EA CEO: We Were Torturing Need for Speed Devs

By Maarten Goldstein, Jun 18, 2008 5:20am PDT

Speaking at an investors meeting, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello noted his disappointment with Need for Speed: ProStreet, and said that EA had been "torturing a very talented group of people" at EA Vancouver with rigorous 12 month development cycles reports GamesIndustry.biz.Though Need for Speed: Most Wanted was a recent series highlight, newer games like Carbon and ProStreet were not received as well.Electronic Arts attributes this to the fact that EA Vancouver had been producing a new Need for Speed game every single year for the past eight years. That changed last summer, when EA split the company into two teams, hired more people, and put both teams on two year development cycles.Though it won't have the benefit of the full two year cycle, the first game to come out of this changed development philosophy will be this year's Need For Speed: Undercover. The game is described as a mission-based one with a strong story, with Riccitiello likening the general feel of the game to that of the The Transporter movies."I'm confident that Undercover is a much better game than Pro Street, and I expect that from this point forward they will do a lot better," Riccitiello is quoted as saying.

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  • The thing is, it is not the fault of the programmers, graphic artists, etc, that these games have been in decline: technically, they're all still beautiful to look at and have no gameplay glitches.

    It's the fault of whomever thought of the concepts of Underground or ProStreet, with heavy emphasis on alternate types of racing, that these games sucked. "Need for Speed" brings to mind going as fast as possible, making split second decisions on turns, getting huge air on some areas, finding and navigating shortcuts, and the like (and no car damage :-) - it's the less intense version of Burnout, but lacking the exact realism of Gran Turismo. Both "Hot Pursuit"s worked because the cop chase mechanic was still about going as fast as possible. This also worked fine into "Most Wanted".

    I haven't finished ProStreet yet, but my biggest complaint is that it more about technical driving than fast ones: too many curves and tight banks through the race. Where it gets interesting is the long haul runs - long one-way or circuits that have long, banked turned, though some tighter than others, where you feel like you are just barely in control of the car as you make them. Every other race type is *yawn*.

    "Need for Speed" should not aim to be all types of racing; make a new series if you want that. Just give me fast cars, excellent tracks and areas to drive those cars 90% of the time at their top speeds. If you can add more mechanics on that (like cop chases) that does not detracted from that aspect, all the better.