The Ruffian team is comprised of key members of the original Crackdown development group. A Flickr slideshow, unearthed by ScottishGames.biz, shows members of the new Ruffian staff perusing potential office space across Dundee, Scotland.
Xen Group's Gaz Liddon can be seen in several pictures of the group seeking their new headquarters. Liddon’s Xen Group provided Microsoft Game Studios in 2005-06 a team of 15 to provide “core technology for rendering and physics, artwork, design and managerial resources”.
Along with Liddon, Crackdown lead designer Billy Thomson has been speculated as one of the new founders of the Ruffian team.
Realtime Worlds will not be working on the next Crackdown, due to commitments with its upcoming APB. Microsoft Game Studios previously acquired the IP, but have yet confirmed the game is in development.
A Microsoft spokesperson was unavailable at the time of writing.
Realtime Worlds declined to comment.
UPDATE: Realtime has told Videogaming247 that Realtime Worlds is in "ongoing discussions" with Microsoft to develop Crackdown 2.
Realtime Words' Colin MacDonald stated, "In the unfortunate event that there isn’t an agreement with RTW reached [with Microsoft], Dave [Jones, studio founder] said he would 'be gutted not to be involved, but if it had to be that way, I would want to see it done justice – by an established, renowned developer that had the track record of delivering the quality gaming experience Crackdown players would demand.'
"In any event, I also very much doubt that Microsoft would harm an otherwise fruitful existing development relationship by gambling on funding Crackdown 2 with a startup on RTW’s doorstep, for obvious reasons."