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Need For Speed Most Wanted Interview: Under the Hood of the PS Vita Version

Fred Dutton's Avatar + Posted by Fred Dutton on Oct 26, 2012 // SCEE Blog Manager

NFSMW lead image

Next week sees the keenly anticipated release of Need for Speed Most Wanted, the latest release from Criterion Games – the legendary UK racing specialist behind the Burnout series and Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, the phenomenal 2010 entry in EA’s long-running street racing franchise.

That the PlayStation 3 version is very, very good should come as no surprise, but somewhat more unexpected is the amount of care the studio has lavished on replicating the experience on PlayStation Vita. Producer Matt Webster and his team have squeezed almost the entire experience onto the handheld, and even found room for a little bit of extra content exclusive to the system.

We sat down with Matt earlier this week to find out exactly how Criterion has pulled it off.

PlayStation.Blog: What was your goal when you first started developing the PS Vita version of Most Wanted?
Matt Webster, Producer at Criterion Games: It was to make the same game – that was the goal. As much as we possibly could, we wanted to deliver all the great things about the console version of the game: an open world, freedom, choice, variety, highly connected. All those principles looked like they were achievable on the machine, so that was what we set out to do.

PSB: What were the main challenges you met during development?
MW: You just run across performance challenges. Some of those are fundamental, which you learn to overcome as development progresses, and others you have to make some compromises.

lamborghini_gallardo

PSB: What kind of compromises are we talking about exactly?
MW: It is exactly the same game [as the PlayStation 3 version] apart from traffic density and number of players online. But I think that the asynchronous play is actually going to be more important.

PSB: How exactly does that work?

“I can push up my Speed Point level on PS3 multiplayer when I’m mobile with PS Vita, and vice versa.”

MW: So, if you play the single-player game, and then play muliplayer, any Speed Points you earn in SP also drive your MP progression, and that’s true when you play the game on PS Vita too. Anything you earn on PS Vita carries across to the console version. It’s a unified scoring system.

Everything you do in the game earns Speed Points. Speed Points determine your position on the Most Wanted list. Am I outscoring my friends; have I reached the necessary score threshold to take on one of the Most Wanted drivers in the solo game; what speed level am I at in MP; what have I unlocked, and so on. I can push up my Speed Point level on PS3 multiplayer when I’m mobile with PS Vita, and vice versa.

PSB: The easy option would have been to contract an external developer to work on the Vita version but you decided to keep it in-house. Why?
MW: It was something we wanted to do. It looked like the machine was going to be capable of delivering what we wanted to do. And the way that we work is very iterative – build, play, change, build, play, change – that’s how we work. When you go external it generally only works when you’ve got a finished game, otherwise there are too many moving parts.

So, it looked like something we’d be able to do and we were going to be able to push ourselves in some new directions. It was difficult, but we’re not ones to shy away from a challenge.

NFSMW_EApsvPFT_front

PSB: Do you think a massive open world racing game like Most Wanted is a good fit for a portable gaming device?
MW: I do. The game is about freedom and choice. We have a saying – ‘not playing the game is the game’. What that means is that not playing the authored experience that most games deliver for you actually is very important and a really significant part of the game.

The way that these devices are used – they’re picked up, they have some play, and they’re put down. It might be high frequency play, but not necessarily high amplitude, where I’m spending long sessions with it. Our game can work in either of those scenarios. I think the asynchronous part of it is going to be really powerful on that device – do something, have Autolog pick it up, and send it back.

“We have a saying – ‘not playing the game is the game’.”

I think it will turn out to be something that PS Vita owners didn’t realize was possible on that machine – it is quite a significant achievement to do an open world game to the level of quality that we’ve managed. And then to have something as highly connected as it is – that’s something fresh and new. I think it will find a really good home on PS Vita.

PSB: What kind of exclusive PS Vita content have you included?
MW: There are some exclusive PS Vita races and events in there for players to discover. It’s another way for players to earn exclusive SP – it’s an extra reward for having the game on multiple devices and it allows us to do something specifically tuned to that device.

PSB: Have you used the PS Vita’s unique features in any way?
MW: We’ll use the touch screen for changing music tracks and in some parts of the interface but the rest of it… you have to use those things where they serve a purpose, otherwise they’re just a gimmick. You run the risk of it not being taken seriously. We’ll absolutely use it when it makes sense to use it.

PSB: Presumably you’ll be supporting the PS3 version post launch with DLC. Will that also apply to the PS Vita version?
MW: Well, we’ll clarify that when the time comes.

//Add Your Own

77 Comments

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1

+ icurafuse on October 26th, 2012 at 6:04 am said:

Since this is coming out next week, would it be possible to see some official game-play videos? Thanks.


2

+ nathan454257 on October 26th, 2012 at 6:08 am said:

can you buy av cable for the psvita just like the psp dose


3

+ rssephiroth on October 26th, 2012 at 6:09 am said:

Will Need for Speed be part of the cross-buy program? If I missed it in the Q&A above, I’m sorry. I didn’t see it.


4

+ XenonSovereign on October 26th, 2012 at 6:10 am said:

This is something I wish had cross buy


5

+ gerneric123 on October 26th, 2012 at 6:10 am said:

y u no cross buy


6

+ FeLiPe_MachiN3 on October 26th, 2012 at 6:16 am said:

Can we have a demo?


7

+ Gorvi on October 26th, 2012 at 6:16 am said:

I’ll echo the request for some video. I’m incredibly interested in the Vita version, I tend to be the kind of gamer that if I can get the game on the Vita I’ll choose that version every single time.


8

+ LegolElf on October 26th, 2012 at 6:18 am said:

If this had Cross Buy promotion I’d be all over it. But without it, I won’t play either version sadly.


9

+ LiquidMetal14 on October 26th, 2012 at 6:23 am said:

Would it be too much to ask for the day 1 PSN price? A game like Virtues Last Reward was discounted 5 off retail. I would hope this would be the case with NFS.


10

+ buffpotato on October 26th, 2012 at 6:25 am said:

@2 Nope. That’s part of why I’m waiting for the next Vita model. It’s still lacking features my PSP has like video out and the ability to have a battery that lasts longer than 5 hours.


11

+ MrRender on October 26th, 2012 at 6:27 am said:

I’m really excited for this on my vita (Wished it was cross-buy but that program probably came too late). But I have 2 questions.

Q1: Will there be custom soundtracks on the vita.

Q2: Is there any gameplay video?

Can’t wait for Tuesday!


12

+ IronStorm613 on October 26th, 2012 at 6:29 am said:

Really wish this was a cross-buy game. There is no way I can afford both versions at the same time so I will stick with the PS3 version for now. I will get the Vita version, but in time.


13

+ remanutd5 on October 26th, 2012 at 6:33 am said:

Is this game part of the cross buy promotion? if so im getting both versions ( ps3/psvita) if not then i will just be getting the psvita version from now on i will just buy cross buy games on my ps3 with the exceptions of God of War Ascension, The Last of U and Beyond 2 Souls, other than those games i will be buying only vita games from now on.


14

+ bigdaddyxx on October 26th, 2012 at 6:33 am said:

Can i at least see an official video except watching a cam version on youtube.


15

+ BlindsideDork on October 26th, 2012 at 6:35 am said:

Someone told me that PSN says this is a CrossBuy game…confirm, denial?


16

+ aelurio1980 on October 26th, 2012 at 6:38 am said:

How has cross buy, just buy the ps3 same. Buying the same game for the vita does not pay.


17

+ CullenX on October 26th, 2012 at 6:39 am said:

Here is some of the longest footage so far on YouTube. Not the greatest quality, but the game looks fantastic.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRIuhvYqfVo

I still have no idea why there is no official footage. WHY?


18

+ andremal on October 26th, 2012 at 6:42 am said:

No way EA would take their hands out of customer wallets long enough to show a little appreciation with something like Cross Buy. Too bad. I’ll be sticking with the PS3 version.


19

+ jds07 on October 26th, 2012 at 6:53 am said:

Why don’t we still have confirmation on whether this game is a Cross Buy game or not? Only thing I heard so far is the EA is considering doing this offer, but we haven’t heard any thing since then. Right now, it looks like only Playstation exclusives are getting that promotion. Developers need to consider doing this, because not many gamers are going to fall for that buy-the-same-game-twice trick. If cross buy have been successful with movies, it will be successful with the games as well.


20

+ banjo5150 on October 26th, 2012 at 6:55 am said:

Cross Buy would be nice, but I think we are dealing with a very big and ambitious title here. I am sure there was a lot of development time spent on the Vita version. I am so happy that Criterion kept the game development in house on the vita version, and not shove it out to some weak developer. I am all over this game day 1, the Vita version will be the one I need. I can only stomach so much Dancing with the Stars, ect.. of the TV my wife watches. I will be playing NFSMW on Vita beside her on the couch.


21

+ KazeEternal on October 26th, 2012 at 6:57 am said:

Cross Buy please?


22

+ Godchild1020 on October 26th, 2012 at 7:02 am said:

@15, The PSN states that content bought from the PSN can be used on 2 PS3s and 2 portable consoles. That information is posted on all descriptions posted on the PSN store. The only real content that can be accessed across all 4 systems are movies and songs, but not every game. In reality Need for Speed Most Wanted is different from the PS3 version; they don’t even share Save Data, just Speed Points and you can earn those points from playing the mobile version on your Iphone or android device. If I’m not mistaken.

I’m picking up both versions. I’m not going to say I don’t want or care for Cross-Buy, but I understand, at least in my own opinion way EA won’t do it. I would take a discount for buying both, like Sony did with MLB The Show.


23

+ supermoc10 on October 26th, 2012 at 7:10 am said:

I wish this had Cross Buy but I’m not surprised knowing EA. Anyway, glad you guys worked so hard on making the Vita version on par with the PS3/360 version. I’m planning on buying the Vita version only but why don’t you guys make a bundle on PSN with the Ps3 and Vita version? It could cost $80 like the MLB one.


24

+ MassaBR on October 26th, 2012 at 7:15 am said:

It’s a shame that with all the hard work done by Criterion to get this game running on the Vita EA’s PR and marketing departments have been completely inept and unable to provide a single video, or more than just the same two screenshots of the game. Wasn’t there an intern available to capture some footage? *sigh*


25

+ MassaBR on October 26th, 2012 at 7:16 am said:

(sorry for the double post)

Anyway, I trust Criterion and will pick it up on PSN as soon as I get my $20 back from October’s promotion.


26

+ Godchild1020 on October 26th, 2012 at 7:17 am said:

I think Cross-buy is a waste of money for Sony, unless they find a way to implement it correctly. If they go the voucher route, most PS3 users that buy the PS3 version, that don’t own a Vita will sell the voucher to make money off of it. They have every right to do so after they made the purchase, but it is a potential lost sale for Sony. Unless they just plan on seller the PS3 version to make up for the lost sales of the Vita version.

If they go the route that the content is already on the disc and has to be downloaded on to the PS3 and then moved to the Vita, now that is the best way to do it. Similar to the way you got Dead Space: Extraction off the PS3 disc of Dead Space 2. The smartest thing I’ve seen EA do in a long time.

I’m sure there are better ways, I’m just expressing my opinion.


27

+ KirAMinh on October 26th, 2012 at 7:20 am said:

There is no CrossBuy . Dont waste your time to ask so many the same 1 question like that . I meant if there thing gonna happen, SONY and EA will announce very soon early – like the way UBISOFT already did with AS III & Lady Liberty.

But : Cant wait to 31/10 (my local timezone) to buy this awesome game!


28

+ lPHOENIXZEROl on October 26th, 2012 at 7:33 am said:

Hey, Sony and EA, we know you’re watching and you see how most of the posts here are about this one subject so just answer the question! A simple yes or no would suffice and whomever copied and pasted those terms on the PS Store to bring about this renewed speculation would need to be smacked. If Sony/EA was doing this then it would seem it would have been promoted weeks ago unless there was some agreement in place to not promote this before launch (due possibly to deals with MS) but if that’s the case then runs the risk of POing thousands and that doesn’t seem to be a good idea, especially IF by some far out chance it’s happening but only for the DD release, never mind mind Vita and PS3 owners who decided to skip the PS3 version and pre-ordered it for just Vita, granted I’m sure the Vita pre-orders are small and Sony does seem to like to anger customers on a regular basis…


29

+ Godchild1020 on October 26th, 2012 at 7:40 am said:

I take my comment back (comment 21). They only have that description on content that are cross compatible. Need for speed Most wanted might be Cross-buy. I checked on content that can only be played on PS3 and they state just 2 consoles, nothing about portable consoles and then I checked Cross-buy items (Retro City Rampage), it mentions 2 console systems and 2 portable systems.

I still stand by my comment 25.

I think Cross-buy is a waste of money for Sony, unless they find a way to implement it correctly. If they go the voucher route, most PS3 users that buy the PS3 version, that don’t own a Vita will sell the voucher to make money off of it. They have every right to do so after they made the purchase, but it is a potential lost sale for Sony. Unless they bank on the PS3 version selling like hot cakes to make up for the lost sales of the Vita version?

If they go the route that the content is already on the disc and has to be downloaded on to the PS3 and then moved to the Vita, now that is the best way to do it. Similar to the way you got Dead Space: Extraction off the PS3 disc of Dead Space 2. The smartest thing I’ve seen EA do in a long time.

I’m sure there are better ways, I’m just expressing my opinion.


30

+ Zezzler on October 26th, 2012 at 7:46 am said:

This looks like something I’d be very interested in!

While It’s a shame at the missed opportunities with Cross-play and Cross-save, having the full Most Wanted, Open world experience on the go is VERY appealing!

I’d love to pick up and play this on the bus or while watching some netflix, that’s for sure!
Thanks a million Criterion! You are one of the best development teams. period! Can’t wait to pick this game up.


31

+ LiquidMetal14 on October 26th, 2012 at 8:04 am said:

Just got back from the EU blog and Fred Dutton was kind enough to at least answer some questions. Pointed me right back here and said to mention him sending me here :P

I asked what I asked here on pricing for PS+ members on the Vita version and some actual Vita footage. All we have right now is some convention camera stuff which looks good but by no means is direct feed.

I don’t care about the little compromises that have been made like missing effects or slightly less particles, I just want to see how it runs. Better to have this stuff before the game comes out. Especially if EA wants people more excited about this seemingly great Vita port.

I know it’s not on the blog to post everything as you’re supplied with content but you should push for more than simple words and let us see it. Fred mentioned some footage maybe in time for next week but that could be post release and while that will be nice for fence sitters, it’s always better to try and market/sell your game PRE release. Thanks :)


32

+ B-Badd on October 26th, 2012 at 8:33 am said:

Glad to see the power of the PS Vita bring near PS3 quality games on the go. Sure sounds like a tag line but if this game measures up to the console version then I’ll save little and get the Vita version. The holiday market is full with great game on both PS3 and PS Vita.


33

+ guitarded77 on October 26th, 2012 at 9:06 am said:

So is it cross-buy or not? Just finished reading a story where they said US digital download may be cross buy.

http://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fplayfront.de%2Fneed-for-speed-most-wanted-cross-buy-fur-vorbesteller-bestatigt%2F


34

+ lPHOENIXZEROl on October 26th, 2012 at 9:07 am said:

@30 LiquidMetal14

At least he’s active over there, would be nice if the US end wasn’t avoiding this entry or the previous one like the plague and give us answers.


35

+ Reluctant-Hero on October 26th, 2012 at 9:22 am said:

“We’ll use the touch screen for changing music tracks and in some parts of the interface but the rest of it… you have to use those things where they serve a purpose, otherwise they’re just a gimmick. You run the risk of it not being taken seriously. We’ll absolutely use it when it makes sense to use it.” – Matt Webster

And with that, I’m sold. I’ll be downloading NFS:MW straight to my Vita as soon as it’s available on PSN next Tuesday.


36

+ SiloEyes on October 26th, 2012 at 9:22 am said:

From what he’s saying over there, it sounds as though EA just doesn’t want to hand over any footage to Sony to use for marketing. Which, to me, just makes it seem as though EA isn’t very confident in the game and that worries me.


37

+ Busca-Cabezas on October 26th, 2012 at 9:43 am said:

Only Cross-Play feature I see here are the Speed Points. This kinda pushes me to go with the better, bigger, full and complete version of the game at launch, the PS3 version. I might give teh PSVita version a try when its price get dropped. Maybe a PS+ Discount? Oh and btw, it was about time we went under the hood for the PSVita version. :P


38

+ Tigerriot on October 26th, 2012 at 10:00 am said:

Give us a gameplay video.


39

+ XFRod on October 26th, 2012 at 10:17 am said:

Now for something completely different: An actual question about the game, itself.

I realize the multi-player races will be played via wifi. However, if you’re not connected to a wifi spot, will the game use the 3g connection to still show stuff like your friend’s best times and, all of the other great autolog features?

I can understand why it would need the wifi for multiplayer but, can’t imagine why auto log in general couldn’t be accomplished via 3g.


40

+ lPHOENIXZEROl on October 26th, 2012 at 10:25 am said:

Check YT for footage, there’s a bit there. IMO the problem w/the PSV version is that it’s not a “must buy” for most PS3&PSV owners. EA knows so they’d put more effort in promoting the versions that are actually going to sell.

As for how it’s not cross-play and therefore CB wouldn’t happen because of that, I think that isn’t a actual factor here. This is still, as I think Webster said in another interview, 98% the same game. I imagine only reason Autolog wasn’t integrated across both is those concessions creating an uneven setting along with a few other differences.SP working across all platforms is enough.

Would be nice if EA or Sony would just come out and say if the PS Store terms on MW2012 are a mistake or not. If not then it better happen with the physical version as well. Totally achievable with the online pass and putting it on disc w/a occasional license refresh needed.

Unfortunately, Sony really sucks at communication, especially since someone apparently called their CS and the rep said it would. They need to address this before the 30th or hell, it should have been addressed back when they announced here that MW2012 would be up on the store for pre-order.


41

+ akibake on October 26th, 2012 at 10:30 am said:

I would love to have this on my Vita, but without cross-buy, I’ll choose the PS3 version, not both.


42

+ aro52 on October 26th, 2012 at 10:36 am said:

I’m all over this because of one thing: The shared [cross-game] skill points. This is what Black Ops Declassified should of been.


43

+ NeoRaidenX on October 26th, 2012 at 10:49 am said:

I’ve never played a Need for Speed game before, but if it’s anything like Burnout, I’ll definately get this. I wholeheartedly agree to your answers to the blog questions, and commend you for ambitiously attempting to replicate the console experience on the handheld and not dumbing it down.

Sounds great, but I’m still skeptical about the graphics and such. I want to see some gameplay running on the Vita before I make the decision.


44

+ bgardner on October 26th, 2012 at 10:53 am said:

well im getting both ps3 and vita version this game will rock.


45

+ boxmyth on October 26th, 2012 at 11:10 am said:

I’m really looking forward to Need for Speed: Burnout. Having it on the Vita is just awesome, and it’ll hopefully keep me awake during my long Christmas flights.
Criterion forever.


46

+ WilburMonkey on October 26th, 2012 at 11:23 am said:

Thanks for the great interview! That last NFS I played was the original Hot Pursuit on PC, and I am really hoping to pick this up, along with AC3L and Ragnarok Odyssey. But is a little unnerving that relatively little information and media have been released for any of them, never mind any pre-release reviews!

Still, I am tremendously hopeful. There are already many awesome experiences on Vita, and I hope the rest of will discover that on October 30!


47

+ WilburMonkey on October 26th, 2012 at 11:25 am said:

Thanks for the great interview! That last NFS I played was the original Hot Pursuit on PC, and I am really hoping to pick this up, along with AC3L and Ragnarok Odyssey. But it is a little unnerving that relatively little information and media have been released for any of them, never mind any pre-release reviews!

Still, I am tremendously hopeful. There are already many awesome experiences on Vita, and I hope the rest of the world will discover that on October 30!

(now with editing!)


48

+ losyak85 on October 26th, 2012 at 12:27 pm said:

“We’ll use the touch screen for changing music tracks and in some parts of the interface but the rest of it… you have to use those things where they serve a purpose, otherwise they’re just a gimmick. You run the risk of it not being taken seriously. We’ll absolutely use it when it makes sense to use it.”

Wonderfully said!


49

+ tusunami on October 26th, 2012 at 1:23 pm said:

So from reading this article i see there’s no cross buy for this. Why ?


50

+ Kedaro on October 26th, 2012 at 2:16 pm said:

Yea i wish more companies would help Sony launch the cross-buy feature as a standard, even if it was another $10 on top of original game it would still rake in extra game sales, which promotes extra sales, which promotes in turn extra sales…. and then… again… rinse repeat…
You could restrict it for people that pre-order ‘digital’ (like I did), after hearing about a potential cross buy feature on this. However it was a rumored cross buy feature never confirmed, and I still would have pre-ordered anyway, All rumors aside, I can’t honestly say that I ‘wasn’t’ excited for the possibility.


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