t mean that we want everyone of our studios to be an IP factory and that they all have to make sequels. That’s not at all what I’m saying. What I’m saying is we want a game to have the potential to give birth to a world that could expand, create characters that could have multiple iterations. We want that depth and that richness that could go on and do other things. We’ve just got to make sure that we give our games enough time to do that.

When I took this role in January, Phil [Spencer, executive vice president of gaming at Microsoft] very graciously asked me to step into this leadership role, and I’m very privileged to work with all of our studio heads from Helen Chiang, who runs Minecraft, to Craig Duncan, who leads Rare. One of the things we really oriented around is, let’s make sure that we are building games that people are proud to share and let’s make sure we’re building games that people love to play. I think we got to stick to that. It’s going to work out good for the players and it’ll work out well for us.

Polygon: Just for clarity then, it sounds like what you’re saying is this ... The new VP role for Phil and obviously the financial investment from Microsoft speaks to why this game is being delayed. This represents a new level of investment with the intention to get something like Crackdown to be an IP on the level of Gears.

Matt Booty: Yeah, and what I’ll say there is we feel supported to do the right thing.

Polygon: Right. So with the past two years of Crackdown 3 demos we’ve seen the campaign mode. But, we haven’t seen the online destruction mode stuff. Is that still part of the game or has focus been shifted to the single-player campaign?

Matt Booty: It is still part of it. We’re not showing a lot of details about that here. We’ll have more to show as the year goes on.

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