The Crew recently celebrated a major milestone, with 5 million players hitting the roads of the game’s sprawling, open-world take on the United States. We recently had a chance to speak with Stéphane “Fergus” Beley, The Crew’s game director, to learn more about the game’s longevity and how its community has been an important part of its evolution since the beginning.
What do you attribute The Crew’s longevity to?
Stéphane Beley: Very early on in its conception, we envisioned The Crew as a live title that would grow with its audience. Connecting with our community has been at the forefront of our game development philosophy since day one, and our goal was always to keep the experience fresh by adding new content regularly.
We’ve been blessed with a very passionate and engaged community that keeps asking for more, and we’’ve always done our best to answer those requests. Reaching this 5 million players milestone is humbling, and a great reminder that paying close attention to your community’s needs pays off.
How has the community influenced different aspects of the game?
SB: Player feedback was always something we wanted to incorporate in the game’s development. It started during beta phases before the launch in 2014 with several tweaks and adjustments, like text and voice chat along with vehicle behavior. Some of the game modes and features, like the league system, developed after the launch, and even inspired some of the content brought with our expansion, The Crew Wild Run.
What’s been the biggest surprise for the team since the release of the game in terms of what the community has been doing?
SB: One of the biggest surprises for the team and I was how much people would spend time roaming the open world. Don’t get me wrong, we knew the open world would be a huge part of the experience in The Crew. We designed it with that goal in mind. But we didn’t expect it to be so prevalent in most players’ playtime. It’s like everybody can’t get enough of those free-drive moments where they just wander without constraints. It’s also a great testament to how much a well-designed open world can offer in terms of player experience.
Another aspect that surprised me on a more personal note is the diverse profile of our players. I was lucky enough to meet many of them across multiple events and shows, and it felt exhilarating to see kids having a blast playing with their parents. Having kids myself, this is something I can definitely relate to.
Does the success of The Crew show that people are willing to play games for longer periods of time than they have previously?
SB: Definitely, and it shows how much players are willing to invest in a game if they feel like their voice is heard. As the industry leans more and more toward always online games, like we’ve seen with multiple titles across all sorts of genres in the last few years. It’s important for us to exemplify how much more compelling an experience can be when a game evolves with its players.
For more information on The Crew, check out our previous coverage: