One of Electronic Arts's longest running game series has been the Need For Speed Racing series. This year the series goes in another direction with Need For Speed Carbon which will be released on every current and next-gen console platform as well as the PC. FiringSquad got a chance to chat with the game's associate producer Scott Nielsen to find out more about Need For Speed Carbon.
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.
Those two things are Canyon Racing and Crews. In Need for Speed Carbon, players will have to build up a crew and challenge rival crews for control over the entire city and the surrounding canyons. The Canyons represent some of the most dangerous and illicit courses that you can imagine. Picture your car flying down a narrow two-lane road with a steep mountain wall rising up to the heavens on one side and a sheer drop down to the valley below on the other side. We’ve teamed up with some of the most extreme canyon racers to try and capture this experience and bring it to life in Carbon. Much like Most Wanted was an evolution from Underground 2, Carbon will similarly be an evolution from Most Wanted.
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.
In terms of gameplay, the world plays a key role this year as you have to conquer the various territories in order to progress. Each region has been designed to take advantage of that car class so that you get a distinct drive depending on where you go. This element of the game has come across really well in initial feedback and I am sure our fans will love the variety of drives.