I'm talking of the story itself, the very linear design in general. Play anywhere you want, but the story won't ever at all be muddled right?. Why would it make sense to forcefully muddle up the main story by allowing it to clusterfuck itself?. You have to make it linear in it's design, to prevent it from being read from different points at different types. WoW allows us to now play on any continent of any zone, without having to be a specific level (Legion exp for example), and that itself is designed with a linear story that adds up to one single point, rather than multiple clusterfucked points because you chose to do the missions in a totally different order.
Claiming it's very innovative (using "very" or not is still a claim)is giving it far too much credit.
How many games have transforming vehicles?.
Playing both the character on foot, and transforming into a vehicle, that you can also customize is pretty innovative than the typical tried and tested GTA or Saints row style approach, that has already been done before.
I didn't say he wasn't perfect, I said they could have better made use of the money on other things, than an expansive actor.
Crackdown doesn't have a typical progressive story. In the first game you defeat the fractions and the bosses of those fractions in any order you want. Once you complete all those bosses, you get an ending mission. Some bosses are stronger than others so it's better to level up taking out the easier ones first, but you don't have to. There isn't cut scenes throughout the game besides the ending and beginning. Dialogue, as far as story progression goes, is pretty non-existent besides the narrator though out the game. CD3 will likely be similar.
Regardless of how the cloud destruction is, it's still innovative.
How Transformers did it is not exactly the same. In Crackdown, the Agent cars physically transform after they level up, becoming stronger and fast. Agents in Crackdown go through the same transformations.
I highly doubt getting Terry Cruise for some dialogue had any effect on the budget for how the game looks or plays.