Need for Speed: Carbon Q&A

Last month 360Monster was invited as part of the Microsoft Xbox Community Network (XCN) to submit a selection of questions, which would be answered in a Q&A session with Mat Thomas and Kristian von Fersen, producers on the Need For Speed team. We put this to our community via our forum and in return we received some pressing questions from our members. The most interesting and inventive questions were selected and submitted towards the Q&A interview.

What follows an in-depth Q&A exclusive to XCN members, with Mat Thomas and Kristian von Fersen recently this month.

What can we expect in the future on the marketplace, will there be new content eg new cars?
Stay tuned for more news about marketplace items in the New Year!

What can you tell us about the multiplayer-mode in NFS Carbon? Will there be a team feature?
Players will have the ability to play against each other in split-screen in all the various Quick Race modes.

Most of the Xbox 360 gamers are really concerned about the fact that they have to pay for download content, which other versions (current gen) have already on the disc for free. are you trying to find out how much players are willing to pay for stuff like that? or do we have to pay the full price for incomplete EA-games on Xbox 360 in the future?
Downloadable content is a key element going forward for EA. For Need For Speed Carbon, we are providing two elements – we are providing new content in the form of vehicles and also the ability for the player to purchase the top end cars from the start so they can progress through the career faster. We are well aware that games are getting bigger and this year we made a decision to make sure our gameplay experience was tight and fun. Being able to download the high end vehicles off the bat allows the player who doesn’t have 30 hours to commit to a game to experience the same top end fun that a dedicated Need For Speed fan will through gameplay. It is up to the player to decide what they want and the online element of Need For Speed Carbon simply offers the player more choice. Any content that is unlockable on the Xbox 360 is also unlockable on the Xbox. The only difference between the two is that you have the ability to purchase that content, should you choose to do so, on the Xbox 360. It is completely up to the player as to whether or not they want to spend the time to unlock something or whether they choose to get access to something sooner by purchasing it online for the Xbox 360.

Why should we buy Need for Speed Carbon? Which are the most significant enhancements in comparison to Need for Speed Most Wanted?
There are probably three key new areas that I think fans of the franchise will find very exciting. The first is our new mode, Canyon Duel, where you and an opponent are going head to head in the ultimate game of cat and mouse. The first run has you following the opponent’s car trying to stay as close as you can without going over the edge or slamming into the cliff face. The closer you are, the more points you accumulate. On the second run the roles are reversed and he is chasing you eating away at your score – make it down to the bottom in one piece with points left and you have proved your mettle. Second, our physics has 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 taken it to heart this year. Fans will immediate feel a difference in the handling, acceleration and driving techniques the moment they try out a car from each of the different car classes – Tuner, Exotic and Muscle. Finally, the territory acquisition meta game experience will offer fans a whole new way to play through the game.

What new online game modes can we look forward to seeing in the game?
Carbon’s online feature set is much broader and deeper than anything we’ve done before on a Need for Speed game. For Most Wanted last year we had 3 online multiplayer modes. This year we’ve added to that and included a great deal more . In or out of the main career all of our race modes can be played online. There are 4 game modes that you can compete in online multiplayer racing: Circuit, Sprint, Speedtrap and Canyon Duel. Those races that aren’t multiplayer will track your best times and scores on the Online Leaderboards. In addition, we also have to Online exclusive modes — Pursuit Tag and Pursuit Knockout. We are tracking and displaying your statistics for every race, track, game mode and free roam event you participate in during the game. We’ve added Online Co-operative Challenge Series events where you can race with up to 3 friends in any of 4 challenges and complete the Challenge together

How many cars are there to choose from?
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 and play through the career in one of three different flows according to which class they’ve picked. 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.

Will there be an in car view?
No, we decided not to include an in car view this year. This is something we’re talking about for future Need for Speed titles.

Did you get a lot of feedback from the demo, and how did it affect the development of the game?
The feedback from the demo confirmed a lot of our own concerns and thankfully issues brought up by our fan base were always going to be addressed for the final product. We pay close attention to people’s reactions to the demo to make sure what we are developing meets our consumers expectations.

How would you compare the Xbox360 version of the game to other platforms?
The Xbox360 is one of our lead platforms and along with PS3 and PC, offers the most game play features. Visually, it certainly stands out when playing the game on a HDTV.

Do you think the NFS games would be better if you had more time to develop them? Do you think that taking 2 years to develop them instead of one would improve the games in any shape or form?
Although Need for Speed has been on an annual release schedule for a number of years now, it is important to know that each game is actually in development for approximately 18-24 months, in total. We have a small team working on creative and technical R&D projects well before the majority of our team starts to work on the game. As with any game these days, the more time you have the better! We’re very proud of the high quality and innovation that the Need for Speed franchise has consistently delivered year after year. It’s a truly remarkable and talented team working on this franchise.

Thank you for your time Mat and Kristian!

Anthony Barker

Anthony is the designer, developer and owner of Console Monster. In his spare time, Anthony is a keen gamer who enjoys playing mostly First-Person Shooters and Racing games. When he is not developing games or tweaking this site, Anthony likes to be on the slopes snowboarding or hurtling down off-road tracks on his mountain bike.

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