Anyone who’s spent time behind the wheel of a car in midtown knows that’s not the ideal setting for New York City street racing — even if it was legal to do so. Video games, on the other hand, are free to take some artistic license.
But “The Crew 2,” Ubisoft’s sequel to its 2014 across-the-country racing experience, isn’t limited to speeding around Manhattan on various modes of transportation. The game’s version of the Big Apple shows the outer boroughs some love, too.
“New York is not only one borough. It’s five,” the game’s narrative director Julien Charpentier told amNewYork. However, he warned the residents of one borough that theirs did not make it, while Jersey City did. “I don’t think we have Staten Island. Sorry, folks.”
Ivory Tower, the development team behind both games in the series, made several trips from its headquarters in Lyon, France to ensure their game’s version of New York felt authentic. Charpentier said they took thousands of photos, both of the iconic sights and the more mundane elements of the city that New Yorkers might take for granted such as street signs and steam stacks.
“Someone who never went to New York doesn’t necessarily know that there are vendors everywhere selling you hot dogs and pretzels,” Charpentier said. “When you come here, it’s really apparent.”
“The Crew 2,” which allows for a full online co-op experience, takes creative license when necessary to ensure the game plays as intended. New York is just one of the many American cities in the game, all of which can be traveled to via land or through the air — and some over the water. This version of the United States brings things a lot closer together, though, with the likes of Chicago and Washington, D.C., much closer to the Big Apple than in the real world.
The same is true on a smaller scale within New York City itself. Landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Unisphere are a few of the many included, but larger areas won’t be 100 percent accurate. The aim is a fun playground, not a digital duplicate.
“We will have the Financial District, but it’s not exactly the one you know. We’ve twisted a little bit to make sure we have short cuts and make sure that we have jumps, that type of thing.”
“The Crew 2,” featuring all sorts of licensed vehicles including cars, boats and planes, is scheduled for release June 29 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.