When we've played early versions of Crackdown the streets are filled with gang members. Will there be more in the finished game?
David Jones: A lot more. Loads more! The thing is, we've got so many pedestrians in the city that shootouts often spark off in really crowded areas. That's where some of the choice in the game comes in. If you want to be a good agent you can try and lure the gang members away from the civilians and reduce your collateral damage. But if you're a rogue agent you can just wade in there and shoot everything that moves! We're spending a lot of our processing power on this. We want thousands of people milling around the city. We want hundreds of vehicles. In the whole city we're going to have hundreds of thousands of people. It's going to be a great place to have fun.
How will civilians react to the carnage?
David Jones: Civilians will duck and scream and run away. The gangsters, however, will stick around and start shooting. A good tactic is to fire off some warning shots to clear an area of civilians before you get into a firefight. You don't really want to kill innocent people...
Will you be able to destroy buildings in the city?
David Jones: Not the whole building. We've got bits like satellite dishes and signs that can be blown off, but you can't demolish the whole thing. Maybe next generation - you'll be able to destroy the whole city!
Driving plays an important part in Crackdown, and your driving skill dictates the kind of cars you can drive. How does that work?
David Jones: Every car adapts to your driving skill. As you get into them they will morph to match your level and offer you additional abilities. Take the Agency SUV for example. It's great for offroad driving - and we have lots of specially designed offroad areas as well as the urban streets - and once you get to around level 5 it's designed purely for going over things. If there's a lot of debris you can just roll over it, or you can even drive straight over other moving cars. Plus, it's got some amazing aftertouch in the air, so you can perform some ridiculous stunts.
Will there be lots of hidden missions and Achievements like we've seen in the GTA series?
David Jones: Yeah, there'll be loads of stuff. Some games give you an Achievement for completing a level, but that's dull. Our Achievements are all fun things like getting to the top of the Agency building, which is half a mile high. Every thing you see you can climb and get to the top of. A lot of the Kingpins live up in the high parts of the city too, so you'll need to conquer your fear of heights to complete the game as well as unlock Achievements!
Another example is picking up a car, throwing it into the air, then using the rocket launcher to juggle it in the air for as long as possible. That goes for people too. And once you've kept a car or a person in the air for longer than twenty seconds we'll start a timer and rank your best time or greatest height on an Xbox Live leaderboard. Those are fun Achievements - the kinds of things you can practice for hours!
If reaching high areas is an Achievement does Crackdown have airborne vehicles?
David Jones: No. We decided they'd detract from reaching the tops of the game's highest buildings, so we didn't put them in.