gamescom 2015

Microsoft’s Biggest Challenge For Making Crackdown's Multiplayer Destruction Work Is Your ISP

by Mike Futter on Aug 11, 2015 at 03:22 AM

Since the Xbox One was announced, we’ve been hearing about the power of the cloud. In the upcoming Crackdown from Reagent Games, it manifests as completely destructible environments in multiplayer.

Jeff Cork destroyed a cloud city at Gamescom (sorry, Lando), and saw how the game scales to take advantage of more servers as needed. However, executing 100 percent destructibility in a multiplayer environment has a number of challenges. Chief among them is your internet provider, as Microsoft can't account for what happens on the "last mile" (the final leg of data transmissions as it enters your home).

“We can ensure that what leaves the data center is in a particular state, but not what happens between then and when it gets to people’s houses,” says Microsoft Studios global publishing general manager Shannon Loftis. “There’s code on the client side that ensures that all the instances stay synced and that you’re seeing what I see and that it all runs smoothly.

When you’re cruising around the city and blowing up buildings, you want to be able to warn your friends to watch out for falling debris. Making sure you can all gawk at the same catastrophe is going to be crucial for making Crackdown feel right with friends.

You can read Jeff’s preview for more information. You can also read more from our chat with Shannon Loftis, as she discusses bringing first-party titles to Microsoft’s Game Preview program

Update: Game director Dave Jones told us that the scale of destruction and cloud server support are for multiplayer only. Single-player will feature destruction, but not on that scale. The original story mentioned cloud support for single-player and has been corrected.