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The Crew Motorfest: Ubisoft tells us what’s coming in year two

Plus: how likely we are to see our favourite (and most obscure) cars

Published: 26 Jun 2024

There aren’t many festivals we’d want to inhabit year-round. There’s only so many times we can hand over £19 for a styrofoam box of falafel or do our best to preserve our basic human dignity with a wet wipe before our internal homing beacons kick in. The Crew Motorfest, on the other hand, has been an absolute pleasure to inhabit since last September. And as we learn after a catch-up with content director Julien Hummer, year two of festival life in Hawaii will be just as fulfilling.

Developer Ubisoft Ivory Tower recently announced that a new PvE mode called 'Chase Squad' will be arriving this autumn, along with a whole new island - Maui will join O’ahu, expanding the total real estate considerably and - whisper it - we might even get to drive Grand Races that transition from one island to another.

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“We’re delivering this expansion without any loading,” says Hummer. “So you can drive from O’ahu to Maui. It's connected with a bridge. You can fly towards Maui. You can use a boat or drive with your car, your bike, whatever you want. It's connected.”

Hummer doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of how this new space will be used, but mentions new biomes and weather there that’ll broaden the palette beyond O’ahu’s tropical idylls. And given what a huge part of the experience Grand Races turned out to be, we’ve got everything crossed that we’ll see epic pan-island routes in that mode.

It seems obvious that a 28-player multicategory free-for-all across the world map would be a winner now, but before launch nobody saw Grand Races’ incredible popularity coming, developers included.

“To be totally honest it was a little surprising for a lot of people internally, because on the PvP side we have data showing that it’s more successful than what we did previously [with The Crew 1&2]. With all the feedback… we knew that we were doing something that was refreshing.”

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The year one roadmap was planned out internally before anyone laid rubber down on the O’ahu tarmac at launch, but year two offers the studio a chance to respond to the bits we all engaged with the most – more content for the best bits, in simple terms.

This being triple-A development in 2024, it’s never quite as simple as chucking some good ideas into a live service game on a whim, but Hummer does reflect that it’s important to pay attention to the way the community wants to play.

“I would say that the structure of our studio is to be reactive on the content we are developing with feedback from the players, from the community.”

Onto the true order of the day, though: haranguing Hummer about including some rather specific vehicles which don’t currently appear. Starting – as if you even need ask – with the Alfa Romeo SZ, a madcap work of art via the medium of fibreglass and spare parts from an Alfa 75. On a scale of one to ten, how likely are we to see it added to Motorfest?

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“The first good news is that finally you are able to enjoy Alfa Romeo cars in Motorfest.” (A recent update added the manufacturer to the roster.)

“What I can say is, we have other Alfa Romeos coming. I will not rate your car, but I will say one of the guys working in the car team is a huge fan of Alfa Romeo, so he's fighting all day long to have more Alfa Romeos coming into the game.”

Next up is the BMW 850CSI. A 380bhp, V12 hooligan hiding within a business executive’s exterior, and rare as an England goal in 2024. What are the chances, we ask?

“It’s more than five. It’s not ten. We have a lot of BMWs coming before. And we are trying to do a balance between iconic old cars and new cars from this manufacturer.”

We’re already pressing our Gordon Gecko suits in anticipation. Finally, the Renault Clio Williams, 1996’s uncontested coolest hot hatch. A car that, as it turns out, Hummer himself briefly had the keys to.

“When I was younger, when I first got my driving licence, I had a Renault. I broke it at one point and the garage loaned to me a Williams. And I said to them, ‘I can’t drive this car!’ It was a very valuable car, you know? It was so funny.

“So I have a story with this car, but unfortunately we’ll say less than five.”

A crushing blow for our admittedly obscure dream car collection, then. To be honest, we’re not sure where we’d find replacement parts for the notoriously finicky SZ in Hawaii though, and if they’re giving out Clio Williams like sweeties in French repair garages maybe we should just pop across the channel instead.

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