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Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Senior producer Matt Webster talks about Criterion's take on Need for Speed

When it comes to fast cars, big crashes and plenty of tarmac to witness the two on, EA must feel pretty comfortable with Criterion at the helm.

With the success of Burnout Paradise neatly tucked away, Need for Speed seems like the obvious next challenge for the high-speed dev to tackle.

We spoke to senior producer Matt Webster about what Hot Pursuit is all about, the competition it faces and why it's so much more than Burnout with goodies and baddies.

You said you'd been prodding people for a go at Need For Speed for a while. Why was that?

Zoom

Well we'd sort of thought about it for a while. We never actually asked the question. Whenever we were developing Burnout there was always a Need for Speed at a similar time and we did Paradise and we've been part of EA for long enough and delivered enough titles for EA and we thought "Well, you know you don't get what you don't ask for why not have a go?"

You have these conversations in the building where you say, "Well if we'd done that we could do this that or the other." Or, "What would we do if we were doing this game?" We sort of have those conversations.

A lot of people could say this is like Burnout with cops and robbers. What would you say to that?

I'd open their eyes and point them at the right screen because I don't think it is at all.

What are the stand-out differences for you?

Well Cops and Robbers for Burnout was an add-on.

Yeah, OK, but there're a lot of similarities...

Is there? I don't think there is. There's a whole world constructed for these vehicles, Burnout was a very different experience it wasn't constructed for these exotic cars and these epic drives so that's completely different.

The handling's completely different it's got a brand new engine the fact that I can have specific events tailored for a racer and a cop, you know, to drive my career along a particular route. The game modes are probably nothing like what we delivered inside Burnout.

Having said that we made Burnout and the things that made that game fun, we would have been stupid to not bring some of those concepts over.

I think I know why people say that but I think the point is it's us doing Need For Speed, and clearly our past is based on Burnout.

So any game we make will be accessible, will favour the player, will be fun, simple to understand and be highly connected irrespective of what the content is going to be, those are sort of the guiding principles.

Zoom

So those things are the things we're bringing forward into this game. It happens to be cars, I think these cars have got a lot more weight.

The quickest car in Burnout Paradise was 206mph this one's got 258 so it's faster than Burnout and the world has therefore been constructed for the very high speed of these exotic cars and chasing. Very very different.

Burnout Paradise was a massive success. Do you feel you're in competition with yourself almost?

No. No not at all. Burnout's... It's quite funny in a way. Whenever we do Burnout people say, "When are you guys going to do a Need for Speed game?" and now we're doing Need for Speed, "Yeah what about this Burnout game?"

I don't think so I think they're very different. I think the one thing linking them together is the fact that we made them.

Burnout we get to make shit up. We get to barrel roll the cars or flat-spin them at 150 - 200 feet.

In Need for Speed it's about these exotic cars, these aspirational cars, bringing cops in, trying to make it high-action with Auto-log pinning everything together bringing in what your friends have been doing.

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