Summary: The Need for Speed series returns for another installment with Carbon. JCal gets the details from the devs and 33 rubber-roasting screenshots.
FiringSquad: First Need For Speed Most Wanted was a return to the game series' roots and was very successful. Why make a new Need For Speed game for 2006 instead of a Most Wanted sequel?
Scott Nielsen: Each year we have a look at Need For Speed and really focus in on where we want the franchise to go. We’re always looking to be on the cutting edge of street racing culture and put a lot of time and effort into our research to try and identify new and compelling game modes that take their inspiration from what is happening in the real world. Fairly early on in our research it became obvious to us that there were 2 big things currently happening in the street racing scene that Need for Speed hadn’t yet tapped into and, if done correctly, would translate into a phenomenal game experience.
FiringSquad: The concept of team racing seems to be the big hook for Need For Speed Carbon. How did this idea come about?
Scott Nielsen: We spend a lot of time looking at real life street racing culture and then couple this with new gameplay features. >From looking at some other key gameplay features, specifically territory acquisition, a natural, obvious partner to this is team racing and crews. We are always looking at expanding and trying new things with the Need For Speed franchise and the team racing was an aspect of gameplay that was interesting to look into. We’re really happy with the results and I think our fans will appreciate the team racing this year.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the storyline for Need For Speed Carbon?
Scott Nielsen: The hero disappears after one fateful night and word is that he skipped town after allegedly stealing some serious cash. He returns a number of years later looking to prove his innocence and to reclaim his reputation. As he begins taking over different territories, new pieces of the story are revealed, putting together the events of that fateful night.
FiringSquad: Will the game feature an open world setting once again and if so how does it differ from the cities in Underground 2 and Most Wanted?
Scott Nielsen: This year with our world design, we have really tried to focus on great races and great drives. Most Wanted was designed to accommodate a brand new feature (open world pursuits), this year Need For Speed Carbon is focused on bringing great drives back into the core gameplay experience. This includes good paced track design, shortcuts and challenging, yet fun sections.
Scott Nielsen: There will be over 50 cars available in the game this year. We’ve really spent a lot of time differentiating the three car classes. So much so that we’ve based part of the game around this fact and allow the player to choose their allegiance right at the start of the game. Players can play through the career in one of three different flows according to which class they’ve chosen. Each class will have certain strengths and weaknesses that the player must balance against their driving style or car preference. There is no single class that will be consistently at the top. Given the right driver, any of the 3 classes can be equally competitive. I think Need for Speed fans will be really happy with the variety of cars we’ve chosen.
FiringSquad: How will players customise the cars in Carbon?
Scott Nielsen: Players will be using the Autosculpt technology to customize their cars. It is truly a revolution of visual customization in racing games! Our Autosculpt system allows the player to take certain visual parts and actually pick a huge number of target areas and use slider bars to customize the part to their liking. This can be done with wheels, hoods, body kits, spoilers, and more. Without a doubt, this has greatly expanded the already huge amount of customization in previous Need for Speed titles and given the player an unprecedented level of control and personalization. In addition to Autosculpt, players will find lots of options available from previous Need for Speed games but improved upon in countless ways. I think fans will be very excited when they see what’s available.
FiringSquad: What will the races in the game be like?
Scott Nielsen: The races will be everything fans have come to expect and more! Drift racing will be back bigger and better than ever in Carbon. We’ve spent a lot of time this year increasing the sense of speed in drift races and capturing the feel of balancing your car sideways as you finesse the steering to avoid hitting the wall. Fans of drift from Underground 2 as well as newcomers to the mode are going to be blown away. It’s very addictive.
FiringSquad: How do the car physics in Carbon differ than in previous Need For Speed games?
Scott Nielsen: Our physics have been a big focus this time around. Last year we had feedback from fans of the franchise that they were looking for more differentiation between the car classes and we have certainly taken that direction this year. Fans will immediately feel a difference in the handling, acceleration and driving techniques the moment they drive any car from each of the three different car classes – Tuner, Exotic and Muscle.
Scott Nielsen: Carbon’s online feature set is much broader and deeper than anything we’ve done before in a Need for Speed game. We’ve built upon the solid foundation started in Most Wanted last year and are really pleased with what we have to offer. With the exception of the Drift Modes; all other game modes in Carbon can be played online…Circuit, Sprint, Speedtrap, Canyon Duel, Canyon Race, Checkpoint, etc., etc. As well, there are 2 “online only” modes that fans can look forward to – Pursuit Knockout and Pursuit Tag.
FiringSquad: How will the game look graphically with the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions?
Scott Nielsen: As with any transition to a new console, one of the biggest challenges has been in just getting the game up and running in order to assess what it can offer. The team has been working hard to get the game stood up and I think we’ve done a great job harnessing some of the graphical capabilities of the PS3. Similarly on 360, our team has done a great job pushing the visual look forward with the team’s experience from Most Wanted. The game looks stunning on a big-screen HDTV!
FiringSquad: How will the game be handled on the Wii version in terms of its controls?
Scott Nielsen: We’ve spent a lot of time with the controls on the Wii. Obviously, the Wii controller is very different from anything people have been used to, especially for driving games, and I think we’ve come up with a number of great configurations that really take advantage of all the motion sensing capabilities of the controller. I can’t wait to see what people think.
FiringSquad: Finally are there plans for a playable PC demo of the game?
Scott Nielsen: The demo has already been released on the PS2, Xbox, and Xbox360 and we’ll be releasing a PC demo very soon.
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