Need for Speed: Most Wanted interview: Criterion producer, Leanne Loombe

PC World goes hands on with the latest build of Need for Speed: Most Wanted and talks to the producer of the game

Criterion producer, Leanne Loombe

Criterion producer, Leanne Loombe

Electronic Arts recently held a Need for Speed: Most Wanted preview event in Sydney, allowing the media to go hands on with the latest builds of the game for Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita and iPad. The console version of the game takes an open world approach reminiscent of the developer’s earlier game, Burnout Paradise, which allows for a different style of gameplay compared to 2010's Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. The online multiplayer demo was only available and was fun to play, though that meant there was no opportunity to try any of the single player gameplay.

The single player gameplay was instead available on the PlayStation Vita port of the game. Unlike Electronic Arts’ past NFS efforts on the PlayStation Portable, which were often heavily watered down offerings compared to their consoles counterparts, this is a straight up port of the console game. Apart from a few visual bells and whistles missing from the console game, the Vita version is a near perfect port. Special mentioned should be made of the iPad version of the game, which retains the linear racing mechanic of past tablet instalments but ramps up the visual quality. On the new iPad in particular the game was graphically impressive.

For a seemingly long time, people have often talked about Criterion being the perfect choice to take over the NFS franchise, and that happened with Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit in 2010 and now with NFS: Most Wanted. Could you provide an insight into how this partnership came about?

Criterion producer, Leanne Loombe (LL): I can’t really give any specifics. The first NFS we did was in 2010 with NFS: Hot Pursuit, and that was an award winning title. So when it came down to what we were going to do next, we chose to do NFS: Most Wanted. The premise was really important to us, about becoming the most wanted. So that’s why we chose that NFS to do next.

Criterion’s NFS: Hot Pursuit had the same title as an earlier game in the series, Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit, thought twelve years had passed and two generations of consoles. Considering that the NFS: Most Wanted only came out in 2005 on the current Xbox 360 console, why not call it Most Wanted 2?

LL: Because it is not a sequel. We also don’t make sequels to other people’s games. It’s a re-imagining, or our take, on Most Wanted. It is not Most Wanted 2, as that would imply that we are following on the original Most Wanted. We wanted to make it our own, so we kept the name.

What recent NFS games did Criterion turn for inspiration for MW? Or did it mainly rely on its earlier Burnout Paradise game?

LL: Every game we make is a reflection of where we are at the time. Every single game that we have made, we want to bring into each game as well. Most Wanted brings together all the best from Hot Pursuit and marries that all together.

If Criterion did look for previous NFS games, how far did it go back for inspiration? Did you maybe look at Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit or Need for Speed: High Stakes?

LL: We try to do something different every time, so rather than looking back at inspiration, we look forward for inspiration. In 2012, it’s all about friends, online connectivity, and playing with other people. That’s the inspiration we’re looking for rather than looking back at old titles.

If Criterion could make a direct sequel to any NFS games in the entire franchise, which one would it be?

LL: I can’t answer that really.

Finally, any updates on Burnout Paradise 2?

LL: I can’t answer that either. We’re currently focused on Most Wanted, and that’s what we’re here to talk about.

Want to read other video game interviews with key figures from Sony, Microsoft and more? Then check out PC World's complete interview archive.

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Patrick Budmar

1 Comment



Why did she accept the interview if she wasn't interested in talking? Not a very forthcoming interviewee, unfortunately.

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