Most Wanted is the best Need For Speed yet
Producer Leanne Loombe explains why
by : Arthur Kotsopoulos
©2012 Arthur Kotsopoulos
The Need For Speed franchise has undergone a variety of transformations over its lifetime, but the latest outing in EA’s car ‘racer’ series looks to be a total rebirth.
We were invited by EA Australia to discuss the new vision for the franchise Criterion brings with Leanne Loombe, its Producer, and discovered just how much your friends will be a part of your racing experience and how the rules have been thrown out the window.
Arthur: Most Wanted was, and still is, my favourite entry into the Need For Speed franchise.
What sets Criterion’s take on Most Wanted apart from the original?
Leanne: So it is our take on it so it is a different Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and it’s all about friends this time.
That’s really important to us, and friends are at the heart of every game for us.
Our take on Most Wanted is becoming the ‘most wanted’ among your friends, and that’s really powerful.
It means that you can play the way that you want to play and also having all the cars unlocked from the start really sets it apart from an other racing games because it allows you to have a unique gameplay experience.
Arthur: Do you feel new gamers and/or fans of the franchise are going to embrace this direction that Criterion has taken with all the cars unlocked from the start where you don’t exactly have to do ‘x’ event to unlock ‘y’ cars?
I mean, Hot Pursuit, everyone loved and it won multiple awards. Are you confident Most Wanted it going to receive the same kind of praise?
Leanne: Yeah, we’re super excited about it; I mean it’s throwing away conventions of racing games so it’s always cool to do something new and exciting and I think there’s something in there for everybody.
Arthur: And autolog is back as auto log 2.0 I believe. Is autolog 2.0 catered around the positive and negative feedback received?
Leanne: When we introduced autolog in Hot Pursuit it really changed the way people played, you know, almost revolutionary really because it puts your friends at the heart of the game.
It gave you a new way to actually play and progress through the game with recommendations. So in Hot Pursuit it only compared your race times, which was great because as you were playing through the game you could see how your friend had beaten you and then try to beat them again.
It really encourages that social competition and for autolog 2 we wanted to take that to the next level.
Make it so it was around the whole gameplay experience, not just race times.
It’s about speed cameras, collectibles, the billboards, and all the speed points as well as the mods. So when you drive up to a race start it shows what times have been done in that race but you also see what mods they were rolling with as well, so you can do a direct comparison: “Oh OK, I’m going to beat their time by using the exact same mods or better mods” or however you want to do it.
It just gives you that unique gameplay experience.
Arthur: So obviously social networking and interacting with each other via autolog is crucial to the gameplay experience .
Leanne: Definitely. It’s all about that social connectivity and having your friends at the heart of the game and being able to see what they’ve done in the game as well.
Because you’ve got something to compete against that’s really cool, rather than just having a single player progression to compete against.
It’s like potentially the games goes on forever then, because as long as you are playing it there’s always something for you to compete against.
Arthur: Now moving onto gameplay physics, how important was it to get each car to feel as much as their real world counterparts in terms of sound and handling? That’s obviously another crucial part of gameplay experience.
Leanne: It’s really important for us because the whole point of the game is drive it how you want to drive it, drive it how you would if you actually had that car or could have that car.
That’s really important, you know; having the audio and having the handling unique to that car is something that we really worked hard on.
We wanted to make sure it was spot on for the players so that when you drive in it you feel like you are actually slinging a 911 around the corner and it’s really great fun because you can do it in the game but you can’t exactly do it in real life.
Arthur: As I was playing it before, for me personally the best way to describe the gameplay in three words would be visceral, crazy and fun. Are you confident to say that about sums it up in a nutshell?
Leanne: I think that’s what we want it to be.
It’s all about having fun, particularly in multiplayer, as you’re there with your friends and you can play the way you want to play and do what you want to, and it’s all seamless.
You’re staying in the world the whole time and that’s important to us.
Arthur: I take it that when Most Wanted was first announced, up to now and even until its October 30th/ November 1st release date, there has been feedback- how much has the community in terms of their feedback altered the final version of the game?
Leanne: Everybody’s really super excited about it.
When we announced it at E3, then showed more code at GamesCom, with everything that we’ve shown, everybody is just really super excited about what we are doing and especially because we’re throwing the conventions out the window.
Everybody is really excited and so are we about playing a racing game that has that different style.
Arthur: Well I was at a Dishonored event last week and I was talking about conventions of gaming and where it was headed in the future- do you feel that in the future moving forwards the best way to experience a game, is to throw all the rules we are used to out the window ?
Leanne: Definitely that’s what it’s all about for us.
The rules are out the window- it’s like if I want to play a game this way I should be able to. I shouldn’t have to stick to this rigid up one level then onto the next etc. It should be like: “OK I want to load this game up and I’ve only got five minutes to play this because everything’s so hectic now.
It’s like not everybody has hours and hours to play a game. If I just want five minutes in a game and I can just load it up, go straight to the car, my favorite car I want to drive, play an event, then I’ve had a good time; a blast.
And that’s definitely where I see gaming going towards.
Arthur: Now to the obvious question: favourite car included in the game and why?
Leanne: The Lamborghini Gallardo because when you go down a tunnel it sounds just amazing, really good.
Arthur: Dream car that you’ve always wanted?
Leanne: A DBR9 Le mans car.