Ubisoft today de-listed The Crew, without notice, on all platforms. At the same time they announced that after March 2024 the ‘always online’ title will cease to function in any way. The reason for the shutdown is probably licensing, their expiry, and the unwillingness of Ubisoft to continue to provide functionality for sales that probably will no longer cover licensing fees.
The Crew, according to the statement below, took seven years to develop and featured some genuinely groundbreaking technology and enjoyable gameplay. What it didn’t feature, is a way to play the single player without a server handshake (and some server-side storage for user data), despite the fact that you can launch the game into an offline UI Ubisoft appear to have disabled.
While you could certainly carry the same concern for a service like iRacing shutting it’s doors one day and taking all the content you purchased with it, at least you know that going in because it has always been a multiplayer title you never could play on your own terms. I don’t think many people truly appreciated that an “always online” game wouldn’t be left with any single player functionality upon server shutdown like The Crew users are now facing.
It’s something I thought of quite a bit with Elite: Dangerous, a space game that requires online connectivity to play alone, and having backed it on Kickstarter before they made that decision it did upset the archivist in me to realize that should Frontier shut down, Elite would also.
If this doesn’t make you think long and hard about buying future Ubisoft or “always online” titles by any developer that are effectively digital waste once unplayable, I don’t know what else would… First on that list is The Crew 2 and the recently released The Crew Motorfest, because you now can’t deny knowing they were going to kill those games, can you?
If, by chance, you do want to still play this game over the next three months, you can still purchase keys from various resellers. Humble Bundle (a legal key reseller) has the Standard and Ultimate editions you can activate on Ubisoft Connect. I would expect Humble to pull these keys soon…
An Update on The Crew
December 14, 2023 at 5:00 PM
In December 2014, we launched The Crew, our beloved first game of the franchise and one of the most ambitious racing games of its time. Nine years later, the third entry of the franchise is live with The Crew Motorfest, bringing Hawaii to our players. We are extremely proud and thankful of how far we have come, together with a bustling and passionate community and today we wish to share an update on the status of The Crew 1. Today, The Crew 1, including all its editions, and virtual currency packs, will be delisted from all online stores. The game will remain playable until March 31st, 2024, for all The Crew 1 owners. After this date, the servers will be shut down, which means that the game will not be accessible anymore on any platform, including PC / Xbox 360 / Xbox One / PlayStation 4 / Amazon Luna and Ubisoft+. We understand this may be disappointing for players still enjoying the game, but it has become a necessity due to upcoming server infrastructure and licensing constraints. Decommissioning a game, and especially our first one, is not something we take lightly. Our goal remains to provide the best action driving gameplay experience for players and to deliver on it, we are continuing to provide new content and support for The Crew 2 and the recently launched The Crew Motorfest. Players who ordered The Crew recently can check the refund policy of the store of their purchase if they wish to receive a refund. The Ubisoft Store refund policy can be found here. In the meantime, Ubisoft Ivory Tower’s teams would like to share a word about this incredible journey which started thanks to you, our players and first fans.
The Story Behind The Crew 1
After years spent working together on the same project, three friends decided to develop their own game. The pitch was simple: create one of the most ambitious racing games ever imagined. The Crew development began in 2007, based on this idea. At the time, only 30 people made up the team and after 7 years of development, in 2014, the first milestone in the franchise was rolled out for all players with the launch of The Crew. Thanks to the game’s success and after years of development and content fine-tuned with players, The Crew 1 and its massive open world would later lay the foundation for The Crew 2.
What The Crew 1 means for us
The Crew 1 symbolizes a lot to us, as it was the first game we launched and the cornerstone on which we founded a studio. 15 years later, we are now over 300 car enthusiasts working on the franchise, and without The Crew 1, we couldn’t have brought together so many incredibly talented team members. Together, and with the support of our ever-growing community, we’ve created several open worlds, including our very first: the USA mainland. This was a massive, shared playground available to all players, whether alone or with friends. The Crew 1 was also our first test of live service support, which has continuously evolved, enabling The Crew 2 to receive content for over five years, for more than 2M active players per month. The learnings from these games allowed The Crew Motorfest to welcome its first season on day one.
What The Crew 1 Allowed Us to Do
The Crew 1 enabled us to define the pillars of The Crew franchise: a social open world full of activities, an RPG progression system linked to the vehicles and actions players perform, and finally, guaranteeing players activities at any time of day. Thanks to the experience developed on these pillars, we reached over 40 million players on the franchise last year, something we are incredibly proud of. We would like to personally thank each of our players, without whom we wouldn’t be here today. The best is yet to come with The Crew Motorfest, and our second season of content with Hoonigan, has just launched. You can expect a lot of new seasons, content, vehicles, playlists, and more, during the coming months and years! See you on the road! The Ubisoft Ivory Tower team.