Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / The Crew (2014)
aka: The Crew

Go To
The Crew is a racing MMO developed by Ivory Tower (today Ubisoft Ivory Tower) with additional work by Driver series developer Ubisoft Reflections for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows, with an Xbox 360 port developed by Asobo Studio with assistance from Ubisoft Shanghai and the main developers. If some of those studios' names haven't tipped you off already, all versions are published by Ubisoft. The game was released worldwide on December 2, 2014. An Amazon Luna port was also released on November 23, 2020, two years after the release of this game's first sequel.

Taking place on the continental United States, players play as Alex Taylor (Troy Baker), an aspiring street racer from Detroit who wishes to join the ranks of the 5-10, a racing crew formed by his brother Dayton. After Dayton gets betrayed and murdered by a fellow racer by the name of Dennis "Shiv" Jefferson (Jason Spisak), Alex gets framed for the crime by corrupt FBI Special Agent Bill Coburn (D.C. Douglas). After spending five years in prison, another FBI agent named Zoe Winters (Amy Rosoff) frees him to use him as an undercover agent, sending Alex back into the 5-10 to infiltrate the organization and bring the two men responsible for Dayton's murder and Alex's subsequent false imprisonment to justice.

The game received an expansion called Wild Run on November 17, 2015. Focusing on a multiplayer racing festival held throughout the United States called The Summit, with its primary hub located at Bonneville Salt Flats, it expanded on off-road racing across the United States and introduced motorcycles to the game, as well as dragsters, drift cars, and monster trucks. There was also a massive graphical overhaul made available to everyone upon its release. A second expansion, Calling All Units, was released on November 29, 2016, allowing players to play as the cops with a variety of weapons such as EMPs. Since Alex Taylor is a street racer and it wouldn't make sense for him to be a cop, players instead play as new recruit Clara Washington when they are in police cars. After Calling All Units was released, Wild Run was delisted and it is now included with the second expansion as a bonus. Those who purchased Wild Run before its delisting got free Crew Credits (the game's premium currency) for their troubles.

The base Xbox One version of the game was free for Xbox Live Gold members from June 16 to July 15, 2016 as part of the platform's "Games with Gold" program. The Windows version of the game followed suit on Ubisoft Club (formerly uPlay) from September 14 to around mid-October.

A sequel called The Crew 2 was released in 2018, adding boats and planes to the gameplay and featuring a redesigned United States compared to the first game. A second sequel, The Crew Motorfest, was released in September 2023, switching locales to just the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu. On December 14, Ubisoft delisted the game from all platforms and announced that the game's servers will close on March 31, 2024, rendering the game unplayable.

Not to be confused with the short-lived comic series or the comedy film.

The Crew contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: Your Driver Level caps at 60 (it was 50 before Calling All Units). You'll probably hit that level at the end of the story mode, or even well beforehand if you do a lot of skills early on.
  • Achievement System: Along with the standard achievement systems that are dependent on the platform the game is played on, as well as the Ubisoft Club rewards system, The Crew has its own internal awards system where players are rewarded for completing various in-game side tasks. Completing them earns players "awards points", which give out payment bonuses of "bucks"note  based on a percentage after completing missions, skills, and stunts. Completing certain packs of sixteen awards also give players special Vanity License Plates with either real state license plate designs (without having to buy a car from a dealer for a "common" plate) or designs based on other countries' plates.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The price of stat points in bucks was doubled from 50,000 to 100,000 after Wild Run's release. However, this did not apply to Crew Credits.
  • Artistic License – Cars: All cars are depicted in left-hand drive form, even when left-hand drive examples of certain cars are rare, outright one-offs (eg. Mazda RX-7 Spirit RAbout that one-off ), or just don't exist (eg. Nissan Skyline GT-RHere's why )
  • Artistic License – Geography: Apart from the US being condensed and slightly simplified:
    • A Freeze-Frame Bonus shows that Shiv was apparently born in "Austria, Germany." Austria is a sovereign country, not a city in Germany.
    • Randalls and Wards Island is misnamed as Rikers Island, a pain for those familiar with the Big Apple.
    • But perhaps the most egregious examples include the Colorado River going eastwards instead of south towards Baja California in Mexico, as well as the presence of St. Julian's Peak, a fictional mountain in the Rockies between the game's version of Montana and Utah.
  • Beyond the Impossible: The older cars, such as the Hotrods (based on the Ford Model A) and the late-'60s muscle cars, should be immune to the cops' EMP blasts and "Speed Hacks" because they have no electronic components, right? Wrong.
  • Big Applesauce: New York City is the main city for the East Coast zone, and story-wise it is the first major non-Midwest city that Alex goes to in the game. In the story, he goes there to help Eric Tsu, the zone's V4, to repay his debts.
  • Big Bad: Shiv, the leader of the 5-10s and the one responsible for Dayton's murder and Alex's imprisonment.
  • The Big Easy: New Orleans is one of the South zone's major cities. The Superdome even makes a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo (which is odd considering its then-sponsored name of Mercedes-Benz Superdome).
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: Bigfoot appears as an Easter Egg in the game, which will unlock an award if you find him wandering in the Northern Cascades.
  • Bowdlerization: Some of the in-game radio's songs are censored in order to keep the +12 rating.
  • Captain Ersatz: Used heavily for many real landmarks with sponsored or trademarked names in the game's cities. Las Vegas's casino resorts are the worst offenders.
  • Car Fu: The entire point of the takedown missions is to continuously ram the enemy car until they stop.
  • Character Tiers: In-Universe example; the members of the 5-10 are ranked by the "V" system, with tattoos to indicate their rank. Official members start at just "V", which are just mook chauffeurs. "V2" or "V-Twin" is the second rank, and controls a major city. "V4" ("4 Block" or "4 Banger") is third and controls a whole zone's faction. "V6" are the "Hard Six" that represent the elite members of the crew, and finally the "V8" is the nationwide leader of the whole club. Alex has to climb through the ranks, starting from getting his 5-10 ink that he was trying to get before his brother was killed.
  • Cool Bikes: Added in Wild Run. They can be bought in St. Louis.
  • Cool Cars: Bonus points go for the Performance and Circuit spec cars.
  • Collection Sidequest:
    • This game has you hunting down abandoned wrecks. Completion results in a new car (the HotRod HuP One in all the specs except for Raid, for which a fictional buggy takes its place). It's implied that you're scavenging parts from the wrecks to build the new car, thus giving an in-game explanation. It's kind of like a certain other open world MMO racing game.
    • There's also various landmarks to find, marked with an icon that resembles the Washington Monument. Watching the cutscenes gives some experience and cash, and count towards progress for awards.
  • Competitive Balance: Each of the six specs available are best-suited for certain situations.
    • Fullstock: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. They're just the stock production cars you get directly from the dealers. No nitro, no upgrades, and no customization save for the basics: color, stickers, interiors, license plates, and rims. Unless you want to get your Fullstock award set done, you'll want to switch to another spec.
    • Street: Unlocked in Detroit after the prologue, this is the first spec unlocked in the game, with basic upgrades. Nothing too flashy. The Street Tuner can be found in the Mexican Town district.
    • Dirt: Unlocked in New York at Level 10, this spec is best-suited for dirt roads, as well as gravel and snowy ones - basically, any road that isn't paved. However, it can also handle asphalt and off-road quite well. Essentially, the Jack of All Stats. The Dirt Tuner can be found along the shores of west Brooklyn.
    • Performance: Unlocked in Miami at Level 20, this spec heavily tunes the car to maximize its performance on asphalt roads, but is flat-out terrible off-road. The Perf Tuner can be found in the Little Haiti district.
    • Raid: Unlocked in Las Vegas at Level 30, this spec makes the car near-godlike off-road, and makes it a Mighty Glacier for better or for worse. Like the other specs, Raid cars can also handle roads, however their top speeds are usually among the slowest. The Raid Tuner can be found next to the Ringmaster Hotel and Casino (a Captain Ersatz of Circus Circus) on the north end of the Strip.
    • Circuit: Unlocked in Los Angeles at Level 40, this is the final spec unlocked in the game: it transforms the car into a professional race car with unthinkable asphalt grip and the highest stats in the game, but has the lowest durability among all car specs. While it is stated in game that this spec is illegal to drive on open roads, the vehicles of this spec can be driven anywhere without risking a police pursuit largely to avoid annoying the player. The Circuit Tuner can be found in Griffith Park, accessible from a road in Hollywood leading to the tuner underneath a hill next to the Hollywood Reservoir.
    • Wild Run introduces three new specs:
      • Monster Trucks: Big tires equals big stunts. Used for special stunting events, players can control how they flip in the air. The Monster Tuner can be found just northwest of Las Vegas.
      • Dragsters: Ridiculously fast, but obviously meant to be driven in only straight lines. Manual transmission is mandatory for this spec's events. The Drag Tuner can be found in San Francisco, of all cities, between North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf.
      • Drift Cars: Made for sliding around corners easily; whether they're on slick city streets or downhill mountain roads, this spec is of course used to get massive points in drift events. The Drift Tuner can be found in Chicago at the Chicago Airport district.
    • It should be noted that police cars use all of the above specs except for Fullstock, Dragsters, and Drift.
Ross Scott: ...I realize this is the case in every major city, but in New York especially, the traffic density is amusing. I don't think there are ever this few cars on the road in New York without something involving the National Guard.
  • Destroy the Evidence: The FBI Agent picking up the gun does a quick wipe on his pant leg. He's also handling the gun with his bare hand, which would put his own fingerprints on as well.
  • Developer's Foresight: The Free Look Button allows you to get up very close & personal. Amazingly, the insides of the cars are fully detailed, down to legible text on equipment (an especially hilarious CMOF can be found on a fire extinguisher made by the Burnin'Ass company, located at 666, Higway [sic] to Hell, and whose logo is a stick-figure Man on Fire; furthermore, their phone number is 66 66 66 66 66 66 & their website is; the label on another fire extinguisher mounted in the Pagani Zonda R declares it to be made by a firm located in the obscure Southern Italian town of Sava (with correct postal code) and has usage instructions in slightly-misspelled but grammatically-correct Italian.)
  • Dirty Cop: Bill Coburn, whom Zoe suspects to be in league with Shiv. He helped Shiv become the 5-10 "V8" by covering up his murder of Dayton and throwing the blame onto the victim's brother and looks the other way on their various trafficking operations in exchange for being paid off.
  • Down L.A. Drain: The game has the Los Angeles River, of course, in it0s representation of LA. Bonus points for your introduction to Vincent: he's working as a stunt driver on a movie filming in the LA River.
  • Downloadable Content: The game originally shipped with a Season Pass, that would enable access to four packs that could also be bought separately (the Extreme Car, Speed Car, Vintage Car, and Raid Car packs). It also had some free updates. In 2015, Wild Run was released, which added three new car specs, more cars, motorcycles, a big monthly meet-up called "The Summit", and a new graphical engine/weather system (that part was free for everyone). In 2016, the police chase-oriented Calling All Units was released, which adds police cars, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2010/Rivals like abilities, and crates scattered across the map for racers to deliver and cops to hunt down. Wild Run is included with Calling All Units.
  • Duels Decide Everything: The 5-10s not only race for enjoyment, but also to "settle what needs settling". Alex uses this statement against Shiv to take the V8 spot via one last race, rather than simply shooting him.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Compared to its sequels or even its first expansion Wild Run, The Crew (and Calling All Units) doesn't feel like being Ubisoft's version of the Forza Horzion series and more like their own take on the Need for Speed games, especially that series' plot-driven entries. There are also no boats or planes to drive or fly here; just cars, trucks, and bikes.
  • Everytown, America: What almost all the towns in the game are generically represented as since they all use similar layouts.
  • Excuse Plot: You've been framed for the murder of your brother. Now work your way up a gang and find out the people responsible by driving all over the USA.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: The first game was a street racing game in the vein of Need for Speed. 2 resembles Forza Horizon set across the entire Continental United States, with planes, boats and bikes.
  • Fragile Speedster: Performance cars, which are fast but have low durability and are nearly-useless off-road. Circuit takes it up to eleven and adds a touch of Glass Cannon; they are lightning fast and grippy, but cannot handle dirt roads and are even more fragile.
  • Frame-Up: The plot kicks off as right after Dayton is shot dead, the killer (Shiv) drops the pistol used and drives off. The FBI agent who's in on it (Coburn) arrives quickly, picks up the gun, and uses it as evidence against Alex, despite Alex not having touched it.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The camera quickly cuts to Alex in the car reacting in horror just as Dayton is shot.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Eric Tsu is seen as a loose cannon with a mean streak, even among other 5-10s. When you meet him he's even more unhinged because a lot of money under his care disappeared and the upper management has had just about enough so he gets increasingly crazed trying to earn enough money to pay back the 5-10 bosses before they come for his throat.
  • Hollywood New England: Most everything north-northeast of New York City, and it's fittingly all rural with a few small towns and townships. Oddly, it's mostly Maine; as for the other New England states:
    • Massachusetts is only Cape Cod, Provincetown, and Salem (Boston is egregiously left out).
    • Rhode Island is referred to as "Ocean State" (its real life nickname) and has the town of Newport in the game.
    • New Hampshire is represented by the White Mountains and North Woods.note 
    • Vermont has to rely on North Woods for any sort of representation (see note), and Connecticut does not exist.
    • Also, the American side of Niagara Falls is located in Maine.
  • Hot Pursuit: Police cars and chases against other players were added in Calling All Units. Before the expansion was released, players could only be chased down by AI cops. Police cars can be bought in Chicago in the South Loop district.
  • The Infiltration: Alex is undercover for Zoe, an FBI agent who suspects one of her own has been leveraging the 5-10 motor club to earn some money on the side while ignoring their misdeeds. Alex is offered a chance to get back at the agent who put him in prison wrongly and the guy who should have been there instead of him, and accepts without hesitation. He's able to get away with it, despite being the brother of the club's founder, because in the five years he spent in prison the old guard of the 5-10s were pushed out when Shiv became the V8.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Platinum-level car parts are by far the rarest car parts available in the game, only being accessible after reaching the Driver Level 50 cap. They are awarded by beating a score in Story Missions and Skills that is a notch higher than the Gold one, and are available from Level 40 to 60, picking one of said Levels through a mini-roulette. While all these parts give massive performance boosts to the vehicle, obtaining all then-Level 50 car parts for one spec were definitely a Luck-Based Mission until Calling All Units, which thanks to its improvements to the Smart Loot system, now "just" involves a lot of grinding to get the Level 60 parts.
  • Invisible Wall: Should Alex attempt to leave the United States and enter either Canada or Mexico, his car will stall and he will respawn away from the border. Zoe may even remark on how you apparently do not find the US big enough for you.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Like in Driver: San Francisco, pedestrians will quickly dodge out of the way of your car as you approach them, and are nigh-impossible to hit. On occasions where they somehow fail to dodge or even fail to recognize your approach, hitting them is like hitting a brick wall, as it'll cause you to come to a dead stop, while the pedestrian will either keep going on their merry way, or finally recognize that they've been hit and run for their life.
  • It's Always Spring: Inverted in the East Coast, where it's always Fall. Pretty much straight everywhere else, however.
  • Jack of All Stats
    • Dirt cars, which can handle dirt and asphalt roads equally but excel at neither.
    • Raid cars, which can handle any kind of terrain equally well. Raid cars maintain a pretty constant top speed, which is faster than other specs off-road but slower than them on-road.
  • Level Editor: While there is no instance of a track editor in the vanilla game, the Wild Run expansion is set to include a track creator similar to the one that appeared in the Test Drive Unlimited games for impromptu races; players can create point-to-point races with checkpoints, and use the result for a quick race in the open world.
  • Lone Wolf Boss: Cameron "Cam" Rockport, the one who dominates the South during the story, is not allied in any way with the 5-10s; he shoved off every single attempt of theirs to take over the zone, going even as far to kill those who were sent there.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Good luck getting all Level 50 parts for all specs except Fullstock, you'll need it.
  • Ludicrous Precision: Roxanne says that Coburn's men are arriving in 7.2 seconds, although the cutscene introducing that escape mission feels like it takes longer than that. The mission itself takes around ~5 minutes to drive behind some hotel.
  • Marathon Level: Certain faction missions can last well over an hour (with one, which runs you around the entire perimeter of the drivable United States, taking over two).
  • Meaningful Name: The 5-10 motor club gets its name from the California Hundred Code (510) for speeding or racing vehicles (in other words, illegal street racing).
  • Microtransactions: Crew Credits; players can buy these to be able to buy cars and parts without grinding for Bucks. Players also gain one hundred thousand Crew Credits for free if they join a faction for the first time.
  • Mighty Glacier: Raid cars, which are slower than the other specs but tougher and do not lose much speed off-road.
  • The Mole: Subverted. Harry is suspected of being this for a period, due to running around behind Zoe and Alex's back without explaining himself. He later reveals he was doing it for the girlfriend of Alex's late brother. This, however, is also the cause of Eric Tsu's debts with the other 5-10s.
  • Nerf: Downplayed after Wild Run's release. While the stat boosts from Platinum parts have not changed, players are no longer guaranteed to receive a Platinum part after getting a platinum medal from a skill. Although players can now also win customization parts as well, this is not good for those who are instead focused on having the best-performing car or bike possible.
  • No Fair Cheating: Any of the awards for visiting various landmarks in a session. Once you visit the landmark and view its cutscene, you can fast travel back to there at any time,note  but you must drive between each of the landmarks to get the session visit awards. If you use fast travel to skip the drives, the progress will reset back to zero. Be glad though that you don't have to view the cutscenes again to get them; just a drive over the spots will count towards progress.
  • Oh, Crap!: Alex gets one of these moments in the outskirts of St. Louis when Troy reveals that he found out that Alex did not kill the St. Louis V2.
  • Pass Through the Rings: These are present in skill challenges. The Precision Skill challenge requires the player to quickly drive through a series on-road gate, which shrink slightly if the player gets a few in a row. The Scramble Skill challenge requires the player to drive into off-road targets.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The Calling All Units expansion adds Crates that start a police chase event and can provide either some bonus Bucks or a "Car Fragment" on completion, along with experience gains on par with the longer faction missions for just a fraction of the time. These are available as soon as the tutorial is over, and it's entirely possible to reach the level cap by making crate runs before you even attempt your first story mission.
  • Play Every Day: A daily login bonus of Bucks that varies depending on how you're performing in comparison to other faction members and how your faction is performing as a whole. There are daily, weekly, and monthly challenges that reward Bucks on completion as well.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He handles it well but it's clear Alex is on one of these. When Zoe is about to explain her offer to Alex upon first meeting him he doesn't even let her finish before saying he's onboard. If she's offering him a way out of prison and a chance to get back at the guy who put him there and killed his brother, that's all he needs to hear.
  • Rubber-Band A.I.: Faction mission races seem to have this going for it. You can barely outrun the competition and they will always be nipping at your heels regardless of what happens to them (although the rubber band only seems to go one way since if they get a good lead you probably won't see them again; borders on The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard). Storyline missions err more towards It's Easy, So It Sucks! (as long as you do the various world challenges and do decently at them, your car level will rise a lot faster than the game's requirements would have you spec your vehicle).
  • Scenery Porn: The graphics might be inferior compared to other racing games of its time, but that doesn't stop the game from being truly gorgeous in some places, especially the bigger cities (e.g. Miami and Las Vegas), the forests in the East Coast, and the West Coast's Big Sur and Yosemite National Park. The graphics update released with Wild Run takes this trope up to eleven.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spiritual Successor: To Test Drive Unlimited, as Ivory Tower, the developer, was established by ex-Eden Games (developers of TDU) staff.
  • Staged Shooting: When Troy orders Alex to kill the St. Louis V2, Alex gets Zoe help him try to avoid doing so. After Alex takes down the V2 without killing her, Zoe swiftly puts her into Witness Protection to hide her from Troy, allowing Alex to satisfy Troy's demands without actually doing so. Unfortunately, Troy finds out the truth later on.
  • The Syndicate: The 5-10 motor club post-Dayton. They move a lot of contraband around the United States by running them in their cars and controlling a rather vast crime empire as a result. Aided by agent Bill Coburn's complicity in the affair (which keeps the Feds from poking around in the operation).
  • V8 Engine Noises:
    • The game uses the same V8 engine noises whenever you enter or exit the safehouse or tuner shop and during all cutscenes. While at least one-third of the car list avert this by actually being V8-powered cars, it doesn't stop your Mini - or Lamborghini, for the other end of the scale - from sounding like they have race-modded Hemis in them once in a while.
    • The Mazda RX-7 from the Wild Run expansion uses the exact same soundbank as the Ferrari 458, whose flatplane V8 engine note is a barely passable substitute for a rotary engine at best, and just downright heretical at worst.
  • Time Skip: The game does not pick up until five years after Dayton's murder passed.
  • Unicorn: Appears as an Easter Egg, which will unlock an award if you find it in a field in the East Coast's "Coal State" area.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: The Freedrive Professional award set was originally not able to be completed because one of the awards was bugged. The award in question, Independence Play, requires players to play the game on July 4 (American Independence Day), but players were not be able to unlock the award on the day in question when it came around in 2015. The issue was taken care of after the date and the award was made unlockable on August 4, 2015 to make up for the bug. The award was later properly unlocked on the actual Fourth of July in 2016, proving that it has been fixed.
  • Vanity License Plate: While you can't customize them, you can get real state license plate designs for your vehicles. You can even use the same plate on all your vehicles to show off your home state. However, you have to either buy a car from a certain zone's dealer that has the state design you're looking for or earn award plates that have Leetspeak-esque words on them, which can take a while to unlock.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can drive on places where people walk around, such as the beach, sidewalks or parks. They will evade you, but sometimes it's still possible to smack them, although (un)fortunately without any gory result. Scaring them to move out of the way is also required for some awards.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: Las Vegas is the main city for the Mountain States zone. Alex even flies to Vegas early on in the game for a race event in the desert; he later on returns there to restabilize the 5-10's illicit trafficking there and take down Bill Coburn once and for all.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: In the Calling All Units DLC you get to control Clara Washington, whose accent is a really poorly acted, stereotypical, vaguely English mess.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Justified in the ending; Alex says that shooting Shiv will just kill him, but if he beats Shiv in a road race, just like how the 5-10 solve issues, he will take his crown and Shiv will be left with nothing. Justified early in the game as well; Zoe tells Alex then that if he does attempt to kill Shiv, he will be going straight back to prison.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: Even though it is condensed, the United States is still huge, with the "On the Road" trailer proclaiming it to be about 1900 square miles in the game. It will take you approximately forty-five minutes to drive coast-to-coast in the fastest car in the game.
  • You Have Failed Me: After finding out that Alex did not kill the St. Louis V2, Troy kills her himself, baits Alex with her truck, and sics his crew on Alex for lying to him. Alex manages to escape, but has to find another way to get his 5-10 ink now that he's no longer working for Troy.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Shiv murdered Dayton in order to become the 5-10 motor club's "V8", which he does in the intervening five years that Alex wrongfully spends in prison for the crime. It helps that he has a crooked FBI agent on his side to help him leverage illegal trafficking activities that no doubt contributed to his rise to power.
  • Zip Mode: Players can teleport to anywhere in the United States they've already visited. However, this feature can also be used to visit unexplored areas quickly. Players can also take trains and airplanes to get to cities they've yet to visit in the game for a fee.

Alternative Title(s): The Crew