Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit – Social Modes and EA Answers Your Questions

62 2

Recently, the Need for Speed caravan rolled into town for a media/community event bringing PS3s loaded with Hot Pursuit, a free rap show, and the Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce.

With the game only about 2 months away, the team from EA was eager to talk about the social elements of Hot Pursuit. Watch this video, then read my conversation with Need for Speed producer Jesse Abney, who not only answered my questions, but yours as well.

Jeff Rubenstein, PlayStation.Blog: How did Criterion end up at the wheel on Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit?

Jesse Abney, EA: Criterion’s a AAA developer of action-racing games, with many years of doing great designs, great innovations, and platform technologies – especially for PlayStation 3 and online connectivity. And they kind of just waited patiently for their turn to get the keys to develop their favorite Need for Speed – and revive Hot Pursuit. Hot Pursuit really is a milestone in the Need For Speed ethos of “grab an exotic car, pick an exotic location, and hit the pavement.” And that really is a core tenet of Criterion’s expertise. It was really their interest and their call to revive Hot Pursuit.

PSB: What fundamentally makes NFS NFS, as opposed to say, Burnout? Will elements of NFS: Hot Pursuit look familiar to Burnout vets?

EA: Need for Speed’s always been about licensed vehicles. Criterion made the call to throw back to Hot Pursuit… no distractions, no customization, no real performance tweaking. It’s all about car, pavement, location, the competition of the race, and in this particular game, it’s all about social connectivity.

Autolog is an innovation, really a step up from what we saw in Burnout [Paradise]. It’s a total social experience. Always connected, always exchanging information, and always establishing where you’re at in the product versus your friends.

And instead of the Blacklist like you saw in Most Wanted, Criterion has brought in the Blacklisted Speed Wall. Autolog Recommends is a facet of that, whereby it’s always listing where your friends are in their career versus your career, event for event, and giving you recommendations based on the scores you’re laying down both online and offline.

PSB: Criterion won over a lot of fans with its community involvement, and the feeling that the game stayed alive long, long after if came out, thanks to its “Year of Paradise” DLC and update rollout. Will that happen with NFS: HP?

EA: Absolutely. We give all the credit in the world to Criterion for really proving out this model at EA; doing telemetry gathering, and establishing which core features people are really attached to, what things we can go bigger on, and dedicating people to work on that 3, 6, even 12 months into a product’s life cycle. It’s no longer “ship and forget” for us; we really want the product to have a life, we want it to evolve, we want to continue to improve it. With such short development cycles, we really want that post-launch development to not only address potential problems, but also to improve gameplay features and modes. It’s an absolute commitment from the NFS franchise.

PSB: What have you learned about player behavior – especially in the multiplayer arena – that we’ll see in NFS: Hot Pursuit?

EA: They’ve been taking a ton of lessons from online telemetry gathering: what people love to play, how they compete, and how that metadata is conveyed online. We have a very in-your-face approach to the connected generation. And that is multiple points of data, always streaming in information, always giving the player updates through messaging. “I’m going to throw down the best time I can and all my friends are going to get this message,” and it’s going to challenge them to do it.

That’s the lessons, like the refinement of the experience, that Burnout really paved the way for. And Criterion has really been at the forefront for all of EA in a lot of ways in how they turn that data into actual gameplay feature sets. Hot Pursuit is really a culmination of all those lessons over the past 2 or 3 years, especially for the connected platforms.

PSB: Do you see the reach of NFS Hot Pursuit extending beyond those times when you’re on the PS3 to places like Facebook or Twitter?

EA: Absolutely, there’s interactivity based on Facebook Connect and other elements that they’ll be working on. You have a ton of connectivity through the web and then back to your platform. Don’t discount any medium that Criterion has at their disposal. They’re supporting the PlayStation Eye to do in-game captures of player profiles; fans of Burnout will remember that. Every action point in the race is capturable and uploadable via Autolog.

Question via Twitter (@Y_AlAnsari): Is Hot Pursuit gonna be like “NFS Underground” style? The one with all the blacklist stuff :D

EA: There’s aspects of the Blacklist. Criterion really wanted to bring in elements of both Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted. Instead of the Blacklist being a grouping of AI players, our Blacklist is your friends list. You’re ranking up through the friends that you have via the Autolog, event for event, and knocking your friends off of the Blacklist. So you’re actually racing against real people, not just NPCs.

Question via Twitter (@RustyFirestar): What types of events are there? The gameplay seems fun, but not varied.

EA: Criterion is a great studio for creating dynamic game modes, and the introduction of cops and racers at high speeds, and exotic cars and exotic locations, for us it’s a playground. What we have are online modes where it’s 4 vs 4 where 4 of your friends are playing a career as a cop, and they’re entering into a Hot Pursuit with 4 of your friends who are running careers as racers.

General categorization of race events aside, Hot Pursuit is not about drag racing, it’s not about drift racing, it’s kind of a culmination of all those elements of driving within an action-driving design.

Question via Twitter (@BenSDixon): I’d like to know what games they would compare the handling to and whether it’s like Burnout Paradise. (does real cars = realistic handling?)

EA: Criterion is not a company to design a real-world physics simulator. One of the core tenets of Need for Speed is that action-driving experience. You don’t need a drivers license to play this game. That said, these are cars built upon a real-world-style physics simulator, and then amped up for arcade action. So this isn’t that you need to know how to drive, that you need to hit the apex of a corner, it’s much more in the vein of Burnout. It really is an action-arcade, pick-up-and-drive experience.

Question via Twitter (@DMax901): How many cars will there be? And what will the Racer’s equipment be like? Thanks PS!

EA: Over 65 top-end exotics, and maybe a few real key surprises. There are cars in our game you’ll never play anywhere else. And Criterion’s done a great job creating a career as a cop, so every car in the game comes in lovely cop colors. There’s always the idea that more cars can come via post launch development all the time.

Thanks go to those of you who asked us questions via Twitter, and to Jesse for answering them. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit comes to PS3 on November 16th.

Comments are closed.


2 Author Replies


  • Yay Criterion! love your games, and cannot wait for this one~

  • Looks like a return to Burnout’s track-based gameplay that I actually prefer over Paradise’s open world style.

    If they called this a Burnout game it would be considered a step backward (from Paradise) for some which is why, I think it’s being released as a NFS title…

    Regardless, I’m looking forward to this one…

  • Awesome!
    Loved Burnout Paradise!
    Can’t wait for this!
    Day one buY :)

  • hey ea can we plz get a need for speed remaster hd remakes for ps3 plz :-P ill love you for ever also can we get a burnout paradise 2 burn out paradise was the best

  • Awesome Graphics, i have question: how many online player on this ver of Need4Speed ?

  • is this game going to be open world?

  • Please please please….
    Do a remake of Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed too…
    Please please please….
    Best NFS ever made !!!!

  • Burnout Paradise is the funnest racer i have ever played outside of Gran Turismo (which is a driving sim!) so i have faith that Criterion will do this right. Hey but at the end of the day if its track based, so be it. But if its street racing ….. gimmie open world all day! Burnout Paradise FTW!

  • GT5 is better

  • Woohoo! Can’t wait, love NFS and Criterion is one awesome developer!

  • Not interested, should have sticked to open world. Track based NFS games are always dull. I think I will stick with GT5 for my tracks!

  • Thanks for the reply, Jeff.

    This game has now become a must buy! Though i like Burnout paradise, the open world elemet in Burnout put me off.

  • I just want to know what comes with the Limited Edition?

  • Watching the video for this game really gave me a flashback to Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit on the PC and PS One. That was a really good time for the series and I’m glad Criterion is honoring that with what appears to be a worthy successor. I don’t buy as many racing games as I used to but I may just have to give this one a shot.

  • I’m sorry to rain on anyones parade, but why get this game or any other game that deals with cars, when GT 5 is coming out in Nov.?

  • Hey Jeff, are you sure about the open world bit? The Need For Speed home page says this about the location Seacrest County: “This is the biggest open-world of any Need for Speed title. From coastline highways to winding mountain passes, you’ll have plenty of road to explore.”

  • I want this game so freaking bad. I logged in probably more than 120 hours in Burnout Paradise so Criterion Games sure as hell knows what they’re doing to keep me entertained for that long. NFS Hot Pursuit back on the PS was also a game I played for a long time… so this is like a match made in heaven. Cannot wait for its release! Day one! :D

  • @17

    Both Gran Turismo and Need for Speed have earned their rightful places as racing games that people will play over and over again. Gran Turismo is realistic while NFS has always been more arcadey. Some people prefer Arcade racers over Realistic ones. There is a market for both and both ill do good in sales either way you look at it.

  • @ 20

    fair enough, great valid points!

  • Hey Jeff,

    While we are on the subject of the first NFS:HP game, is there any plans to put all the NFS PS1 games as PSOne classics on the PS Store?


  • Im so glad Criterion is involved, Now NFS will be good hands and most certainly Criterion will assist in reviving the NFS name.

    @ People saying GT5 will be better….

    NFS and GT5 are in there own racing realms, they both fill there own respected nitches in the market, comparing them i feel is not realistic.

  • hello Mr. Rubenstein,

    Are they planning to release future DLC?
    because if they do, I rather wait, because now, every game have a Goty edition, and i try to support my favorite game and purchasing it day one, and those who choose to wait have a complete version of the game. I say this, because this game looks really great, and I would like to purchase this day one, but if they follow same path as burnout, maybe by august when NFS: HP GOTY comes out…

  • Awesome-o!

    Im really looking forward to this one. Likely going to get it once i see hwo teh dust settles on it.

  • Looking foward to this one. 2 of my best driving game companies together… sweet, When can we expect a Demo?

  • Looks fun but i want another Need For Speed Underground 2 or perhaps an HD remake collection with the online working that would be awesome

  • I have been looking forward to this game for a while. Always been a racing fan and car lover. That also translates into my gaming, erm, habits. Bringing back the old stuff and making it better, never hurts to try it. And hey, game looks GREAT!

    I know SCEA and EA have teamed up for a Need for Speed tour of the nation and I registered for my city. Hopefully I will be accepted and HOPE TO SEE YOU IN MIAMI GUYS! : D

    Cant wait for this game.

  • I’m excited for this and GT5; but does this game play online only?

    Or can we expect a solid and lasting 1-player mode, like the original Hot Pursuit titles?

  • I don’t mean to troll but this game looks pretty embarrassing compared to Gran Turismo 5 and with the game “about 2 months away” it puts it near GT5’s launch.

  • Looking forward to getting my paws on this one for sure.

  • @letherclad

    Don’t worry, you’re not trolling. Check comments 20 and 23 :)

  • Criterion’s making it, SOLD!!!

    I’m looking fwd to the race setup as opposed to the open world.


  • @CriterionGames Will there be an offline-line Multiplayer splitscreen option in Need for Speed – Hot Pursuit? #confirm?

  • is the diablo going to make an appearence in this game?

  • NFS has better gameplay, Burnout has better physics. Which one people care for more.

  • Well I can’t believe people are complaining about the fact that it’s not open world. That’s not the problem, the problem is that gt5 is around the corner and to buy this game would be stupid. This game looks like a really really old arcade game you find at the movie theaters.


    NFS has awful everything compared to GT5

  • 4 player off-line split-screen mode?

  • &38

    cool! you’ve played both games i assume? why dont you give us an in depth review since you know so much? or are yo just talking out your arse?

  • EA should make a new NFS High Stakes that was my fav next to Hot Pursuit

  • Criterion told me at both E3 and PAX when I played the game that it was an Open World but you could select your events to do at anytime from a menu (ie more track based).

    Personally I loved Burnout Paradise and I want to see another great open world racer. Seeing that new car out of the corner of my eye and chasing them down and taking them out was so much fun in Paradise.

    More of that please.

  • @jaguarCRO i DEF enjoyed chasing down a car after it barely caught my eye as well. The open world was LOADS of fun for me i havent played nfs since ps1 but now it looks like ill have this AND the next burnout game in my library! GJ criterion

  • Haha i have undercover which was a great game. for hot pursuit will there be any new hot cars like the r8 spyder and is the bugatti stayin? please respond when u get the chance.

  • on an unrelated but far more important note , is poker space coming back to home ?

  • Haven’t played a NFS game much since Hot Pursuit 2 back on the PS2. Looking forward to this one sucking me back into the series that I loved so much before. Can’t wait for this release!

  • Wow, I didn’t know so many people can’t tell the difference between an arcade racer and a simulation racer.

    For those of you comparing GT5 and NFS….how many GT games do you recall having cops in them? Answered that? Ok. How many have nitrous oxide at the push of a button?

    Helicopters? Roadblocks? Large jumps?

    Those are some easy differences. In regards to handling, simulation…you need to(or should) work on a good racing line and all that jazz. Now in an arcade racer such as NFS…you don’t really have the time to worry about that sort of thing with cops ramming you and charges dropping from the sky, now do you?

    I could do this all day, but surely that isn’t needed…one last explanation though. GT is like…taking a potential dream car for a high speed test drive. NFS would be taking a dream car on an epic car chase that you likely wouldn’t survive in real life and possibly end up with fines/jail time if you did.

  • Can you go off roading and explore the beautiful wilderness or are you stuck to the roads like in Burnout Paradise? I know it’s probably not very realistic to drive a Lamborghini through sand dunes but the game isn’t based on realism in the first place.

    I really liked having total freedom of the whole map in Test Drive Unlimited. And the backdrops in this NFS game look so gorgeous that I want to explore them.

  • Hey Jeff, there is a mode that is open world. It’s called Interceptor Mode.

Please enter your date of birth.