In The Crew 2’s open-world re-creation of the U.S., every street is a racetrack, every river is a playground for speedboats, and every city skyline is a giant aerobatics course. PS4 players can jump in for free this weekend, from December 5 until December 8, and use The Crew 2’s cars, planes, and watercraft to explore and compete across every inch of its gigantic scale model of the country. And if you want to keep tearing up The Crew 2’s roads after the free weekend is over, you can grab the Deluxe Edition of the game for up to 70% off at PlayStation Store from now through December 12.
The free weekend is also a chance to check out the content added in the recent Blazing Shots update, including new rides, new vanity items (including all-new underglow effects), and new weekly LIVE Summits, special nine-event PvE challenges that invite players to test their mettle and carve out a place on the leaderboards. Blazing Shots is the fourth major free update to come to The Crew 2, following Gator Rush, which introduced hovercrafts; Demolition Derby, which added its namesake event and destructible cars; and Hot Shots, which first introduced the LIVE Summits.
To find out more about how updates like Blazing Shots take shape, we spoke with Player Experience Director Julien Hummer about how the developers plan in-game events and choose new vehicles, and what’s ahead for The Crew 2.
Blazing Shots is the fourth in a series of free updates for The Crew 2 – how does the team plan these updates?
Our main objective is to update the game focusing on three pillars: polish, renew, and densify. For example, with Blazing Shots, we delivered new Monster Truck handling (polish); added new events every week and new LIVE Summits (densify); and of course, new vehicles and new vanity items (renew) to let our players shine all across the U.S.
Why is it important to have these free updates for a game like The Crew 2?
As The Crew 2 is an online, social, connected world, all of our updates to date have been free, in order to not split our community or gate our content. We want our players to continue to invest themselves in our world, but with new and different objectives. Through this kind of free update, our gearheads can unlock new content, vehicles, vanity items, and compete in new events, as well as discover new ways to enjoy The Crew 2.
Blazing Shots includes 12 new vehicles, starting with the Elite Bundle 3, which includes the 2008 Citroën GT and the 2003 Porsche Carrera GT, as well as a new touring car, the 2011 Ferrari 599XX EVO. The 2016 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, is now available through the in-game shop – and there’s much more on the way. How do you determine which vehicles make it into an update?
It’s a combination of multiple factors, so it takes a lot of time and effort from many stakeholders. First, each vehicle has to fit into our game experience. So the creative team, the car lovers within the studio, the 3C (control, camera, and character) team, the marketing team, and our creative director are discussing this topic months ahead, to see what type of vehicle category would benefit from being reinforced or diversified to provide the best experience to our players.
The community team is also very present on our different social channels to listen to players’ wishes and pass on their suggestions to both the creative and the vehicle teams. During the whole process, we make sure that the selected vehicles produced are interesting models or brands for our players, add variety to the game, and are fun to play with.
What actually goes into bringing new cars into the game? Do you receive models from the manufacturers? Do you get to see them in person, take pictures?
Yes, the vehicle team works closely with different manufacturers to select the cars, model them in the best way, and integrate them into the game. In certain cases, the team travels directly to the manufacturer’s headquarters, or to events like the Mondial Paris Motor Show or the Geneva International Motor Show, to see the cars in real life, take photos, gather any important information, and meet the teams in charge of their creation. Sometimes, they also travel to a private track to capture the engine sound with an audio team. They also get to access other secrets that we can’t reveal, out of respect for our partners.
Our team is truly passionate about all things driving, so this is really more than just a job for them. We also have original creations; helicopters, boats, jet sprints, demolition derby cars, and alpha grand prix, to name a few. In those cases, we start from scratch with a concept artist. We test the concept with selected players at the studio, and we gather their feedback and suggestions before the production of the vehicle.
In terms of making new vehicles playable in The Crew 2, what does the development team do to make sure they’re fun to drive and also balanced for races? How much tweaking of finer details happens?
Our 3C team is in charge of this within the studio. As UX director, I’m closely working with them to deliver an accessible and fun experience for all vehicles. How? With prototypes, playtests, community surveys, and lots of iteration. Even after launch, we have run different surveys on vehicle handling, in fact, we are currently very interested in what our players think about the latest handling iteration in The Crew 2 Blazing Shots update. Our main objective is always to find the perfect balance between fun and realism.
Blazing Shots isn’t just about new vehicles, but new events as well. In fact, there will be 17 new weekly events, including a LIVE Summit inspired by Ghost Recon. How does the planning for these events start?
When we prepared the third batch of LIVE Summits, we wanted to improve the weekly engagement with our players. Our objective was to coordinate with all internal teams to make sure the content is consistent from a player perspective, and we always take time to package everything with this objective in mind. We start with a theme: Water, Mountains, Dirt, etc., and then we try to make everything consistent with that: events, colors, vanities, rewards and more.
What’s the ultimate goal with the LIVE Summits? What do you want players to get out of them?
The LIVE Summit is a weekly PvE competition. With this kind of event, we wanted to present our players with new ways to compete each week, and offer new possibilities to unlock in-game content. All the Platinum rewards are exclusive, giving the players who unlock them serious bragging rights.
How do you determine their rewards?
The rewards unlockable through the LIVE Summits are linked to the mood of the event. For example, during the Ghost Road LIVE Summit, one of our first thematic LIVE Summits, all the rewards were camo style: the F-150 RAPTOR RACE TRUCK Ghost Recon Edition, smoke effects, tires, etc. Each member of the team is a gaming or car fan (sometimes both), and passion is always a good starting point to imagine new content to add to the game. We really hope the community will also enjoy these kinds of rewards!
On top of all of that, new vanity items are also included in Blazing Shots. Where do you even start in determining what to include, and what’s the process like?
We started to work on underglows months ago, during a workshop with some of our most engaged players. This feature is probably one of the most desired by our customization lovers, and we really wanted to give this new vanity category the attention it deserves. Since Blazing Shots released on November 13, we have been adding new vanity items each week.
What are some of the favorite vanity items from members of the team?
The studio itself is full of different types of players who love all sorts of vanity items. Depending on the member of the team, you will hear different feedback, but the most-appreciated accessories are definitely the underglows and tires. These two categories are the perfect types of customization elements for creativity to meet realism. But the French tire is my personal favorite.
Beyond Blazing Shots, what can The Crew 2 fans look forward to in the future?
The format we have adopted with Blazing Shots is to add new content to the game on a regular basis over several months. We recap all important new additions on our channels on a weekly, monthly, and long-term basis; this includes weekly LIVE Summits, community content, monthly infographics showing all new upcoming content, and more.
We can’t wait to share all the details with our players, so make sure to follow our channels to stay up to speed!