The open world is your playground in ‘The Crew 2,’ and we have all the details

'The Crew 2' has a new release window — here's what we know about the game

Ubisoft’s 2014 racing sim The Crew was a mixed bag. We appreciated the seamless, large, and varied open world, but its overdone attempt at a crime plot felt fell far short of stellar. The Crew‘s biggest problem, though, was that it frequently had server issues, and as an online game, that made it hard to really become immersed in its world.

At E3 2017, Ubisoft gave us our first look at The Crew 2, a game that retains the positive aspects of the original, while shaking things up in bombastic ways. The Crew 2 is on track to launch in 2018 on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Here’s everything we know so far.

Much more than street racing

The Crew featured street racing, and street racing only, but The Crew 2 features just about every motorized vehicle you can imagine.

Besides super-powered sport cars, you can race with speed boats, jet boats, stunt planes, dirt bikes, buggies, monster trucks, police choppers, Indy cars, and judging by the sheer diversity of the vehicles in play, probably many more types that have yet to be revealed. While the addition of boats and planes is the standout feature, racing on land has also been expanded. In addition to open tracks, The Crew 2 will have enclosed raceways.

In The Crew, players could tune and customize their rides. That feature returns, and presumably extends to all classes of vehicles.

Seamless, sprawling open world

The Crew 2 is set in a massive scaled replica of the United States dubbed Motornation. Like the original, the world is completely open, and features no load times from environment to environment. So far, we’ve seen New York City, Los Angeles, the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, and a stretch along the Mississippi River.

The Crew 2 is all about giving players the means to explore the world as they wish

There are four central hubs located across the map — Street Racing HQ, Freestyle HQ, Pro Racing HQ, and Off Road HQ. We know the Street Racing HQ will be located in Los Angeles. Your job, should you choose to take it on, will be to rise to the top of the ranks as a racer in each of the four categories.

While a story will be told across the open world, it’s quite the jump from the first game. From what’s been shown so far, it seems as if the plot will simply ask you to become the best racer you can be. While the lack of a deep narrative may disappoint some, The Crew 2 is all about giving players the means to explore the world as they wish — hence, the wacky array of vehicles at your disposal.

Switch rides instantly

With a multitude of travel options, you may be wondering how exactly traditional cars fit in with boats, planes, and more. Well, in freestyle races, you can switch between boats, planes, and cars midrace. And outside the campaign, players can roam around as they please, switching vehicles instantly.

That means that you could be driving down a busy New York street in a Porsche, only to swap to a stunt plane the next second. The car will disappear, and the plane will take its place. Yes, a plane can spawn in the middle of street. When driving across a bridge, you can make a speed boat appear on the road, steering it toward a big splashdown into the sea.

If this all sounds zany and a bit outlandish, that’s because The Crew 2 is exactly that, and the possibilities afforded by this free-roaming system of travel make it one of the more interesting racing games in some time.

Surpass your friends

As an open world online game, The Crew emphasized a community experience and competition. The Crew 2 will follow in its footsteps, as all of your accomplishments across the open world will be tracked and displayed to other online racers. When you do something cool, it will become a new marked challenge for other players, and vice versa. While we don’t know the specifics at this point, The Crew 2 appears to be an always online game as well, which emphasizes a connected and constantly evolving world.

You can earn cars by playing the original

Before the game launches, you have the opportunity to earn and unlock 18 vehicles by linking up the original game with the The Crew Rewards Program. If you played the original even once, you will receive the Ferrari 458 automatically, but if you complete certain actions in The Crew before The Crew 2 launches, you will secure many more vehicles.

Extended gameplay looks

Along with the reveal trailer, Ubisoft showed off 10 minutes of gameplay during its press conference.

Additionally, Sony sat down with Ubisoft developers in an E3 2017 featurette to discuss the The Crew 2, and show off a fair amount of gameplay.

When can you enter Motornation?

The Crew 2 launches for PS4, Xbox One, and PC in mid-to-late 2018. When it was revealed, Ubisoft had announced the game would launch on March 16, 2018. In December, 2017, the publisher said it would push back the game’s release to some time during the first half of its 2018-2019 fiscal year. Ubisoft’s fiscal year runs from April 1 through March 31 the following year, so expect to play The Crew 2 sometime between April 1, 2018 and September, 30, 2018.

You can sign up for a chance to participate in a beta prior to launch here.

Update: Revised launch date