The game was announced at Microsoft’s press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014 in June 2014, as an Xbox One exclusive. While the game was still at an early stage at the time of its reveal, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer said that the title came about from talks with Dave Jones who, after leaving Realtime Worlds, joined Cloudgine, a software company that is developing technology allowing game developers to take advantage of cloud computing features. Cloudgine had been previously rumored to be a core part of the Xbox One software, with their software used in a technology demonstration at a Microsoft developer’s conference in April 2014, demonstrating the use of cloud computer to speed up the physics modeling and rendering in a fully destructible city environment. Spencer revealed that the demo world was the start of this newest Crackdown title, with ability to destroy any part of the city expected to be carried over to the final game. According to Spencer, Cloudgine will help to develop the core engine, while Reagent Games, a studio located in close proximity to Cloudgine, will develop the gameplay and art assets for the game. Microsoft Studios’ creative director Ken Lobb asserted that the game will only be called Crackdown instead of Crackdown 3, stating that the game is set in the future of the first game but represents an alternate timeline from what Crackdown 2 provided.
The game was officially revealed as Crackdown 3 during Microsoft’s Gamescom 2015 press conference on August 4, 2015. The focus on cloud-powered real time destruction was first demonstrated there, and Jones stated that Microsoft’s cloud computing technology provides 20x more power than playing the game on a single Xbox One console. Because of the game’s reliance to Microsoft Azure for destruction engine, the full scale destruction will only be available in the game’s online multiplayer modes, while campaign mode, regardless of number of players, will only have access to limited degree of destruction.