Kim Basinger, Danny Glover…Vanilla Ice? I thought I might have been having a stroke when 505 Games revealed its colorful multiplayer heist game Crime Boss: Rockay City at The Game Awards last night. It was getting late. Everything about the trailer screamed Grand Theft Auto, but it was not, in fact, an update to Rockstar Games’ open-world mega seller. Instead, it’s an upcoming PC game from a studio I’ve never heard of, starring the most random direct-to-Bluray cast of Hollywood talent.
Crime Boss stars Michael Madsen of Reservoir Dogs and Donnie Brasco fame as Travis Baker, an aspiring Florida kingpin who attempts to climb to the top of the criminal underworld through “a series of turf wars, robberies, and crazy side stories.” While you might come away from the trailer thinking it’s primarily a cinematic narrative game, Crime Boss is actually an online PvE shooter extravaganza where you team up with internet strangers to pull off heists in the vein of Payday 2.
Big name ‘90s actors aside, the gameplay looks pretty generic. A modern L.A. Noire this is not. How far will the glitz of aging movie stars carry another otherwise indistinct live-service game? Check out the trailer and judge for yourself:
Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon) rules, Kim Basinger (Batman) is iconic, Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy) is fine, Danny Trejo (Machete) will appear in anything you pay him to, and Vanilla Ice (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze) is…sure, fine, whatever. Then there’s Chuck Norris, who Game Awards host Geoff Keighely jubilantly pointed out during the livestream and is featured prominently in Crime Boss’ marketing, but whom frankly I do not need to ever lay eyes on again.
The martial arts champion turned fictional Texas Ranger became a household meme in the post-9/11 aughts, but if you’ve been paying attention more recently, you’ll know he’s actually a huge asshole and right-wing kook who hates gay people. You absolutely don’t under any circumstances gotta hand it to him, or make him one of the faces of your B-list neon noir heist game.
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How much will he or others even be in Crime Boss? It’s hard to say. It appears to be Ingame Studios’ debut game, and it’s not not mentioned anywhere on the company’s website. It’s being published by 505 Games “in conjunction with Epic Games,” whatever that means, and is already 40 percent off if you pre-order it in the next two days. It’ll launch on PC exclusively via the Epic Games Store on March 28, 2023, with a console version to follow later in the year. I have no idea if it will be any good, but it certainly wins my award for weirdest world premiere in the year 2022.