Next gen consoles come and go, but very few franchises have been able to last so long across generations. Need for Speed is one of those franchises, and we’ve seen roughly every possible iteration from the game, from an undercover racing adventure and open world action title to a fast-paced cop battler and an underground-focused game similar to The Fast and The Furious. And now the journey begins a new with Need for Speed: Rivals, developed by Ghost Games.
We recently spoke to executive producer Marcus Nilsson to get his take on several things abou the franchise, including the use of Frostbite 3, the new AllDrive mode and what changes we can expect across generations.
Ravi Sinha: Need for Speed Rivals will be utilizing the next generation of Frostbite Engine (Frostbite 3). What kind of changes will this bring to the graphics and gameplay in the Need For Speed series?
Marcus Nilsson: Need for Speed Rivals is powered by the advanced Frostbite 3 engine which allows us to bring Redview County to realistic life with stunning visuals and weather that are constantly changing. Frostbite 3 also allows us to create the most realistic and beautiful supercars for fans.
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.
Ravi Sinha: We’ve heard much about the AllDrive mode, which allows for single-player gamers to transition into multiplayer seamlessly. However, will there be opportunities for different racers to fill in the roles inherent in the single-player, such as taking the place of AI drivers during races? Will there be a means to tie in the activities one completes in single-player with their achievements in multiplayer?
Marcus Nilsson: As players are in NFS Rivals, their world can collide with their friend’s world at any point in time. When you start up the game, you will be able to see if your friends are online, if they aren’t you will be able to challenge AI or other players that are in the game. Once your friends join, they can decide to team up with you or take you down at any moment.
"With next-gen right around the corner we know that we wanted to bring back some of the fan favorites to help make their cars mirror their personality."
Rivals is all one game. Anything that you complete in Rivals whether it be while your friends are away or in a different part of the world completing different challenges or while you are competing against them will stay with you for your entire game.
Ravi Sinha: Need for Speed Rivals will be set in an open world, similar to what we saw in last year’s Most Wanted.Does it feature the biggest open world map size in the series yet? Also, Rivals sees the ability to use EMPs, shockwaves, roadblocks and other means to combat foes. Given that Mario Kart isn’t really a craze these days, what motivated the desire to suddenly weaponize NFS’s drivers?
Marcus Nilsson: 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. It is more coast with long strips of highway where races and cops can get up to 200+ MPH.
Evasion and Pursuit tech is not new to the NFS franchise. In NFS HP this was one of the fan favorites features. With next-gen right around the corner we know that we wanted to bring back some of the fan favorites to help make their cars mirror their personality. With this tech they can really customize which ones they like the best for evading the cops or taking down the hottest racer in town.
Ravi Sinha: Need for Speed Rivals will be launching on the PS4 and Xbox One. Can you please talk about differences between both the versions? Will Need For Speed Rivals utilize the PS4’s touchpad and Xbox One’s cloud system?
Marcus Nilsson: 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.
"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 leaderboards and compare that with their friends. For the first time Autolog will track completion times for full groups of assignments/speed lists, 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 Over watch 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.
Note: A big thank you to Kristiana Suess from Electronic Arts for setting this interview up.