As opposed to being limited by technical constraints, as was initially suggested.
For Crackdown 3’s multiplayer Wrecking Mode, the player count is capped at 5v5 players—so ten players, in two teams of five players each. In an age where 100 players participate in one game, that can feel a bit lacking. A few months ago, speaking regarding the player count in the game’s multiplayer, a Crackdown 3 developer suggested that they were limited by technical constraints and resources, suggesting that the cloud powered multiplayer style they were going for may not have been able to feasibly support more players.
However, speaking in the latest issue (Issue 173) of Xbox: The Official Magazine, Joseph Staten, the lead on Crackdown 3, went back on that sentiment entirely, asserting that the 5v5 player count was a design decision, chosen for balance considerations, rather than being imposed on the development team by any technical constraints.
“That was a design-led decision, it wasn’t a technical constraint,” Staten said. “Five versus five gave us a good balance, especially with map size and overall chaos. Crackdown 3 is very fast; you’re hyper-agile, the world is blowing up all around you and if you are surrounded by 50 other players it just becomes much harder, I think, to feel powerful. This way, you can really stand out, take aggressive actions and be rewarded for them. You can feel like an Agent. So, really, it came down to design; there’s certainly the ability to have more or less players but as we’ve playtested it over the years we just gelled around team-based five versus five action.”
I feel like the truth is probably somewhere in the middle—yes, there were or are technical considerations that imposed the limit on player count, but once those became apparent, the whole game was designed around them. In the end, as long as Crackdown 3 plays well, no one will care about its player count, or why it ended up being chosen.
Crackdown 3 launches on February 15, for PC and Xbox One.