Earlier this week, Marcus Nilsson, the Executive Producer of EA's upcoming "Need for Speed: Rivals" sat down and discussed the next generation of consoles, what it means for developers and the new options opened up to them due in part of the advancement in hardware.
With this in mind, social incorporation of players to EA's status with Nintendo and their Wii U console was also discussed, be sure to see below for the full interview!
Clearly, this next generation of consoles has social gaming elements as a main focal point. You have demonstrated some of those functions already, but what else can we expect in terms of further improving the multiplayer experience with Need for Speed: Rivals in regards to these features?
- "For the first time in any racing game, Need for Speed Rivals destroys the line between single player, co-op and competitive multiplayer with AllDrive so that you are automatically connected to your friend’s racing world. It’s one game, one experience - Paths will cross, creating a world where no two moments will ever be the same. Also, Frostbite 3 brings Redview County to life with unmatched visual fidelity fully immersing players into a world filled with the sight, sound and feel of incredible supercars."
EA has been very vocal about streamlining their production cycle when it comes to producing titles. The Frostbite engine is not new to the Need for Speed series, but how has the increased power of next generation consoles on top of the latest version of Frostbite benefited what you are able to do within the Need for Speed universe?
- "Next generation technology has given us more power to do things we’ve always wanted to do in a racing game. With AllDrive, we can completely erase the lines between single player, co-op and multiplayer, removing lobbies and waiting times, and make it more social and seamless for players. With the Frostbite 3 engine, we are also able to deliver realistic and stunning visuals never before seen in a Need for Speed game, along with dynamic weather effects that will add an extra layer of challenge to the racing experience."
There has been mention in the past that Ghost Games has cherry picked developers from high profile studios such a Turn 10, Criterion and even developers who worked on Far Cry 3's open world. How have these editions to your team helped in shaping the world that is Need for Speed: Rivals?
- "Senior members of our team have worked on past racing titles like Hot Pursuit, Most Wanted, PGR and Forza. But inspiration to this new generation of NFS has come from many other angles as well. Far Cry 3 was a brilliant open world game, of course the lead designer (and also friend of mine) Jamie Keen could help us create a much richer exiting world."
Need for Speed: Rivals looks massive. Can you talk about the overall size of the world in comparison to previous open world Need for Speed titles, and any differences we may see from the current generation variants of the game in relation to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions?
- "The game is set in Redview County, a place designed specifically for driving in the world’s best cars at insanely high speeds. The world is full of gameplay and is well over 100 miles (16X16 km) of open roads. The core experience is very similar across current gen and next gen because we are committed to pushing the boundaries of every console we work on. The power of next gen consoles allows for even stronger visual fidelity which you can see with Frostbite 3 and a more connected social experience that we’re delivering through AllDrive, the high stakes scoring system and Need for Speed Network. Need for Speed Network, allows us to extends the software experience beyond the console and onto the second screen via the PC, mobile or tablet devices. It allows players to geotrack their stats and leader boards and compare that with their friends. For the first time Autolog will track completion times for full groups of assignments/speedlists, in addition to individual races. Players can also see what’s happening in their racing world in real time by pulling up the game map on their PC or tablet device. In addition, through Overwatch players can engage with the game from the web or while on the go on their tablet device. This new feature lets you help or hinder your friends by giving them a speed boost refill or taking them out by dropping a roadblock during their race."
From a developers side of things, outside of the obvious increase in power, how has development on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 differed in relation to the current generation of consoles? Has Sony and Microsoft been helpful in providing and easy transition?
- "Both first parties have learned a lot since the last transition. The machines are more similar and also share lots of its architecture with a PC making dev easier from that angle. But it’s harder this time due to the many back end systems etc. The overhead is greater this time around. Having said that, the overhead are powerful systems letting us launch things like NFS Network, Overwatch second screen play and MP features not possible in the older days."
EA has been pretty open regarding their stance on the Wii U and what they need to see from Nintendo in terms of sales in order to support their platform. In contrast, Criterion was one of the few third-party developers that took time to utilize the features and performance that the Wii U has to offer. What is the potential for a future port from Ghost Games of Need for Speed: Rivals onto the Wii U platform?
- "We are focusing all our resources and development time into creating the best Need for Speed for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and PC."
When you think about what a next-generation racing game can be, what ideas come to your mind? What is next-gen to you, besides bigger games and prettier games?
- "Need for Speed Rivals is evolving the racing genre with AllDrive and continuing to make games more fun, social and easily accessible. The new high stakes scoring system will also deliver a new way for gamers to compete with their friends where they can risk their speed points for even greater rewards or risk losing it all."
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