EA's New Need For Speed A Multi-Studio Effort

Criterion art director Henry LaBounta says that when working on the upcoming racer Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, the studio enlisted significant help from Battlefield house DICE.
Burnout developer Criterion enlisted somewhat unlikely help when working on the high-def versions of the upcoming racer, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. The studio's art director Henry LaBounta said Criterion has been working with the Swedish first-person shooter gurus at fellow Electronic Arts-owned studio DICE to create the new Need for Speed, according to a report on Eurogamer's tech-focused blog Digital Foundry. "It's been a great collaboration, actually," said LaBounta. "Early on we set style guides for what we wanted to create out of this game, to offer players the ability to see a wide variety of types of environments from the deserts to the mountains to the forest to the coastal routes and so forth." The art director said Criterion created all of the roads for the game and tuned the gameplay, then Battlefield developer DICE "took those roads and those style guides and delivered 110 per cent on what we were looking for with the final result." According to the report, the smaller Criterion studio needed additional manpower to create an open world map four times the size of the already-sprawling Burnout Paradise, Criterion's previous effort. Criterion senior engineer Alex Fry explained that there are about 15-25 DICE artists working on Need for Speed. DICE, which also developed Mirror's Edge, has around 200 staff, and is working on projects including the multiplayer portion of the upcoming Medal of Honor reboot. "...We mapped out the rough lay of the land and then DICE, with our art director, went in and turned it into something beautiful," said Fry. He added that some workers from Criterion's Guildford, UK-based studio have been living in Sweden, and some DICE employees from Sweden have come to the UK. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit shares the same name with 1998's Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit, which released on Windows and the original PlayStation. Like the original Hot Pursuit, the new game pits exotic licensed cars against cops with equally fast rides. It's due out this November on Xbox 360, PS3 and Windows, along with a Wii version developed by Exient.

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