New Crazy Taxi Game Sounds Like a Multiplayer Battle Royale for Fares

The upcoming reboot will be an "open world, massive multiplayer driving game" according to Sega.
Screenshot of Sega's new Crazy Taxi game.
Sega via YouTube

Late last year, Sega confirmed rumors that had been brewing for some time that it was bringing back Crazy Taxi, among other classic franchises, in the coming years with a modern twist. On Monday, the publisher shared a Japanese-language interview with the game’s development staff that’s part peek-behind-the-curtain, part staff-recruitment call. The team behind the new Crazy Taxi says its work is still early, but it needs to grow in numbers to achieve the impressive scope it’s targeting. That is, the scope of an open-world, “massive multiplayer driving game,” per Sega’s job listings.

Crazy Taxi was never a multiplayer game in its heyday, at least in the most direct sense. The challenge was improving your own play, and beating your personal best score. Whatever bragging rights the game elicited were mostly constrained to the leaderboard on your local arcade’s cabinet. It’s clear, however, that the reboot will send cabbies out en masse, in what sounds like a kind of battle royale-style free-for-all for fares. There will be cops prowling the streets too, which is something we’d seen hinted at from the title’s earlier footage last year.

Beyond that, the interview doesn’t reveal many details, as it mostly consists of surface-level talk of the game’s overall vibe, along with some discussion of how young and enthusiastic the dev team at Sega’s Sapporo Studio is. Indeed, the group seems to have its head in the right place; a member of the art department talks of the iconic yellow cab (likely the one driven by Axel) leaping into the familiar background of the West Coast with blue water under blue skies, in classic Sega fashion. The city’s said to be realistic but also set up “like an amusement park,” a fitting descriptor given that classic Crazy Taxi already sent players through amusement parks in cities. The devs hinted at a variety of game types, and it’s not hard to imagine tweaks on the classic CT formula for team-based play, or a new mode pitting cops against cabbies.

Anytime a beloved game like Crazy Taxi is brought back after so many years, fans are likely to be cautiously optimistic. Sega’s madcap driving game might not be a household name these days, but it holds a very special place in the hearts of those who sunk hours and hours into it decades ago. Crazy Taxi struck that delicate balance of being outrageously addictive and competitive, yet somehow rarely demoralizing. Whether you posted a new leaderboard best or not, it was difficult not to have a blast, drifting and bounding over San Francisco’s hilly intersections to a kickass punk soundtrack.

Crazy Taxi producer Kenji Kanno discusses the new game.

Sega via YouTube

It’s perhaps a relief, then, that Sega isn’t trying to recreate those games, but better; it’s going in an entirely new direction, one that’s understandably more modern, and reflects the way people play together today. It’s best not to count on the end result being a bona fide success on all fronts (especially not on launch day if gaming in the 2020s has taught us anything), but this Crazy Taxi fan is interested to see where Sega takes this long-dormant arcade mainstay.

Got a tip? Email us at tips@thedrive.com