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The Precinct: Everything We Know

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If you’re old enough to remember Urban Chaos, a crime-infused cop simulator that launched way back in 1999, then boy, have we got news for you. In a stroke of luck, Fallen Tree Games has single-handedly managed to resurrect that double decade-old premise and stick it in a new vessel—a “neon-noir” sandbox game called The Precinct. And from what we’ve seen so far, it’s looking like a well-versed mixture of classic top-down cop action fused with the destructiveness of both Twisted Metal and, I don’t know — Micro Machines. How’s that for a combination?

Anyway, what more do you really need to know about it before it goes live? Will it feature a full-length story, or will it settle for a simple sandbox setup—a pile of bricks that anyone and their neighbors have every right to dismantle in an unlawful, but weirdly practical manner? Well, here’s everything we can tell you based on the information provided by its studio hands to date. The Precinct: what’s it all about, really, and how will it recapture the heart and soul of what made hits like Urban Chaos, True Crime, and L.A. Noire the powerhouses that they were? Let’s talk.

What Is The Precinct?

So, what is The Precinct, and how will it pay tribute to some of the sandbox genre’s most prestigious hits? Well, to put you in the picture, The Precinct will be a “neon-noir” sandbox action game, one that’ll take place during 1983—a period in which gangs storm every nook, cranny, and back alley of the crime-infested metropolis of Averno City.

Locked from a top-down perspective, players will be invited to fill the boots of rookie beat cop Nick Cordell as he not only looks to bring order to the streets, but uncover the mystery surrounding his father’s murder. Between seeking justice for the murder and graduating from the police academy, you will need to live out the day-to-day agenda of a beat cop, which will entail shaking down “bums, street vendors and furious taxi drivers from the Projects to the Financial District.” Oh, and not to mention a criminal operation that operates in the underbelly of Averno City. But more on that shortly.

Story

The good news is, The Precinct will feature an actual story to bite into, rather than settle for a half-baked blueprint of a sandbox shooter to simply gloss over. Specifically, a tale of loss, justice, and hope—a theme that’ll subject beat cop Nick Cordell Jr. to a series of dramatic events and the illegitimate crimes of a war-torn city. As said cop, you will be tasked with digging deep into an unsolved case pertaining to the death of your ill-fated father, all the while the gangs of Averno City run amok and wreak havoc on its citizens.

In Fallen Tree Games’ own words: “You are Officer Nick Cordell Jr. As a rookie beat cop fresh out of the Academy, you’re on the front line of defence for Averno’s citizens. Dive into a world of thrilling car chases, procedurally-generated crimes, and a healthy dose of 1980s noir as you protect the populace and solve the mystery of your father’s murder in the line of duty.”

Gameplay

The Precinct will hurl you out onto the frontline of Averno City, a world in which criminal activity is commonplace, and the justice system teeters on the brink of collapse. Playing as one of its most tenacious beat cops, you will be tasked with running down its thugs over a series of procedurally generated crimes, which will range from parking feuds to bank heists, drug deals to car thefts. All of this will be packaged in a retro 1980s aesthetic—“a love letter to classic cop movies” that’ll make pay homage to an entire era of material.

The Precinct combines police sim detail with action sandbox spectacle,” the blurb explains. “Patrol the streets and respond to callouts to fight criminals petty and powerful. Choose your own tactics in thrilling chases and shootouts. Feel the shifting power struggles of Averno's gangs in a living city full of procedurally generated crimes, from parking infractions to bank heists, street racing to drug deals.”

Development

Fallen Tree Games, a studio best known for both American Fugitive and Quell, first announced its plans to bring the cop simulator to consoles and PC back at the Future Games Fest, which aired on June 10, 2023. Since making the announcement, the team behind it has painted a general overview of the game via its Steam handle, as well as posted a trailer, courtesy of the Future Games Fest. Those are really the only two details the team has let slip so far, so there’s still a whole lot we don’t actually know about The Precinct. Needless to say that we’ll have a better idea before year’s end. Hopefully.

Trailer

The Precinct - Announcement Trailer | PS5 Games

Thanks to the Future Games Fest, which aired earlier this week, we already have a bit of in-game footage to mold over while Fallen Tree Games continues to iron out the creases. But don’t let us spoil it — you can catch a glimpse of what’s to come in the upcoming sandbox IP in the trailer embedded above.

Release Date, Platforms & Editions

Fallen Tree Games has confirmed that The Precinct will be shaping up for a launch on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store. And while we can’t say for certain when it’ll be releasing, we can say that it’ll be pushing towards a Q1 2024 launch at the very earliest. If we’re lucky, then Fallen Tree Games will fill in the blanks a little later on this year. Until then, it’s really anybody’s guess at this point.

There’s also the question of whether or not The Precinct will be rolling out any special editions in the aftermath of its 2024 launch. Truth is, we don’t actually know. Not that this comes as much of a surprise, though, given the fact that Fallen Tree Games has only just lifted the veil on the project. Either way, such news, if any at all, is likely to be revealed later this year.

Has The Precinct caught your undivided attention? If so, then be sure to check in with the devs over on their shared social handle for all the latest updates here. We’ll be sure to let you know just as soon as a release date comes about right here on gaming.net.

 

So, what’s your take? Will you be picking up a copy of The Precinct when it eventually decides to hit the shelves? Let us know your thoughts over on our socials here.

Jord is acting Team Leader at gaming.net. If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.