The Crew's closed beta will be arriving a little earlier than its original July 23rd deploy date, perhaps due to opportune driving conditions, or clement weather - we just don't know. We do know, however, that the beta will now be waiting outside your house, keys in hand on July 21st, giving you a whole working week of slightly buggy open world driving fun before you have to take it back to the rental place. If you haven't signed up yet, you can still do that here, but be warned: you will need a uPlay account. You'll find details of the closed beta after the break.
The Crew, shown today at Ubisoft's E3 press conference, is looking to steer racing toward a hybrid between single-player, cooperative, and competitive play in an online persistent world. Or, in other words, an open world MMO-type racing game, developed by Ubisoft Reflections and Ivory Tower.
Driver: San Francisco's multiplayer modes look a bit like Mario Kart, if Mario had the ability to eject his soul from his body mid-race, float several miles above the Mushroom Kingdom and then dive inside the head of any Kart driver in the world. Other powers let you spawn a truck in the middle of the road, or change the car you're driving into a better one from your garage. If wizards existed, this is how they would race.
We recently learned that Driver: San Francisco will require a permanent internet connection to work, even in the single player game. It marks the return of Ubisoft's always-online DRM system that has previously been used with Assassin's Creed 2, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Settlers 7. Ubisoft told us that the system "is a success," and has lowered piracy rates.
You know what the real problem with racing games is? Not enough ghosts. Driver: San Francisco realises this, and has put Excorcist style bodily possession in their game. The footage above shows the multiplayer mode in action, which lets you dive out of your car at will, and possess other drivers nearby. As far as I can tell, there is absolutely no explanation for this, beyond the fact that the character you play as, John Tanner, is in a coma, and as we all know, comas are magic.
The car-swapping power is called 'Shifting,' but it's a limited resource, you have to generate power by completing drifts and jumps before you can hitch a ride in someone else's mind. The game boasts a big, open world recreation of San Francisco, and, for the first time, a collection of more than a hundred licensed vehicles. The game's due out at the end of August this year. Check out the official Driver: San Francisco site for more information.