Criterion creative boss Craig Sullivan’s explained the reasoning for removing the Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit demo, saying the exercise was to ensure the studio could provide a suitable “service” to buyers, and that it was necessary to end the test to enable to full game’s online hardware.
“The reason is that we switched the servers over to now support the main game. We wanted to put it out there and see what people liked and what people didn’t like,” said Sullivan, speaking in the latest Major Nelson podcast.
He added: “It’s the case that we believe that when we ship a game and people buy it, we have to provide a service, and party of that service is making sure that whenever you’re playing online, or whenever you’re playing with the cable in the back of the machine and you’re connected through Autolog, that everything works really well.
“It’s our job to ensure the quality of that service. We put the demo out there to give people a taste of what’s to come and get people’s feedback, but also to just make sure the systems are really solid.
“Switching over to the production servers is making sure that we’ve done our learning from the demo; that’s why it was time-limited, and that’s why we’re ready to rock when the game comes out.”
The Hot Pursuit demo was removed after two weeks, and has been billed by Criterion as “the fastest downloaded Need for Speed demo in history.”
More then 700,000 posts were made on the game’s Facebook-style Speedwall during the demo, which saw 54 million road miles raced upon and 20 million cop busts.
The game releases tomorrow for PC, 360 and PS3 in the US. It’s out this Friday in Europe. As Sullivan showed this morning, everything’s wrapped and ready to go.