Crackdown producer on Halo 3 beta

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

Crackdown producer Phil Wilson got back to me with his take on the buzz about the Halo 3 beta being bundled with the Realtime Worlds game.

He initially deferred to his publisher, Microsoft:

On issues not directly related to the game I know that MS [Microsoft] PR prefers to handle them themselves, which is understandable.

Then he pointed to his post on his IGN developer blog in which he states:

There are two answers to this. The official Microsoft response is that this third opportunity to access the Halo 3 beta program needed to be tied to an imminent M-rated title, and Crackdown was conveniently appropriate. This is true, but from the developer point of view we were determined to be straight-shooters and add that launching a new franchise, particularly one that eschews so many visual and gameplay conventions, needs as much help to build awareness as possible.

And finally in a follow-up e-mail, wrote:

We expected some people to say, hey wait a minute — what is this? Why does Crackdown need the Halo 3 beta? Honestly, the game has proven that it stands on its own. As the response to the demo has indicated (over 1 million downloads), gamers are having a great time with Crackdown and are now just as excited to play through it as they are to access the Halo 3 beta. It was an obvious thing for Microsoft to do being that we are both M-rated action titles and the release timing of Crackdown fit the need. Crackdown is a completely new franchise and we don't expect everyone to be fully aware of it right out of the box. To include the Halo 3 beta, which we are excited to play as well, is a great way to get Crackdown into more hands.

Given the apparent success of the strategy with all of the attention it has generated, expect to see more scenarios like this in the future.