The unveiling of Ubisoft's ambitious open world driving game The Crew was one of the undisputed highlights of E3 for racing game fans, principally because it's one of few next generation racing games that offers true innovation with its daringly diverse open world map covering the whole of the USA in staggering detail that has the potential to revolutionise the genre for the next generation.
Coupled with the fact it's being co-developed by the same people that brought us the original Test Drive: Unlimited and Drive: San Francisco, i.e. two of the most innovative and downright sublime open world driving games of this generation, it's safe to say that we've been itching to take it for a spin and find out if it lives up to its lofty ambitions.
To find out, Alan jetted off to Germany to attend this year's Gamescom conference where The Crew was proudly on display for us to get our very first hands-on.
In the first of a series of direct-feed gameplay videos, we embark on a high speed race through night time NYC, before stopping off at Miami for a quick multiplayer session:
Next up, we get a guided tour of The Crew's comprehensive customisation and iPad compatibility via the bespoke companion app, which allows you to view your car collection and customise them on the iPad before uploading them in-game. While we're told that the customisation will be more limited in the companion app, it's an interesting insight into how console games will sync with tablets in the future:
Finally, we passed the controller to another player so we could record their exploratory run through Las Vegas, rekindling fond memories of exploring Test Drive: Unlimited's vast open world:
We'll be giving our impressions from our playthrough soon, but it's safe to say that we were left very impressed by The Crew considering its relatively early stage of development – ii's not due out until early next year, but the sheer magnitute of the environment is awe-inspiring, and the potential for multiplayer in this expansive driving playground is enticing indeed.