Electronic Arts has stated a preference to cut back on packaged retail games and transition into a publisher that provides service-based digital goods. When I brought up that point at a recent EA showcase to Marc De Vellis, a producer on Need for Speed World, he affirmed it, noting that the game is “huge for the company [EA], huge for Need for Speed.”
Need for Speed World (PC)
De Vellis described NFS World as “highly social.” The dev team has discussed the integration of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and in the game itself, usernames are displayed above players’ cars. This is why the game world is so massive -- at any one time, EA expects tens of thousands of users to be driving around and interacting with each other in the “Explore” mode. Right-clicking on another car will add that person to your friends list, and from there, you can invite them to cooperative or competitive races. Of course, since all those other drivers would be quite an impediment in a race, all events are instanced -- it’s just you, the other players’ (or AI) cars, and the world’s omnipresent traffic.
De Vellis also emphasized the scalability of NFS World, saying that the developers have it running on computers “from every min-spec laptop to high-end desktops.” The idea is to make the experience accessible to as many players as possible, because people have to be able to try it in order to start spending money in it. The game will run on all kinds of PC configurations, and it will offer many control methods, too. I beat De Vellis in a race for which we both used keyboards, but the game is being tuned to work with a variety of steering wheels as well, and it will ship with Xbox 360 controller support.
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