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Ubisoft Reveals The Crew Motorfest, Heads to Hawaii

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Ubisoft has announced the third instalment of The Crew series, and it’s arriving this year. Developed by series custodians Ivory Tower, The Crew Motorfest is based around what the studio describes as a “one-of-a-kind festival” of all things fast and is set on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii. This makes The Crew Motorfest the first in the franchise to leave the continental United States, as both the previous games featured scaled-down versions of the US that stretched from New York to San Francisco.

It also makes The Crew Motorfest a potentially fascinating return to the setting of 2006’s highly influential Test Drive Unlimited, a pioneering MMO-inspired racer from developer Eden Games that laid the foundations for the genre today. This link shouldn’t be regarded as an accident, however; Test Drive Unlimited is actually a crucial part of The Crew’s non-Ubisoft-related roots. Indeed, Ivory Tower was founded by former Eden Games developers, including Test Drive Unlimited game director Stéphane Beley. Beley, senior creative director at Ivory Tower, seems well aware of the links long-time racing fans are likely to make between the two games.

The Crew Motorfest [is] a potentially fascinating return to the setting of 2006’s highly influential Test Drive Unlimited.

“I was very proud the first time I kicked off the project Test Drive Unlimited,” Beley tells IGN. “It’s true that it was very innovative at the time, and the recreation of Hawaii at that time was really remarkable for everyone.”

“I decided for The Crew Motorfest to revisit the Hawaiian island… to help to grasp the Hawaii mood with all the latest technology. It’s a beautiful island. The first time it was a good choice, for Test Drive, and for The Crew Motorfest, this island is really perfect to enjoy one of the most beautiful places on Earth. There’s a lot of diversity to explore.”

The Crew Motorfest – First Screenshots

The Crew Motorfest’s riff on O’ahu is promising a wide set of racing environments, including the dense city streets of Honolulu, deep rainforest, twisting mountain roads, volcanic slopes, and idyllic beaches. Unlike Test Drive Unlimited, however, The Crew Motorfest is not a 1:1 recreation of O’ahu in its entirety.

“It’s not 1:1, but we decided to just grasp all the main points of Hawaii and mix it together,” says Beley. “You will have the shape of the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, but with the essence of it. I prefer to have a higher density of activities and biomes and it’s easy to go from one to another, and you will see that every 30 seconds you will have something to do and play with your friends through this big island, which is one of the biggest islands that I’ve done.”

Beley also explains that while the scope of both The Crew and The Crew 2’s environments demanded a more procedural approach to building the worlds, a more singular focus on O’ahu in this instance has allowed The Crew Motorfest’s artists to “touch every kilometre.”

Ivory Tower has confirmed The Crew Motorfest will feature hundreds of cars, but this doesn’t mean the additional vehicle types introduced in The Crew 2 (which was released almost five years ago, in mid-2018) have been omitted.

“I call it the Motorfest; I don’t call it Carfest,” says Beley. “Because for me it’s important that every motor could be represented inside this experience. I refer to car culture but you will have plenty of stories with boats and planes also, and you will be able to experience this beautiful world from many points of view, from boats on the water or from the air with your plane.”

The Crew Motorfest is planned to launch this year on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC (via both the Epic Games Store and the Ubisoft Store). It’ll also be accessible with a Ubisoft+ subscription on PC and Amazon Luna. Ivory Tower stopped short of confirming a specific arrival date, but those of you who can’t wait should note an early access period that Ivory Tower is dubbing its ‘Insider Program’ starts tomorrow. Successful registrants will be able to participate in a closed test of The Crew Motorfest that will be split over several phases. The initial phase will be limited to PC for logistical reasons – the development team are able to iterate faster on PC – but later phases are promised to be made available on consoles.

The announcement of The Crew Motorfest and its move to iconic O’ahu makes for an intriguing open world racing match-up this year, as fellow French publisher Nacon is also resurrecting the Test Drive Unlimited brand in 2023 with Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown. Developed by Kylotonn, Solar Crown is set on a 1:1 recreation of Hong Kong.

Luke is Games Editor at IGN's Sydney office. You can chat to him on Twitter @MrLukeReilly.

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