Criterion explains the social aspects of multiplayer in NFS: Hot Pursuit

By Stephany Nunneley
28 September 2010 22:29 GMT


Criterion’s Matt Webster has detailed just how social Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is going to be, whether you are playing the game in multiplayer or single-player.

Speaking with Guardian UK, Webster said not only will you be aware of friend’s scores and accomplishments in the game, but their friends’ as well, adding that the “whole point” of the social system is to offer it to those more comfortable with single-player modes.

“What we’re most excited about is the solo connectivity, so as I’m browsing through things to play, I’ve always got information about what my friends have done on that event to encourage me to get involved,” said the senior porducer. “And when I have played the event, I’ll get auto alerts on when my time has been beaten. And I think the ‘Autolog Recommends’ feature is going to change the way people play racing games – it’s the ultimate distraction.

“It’s like any social network, there’s a relatively small chance of you being connected to Twitter or Facebook at the same time as a friend, but the constructs are there for you to be able to engage with each other as if you were there at the same time.

“But it also comes from those very natural discussions you have when you’re playing games: ‘what was your score?’, ”what was your best time?’. You know, the game should do this for you! It knows everything, it’s attached to a server, it knows who my friends are – with some decent tech and a good creative, we can start pressing some of those buttons for people.

“This has all been born out of Burnout Paradise where we had an asynchronous feature named Road Wars. And what we saw was that players would hit it quite late, because actually we did a good job of burying it. But when they did use it, it really hooked them. So we thought, how can we engineer this system to remember it and ping it, so everything I do is a potential recommendation for my friends? And if a bunch of friends are playing a particular event, it’s going to tell me about that as well.

“Getting online together is straightforward but a relatively rare occurrence, so we end up playing with strangers. And playing online… it’s not a pleasant place. I mean, I’m a seasoned FPS player and it is not pleasant. If someone is new to video gaming, and they go online for the first time, that’s going to be really off-putting.

“Now people can play with friends at their own pace and in comfort – the spotlight of performance isn’t on you, but you get the pay off, which is beating a friend.”

Sounds very social, and the way the world is heading. Cellar-dwellers prone to bouts of social phobia better just get used to it, we reckon. Ourselves included.

If you want more on NFS: Hot Pursuit, hit up our impressions of it here, and along with our own interview with  Webster here. There’s also some screens and a trailer for it here.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit releases on November 16 in the US and November 19 in the UK for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

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