Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Hands-On

The Burnout team takes on Need for Speed in what promises to be a return to the series' arcade roots.

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Criterion Games, the developer behind the Burnout series, is the latest studio to take on the Need for Speed franchise with Hot Pursuit. Following on from Slightly Mad Studio's racing sim Need for Speed: Shift, Hot Pursuit will return to the arcade gameplay of the original games in the series. At its core, it's cops versus racers--one player chases, the other tries to get away--which is wrapped in all the style, explosiveness, and online-centric features we've come to expect from the studio. We got a chance to hear about Criterion's vision for the project on a recent visit to the Guildford studio, as well as play the creators at the game.

Our preview event was a refreshingly creative affair, with Craig Sullivan, Criterion's enthusiastic and outspoken creative director, using toy cars and hastily scribbled diagrams to outline the core mechanics behind the game. He frequently mentioned his love of the original Need for Speed on 3DO, an experience that he described as "f***ing cool", despite having to go to a friend's house to play it. It's a feeling shared by the rest of the studio, and it led Criterion to approach EA about tackling a Need for Speed game, rather than the other way around.

Recounting the story, Sullivan still seems genuinely surprised that the megapublisher agreed. With the license secured, the studio was keen to apply Criterion's core values to the series. Sullivan claims that regardless of whether Criterion was making a game about "racing, jelly, or hang gliding," it should always be "fun [and] accessible" and "favour the player." For Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, that means "getting to the good stuff really quickly," with Sullivan explaining that the cars in the game will start at "hot" and then just keep getting hotter.

The game focuses on two different playable classes--the cop and the racer. The relationship will be "like a dog chasing down a rabbit," according to Sullivan. He said, "We want the racer to feel like the rabbit, and the cop to feel like the dog." Like the dog, the cop is more powerful--not only will police cars be faster, they also won't take damage. Racers actually have it pretty tough in comparison--they'll have more speed and stealth-related power-ups, but they'll take damage every time a cop car hits them. Like the rabbit, the racer should feel vulnerable to attack and will have to outsmart the cop to survive.

Unlike the dog and the rabbit, though, these two classes have access to a host of power-ups to help them hunt their prey or escape intact. The cop can call in roadblocks and helicopter support, drop a spike strip, or send out an electromagnetic pulse that reverses the racer's controls. The racer, meanwhile, can use a cloak, a decoy car, and a radar jammer to throw the cops off his tail, while the nitrous boost will take you "faster than you've ever been in a Need for Speed game." Given Criterion's expertise in destructibility, it was no surprise to see a crash replay when the cop takes down the racer. Sullivan promises to take this "100 times further" in the finished game.

Given the fact that Criterion pushed the online racing genre in Burnout Paradise, it's no surprise to find that Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit will be a highly connected game. There'll be persistent progression, so whether you play online or off, you'll always be unlocking new cars. You'll also be able to play eight-player games online in any combination of cops versus robbers--you could have one racer trying to escape seven cops, or vice versa. The developer wasn't talking about the online modes in depth at this stage, but we expect to hear more in the run up to release.

Another potentially revolutionary aspect of the online package is Autolog, which allows you to connect, compare and compete with your friends. When you're logged into the network, a Facebook-esque friends stream provides you with info on what your contacts have been up to. It then advises you of what to play based on this activity, recommending players with similar tastes, for example.

Our visit allowed us to go hands-on with the game, playing against Criterion as both the cop and the robber. The only level we got to play was called Seacrest County, and was set on an autumnal mountain road. It's another North American-inspired location for Criterion, but the look was much more toned down compared to Burnout Paradise. We had a successful run as both the racer and the cop. We managed to use the racer's e-brake to do a 180-degree turn and throw the cop. Then, we simply used the radar jam to hide and win. If the racer can hold out for around 10 to 15 seconds without having the cop see him, then he wins the round. As the cop, we combined the vehicle's extra horsepower and a series of roadblocks to chase the racer and eventually rammed him to destruction.

EA has given the game a November 16, 2010 release date for North America, and on November 19, 2010 in Europe. There will also be a Wii version, although it will be developed by Exient, rather than Criterion. Be sure to keep an eye on e3.gamespot.com for more on Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit as we get it, as well as all the coverage from the show direct from Los Angeles.

Discussion

260 comments
Hidden_Ace
Hidden_Ace

@blisster22 nope, just watched the video if i remember correctly :P my apologies lol

Dipto24
Dipto24

Hot Pursuit 2 was a GREAT game,so I Think This One Will Be More BIGGER.

indzman
indzman

I'm getting this NFS as its being developed by Burnout Makers :D

mw2hardcore
mw2hardcore

raptorone3. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

mw2hardcore
mw2hardcore

since prostreet,NFS has taken a turn for the worse. but with this game, i think they're finally back on the fast lane of cops and racers.

blisster22
blisster22

@Hidden_Ace Did you even read the article? "You'll also be able to play eight-player games online in any combination of cops versus robbers--you could have one racer trying to escape seven cops, or vice versa."

War_Chiefs
War_Chiefs

that RaptorOne3 is obviously a w#nker..everyone who plays arcade games are morons?well i like them and im not.needs to get knocked out for a bein a complete idiot hate when knobs come on to the games they supposedly hate and then try to tell people they're uneducated and morons cause they have a different oppinion to them.talk about having too much time on your hands...gobsh!te But this game needs a story or something.even if its not a big one.just a certain background i hope so its not just pure random races

nsag
nsag

wtf NO STORY only multyplayer!,then no buy for me !! lets hope some one from thepiratebay posts this game cuz i don't want to waste my money on this GAME !!

sakshamH
sakshamH

This is the Need For speed

SanAnFan
SanAnFan

Hot Pursuit 2 was my favorite out of all the Need for Speeds. So excited for this! Whoop!:)

maverick_76
maverick_76

Now this is Need for Speed, they should have never taken this game anywhere but here. Street racing and outlaw driving is the heart of this series.

BossmanX
BossmanX

Well, might as well throw this out there @RaptorOne3 Right on brother...right up to the point where you went crazy. I can understand where you're coming from, I would prefer sim over arcade also. But you also have to look at where you're posting, I know you miss the days of Road and Tracks NFS and NFS 2. I spent countless hours pushing the elite super cars of the day to the edge, and that at the time was the closest you got to a simulator. But you should have known after the tuner crowd got a hold of the series that it was different. Please tuner crowd don't crucify me, the series is now arcade is all I'm saying. There are plenty of sims out there, this is not one of them, but it does seem like Criterion is trying to make it a little more accessible to everyone. It should be a fun game and I look forward to playing it. Sometimes its fun to let loose a little and do something completely unrealistic.

DaGamer24-7
DaGamer24-7

Anyone know if it will have local multiplayer splitscreen?

Hidden_Ace
Hidden_Ace

Well i've always liked Need For Speed since number 3 (NFS: High Stakes / Road Challenge i think it was called). There's a few new negatives on this NFS = Not being able to customise your vehicle the slightest seems like a stupid move. (Designing my vehicles with body kits etc. was one of the things i loved about NFS) and not many new positives (Apart from being a cop). And I'm just hoping to god, online races and chases wont just be 1v1 (The only videos i've seen so far have been 1 cop catching 1 racer). So i got mixed feelings about this game at the moment. I hope you can understand what i mean.

RiksK15
RiksK15

@RaptorOne3 Dude! Did you get dropped on head, when you were a kid? Looking forwards Hot Pursuit, I remember how much I liked the old Hot Pursuit 2!!!

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

I just hope this game will have an interested and well developed single player career - unlike Burnout Paradise which seemed to only cater for the online crowd and had no single player career to speak of. I lost a lot of faith in Criterion after that... PS. @ RaptorOne3...clearly you have issues. With the exception of Shift, NFS has always been an arcade racing series, so if you hate arcade racing so much, why are you even reading about this game? Live and let live, buddy. I hate FPS games, so I avoid them. I don't go into articles about Halo or Medal of Honor and start insulting people because they don't share my tastes. Get over yourself, and maybe see a therapist to find out where all this anger is coming from. Just an idea...

Megasus_
Megasus_

@RaptorOne3 I don't know who you think you are here, but you have no more a right to love or hate a genre than anybody else. If you're doing this to sound professional around gamespot, then I would suggest making some real contributions, ones that don't include crying about how your new need for speed game isn't a simulator. They're two different kinds of games, and nobody is going to put two in one, so quit whining and shut up about it.

Elrax
Elrax

@RaptorOne3 I read your first post, didn't bother to read the rest. I got to say you got some points, however the way you're commenting about it is so offensive people will definitely react to it. Some of them even seem like spam since they're multiple complaints one after the other. No offense, but if you're going to complain don't make yourself look like a whiner. But I do agree, we should see more realistic options in racing games. But this genre is not meant for it. The genre of Burnout is Arcade Racing, which most racing games are these days, whilst GT is Driving Simulation. I like both, I have fun with both, but I gotta admit I love Gran Turismo, no racing game will change my mind. They should, however, make what you've described into a new genre all together. Away from all that. I'm interested and pretty hyped for this game. I've always enjoyed NFS and Burnout. I dunno whether to go for PC or Xbox360 for this one, lol.

hotrider12
hotrider12

yeah!!!!!! what ash2197 said no one is asking u to like ARCADE racing.

ash2197
ash2197

@RaptorOne3 Dude... why are you on this page?? go and cry to GTR or whatever.

RaptorOne3
RaptorOne3

I'm fed up with morons like you who continue to support sub-par game development. You're ruining the gaming market. Seriously. But anyway, I'll stick to my simulation games, you enjoy your pathetic little arcade game pal. As a person of your standards, I'm sure you will...

RaptorOne3
RaptorOne3

As a consumer you should be pushing these game developers to actually do some friggin WORK. The pace things are at right now, dude, all they do is remodel some of the vehicles, copy over coding, make some new tracks, change the story and slap together another childish arcade racer that lasts a good 2 months before everyone starts realizing how lame it actually is... lol... That's because childish consumers, such as yourself, don't care about quality. You love blowing your money on garbage. Nothing has changed with these games for YEARS. They are all the same crap with slightly different designs to deter you from the truth... WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!

RaptorOne3
RaptorOne3

You're kidding right? Clearly you know NOTHING about racing simulations... You clearly also do not like simulation games. If you don't enjoy changing and tuning the setups on cars then you're definitely not simulation material. That's when those nifty little arcade OPTIONS would come in handy. For nooBs like you.@ shobiz1 The only high-quality racing simulation games are made from SimBin... If you disagree, then instead of spewing more uneducated NON-SENSE, I'd like you to show me a link/URL to ANY racing SIMULATION game created by ANY other developer produced RECENTLY... The key word there is simulation of course. Games like BurnOut, SplitSecond, NFSWorld are absolutely NOT simulation games. They are pathetic excuses for childish arcade games. SimBin is pretty much the only serious racing SIMULATION developer. No one can get it as close as they have. And I mean NO ONE... And it's slowly becomming clear that no one else ever will. It seems the childish arcade market is just too quick and lucrative for game developers to focus on quality all around products. You want to play a GOOD racing game? Take a look at GTR:Evolution. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/driving/gtrevolution/video/6193364/gtr-evolution-official-trailer-1 There is NO REASON why we can't have 1 game with options for both simulation AND arcade style racing. None at all. It's pathetic. If you disagree there then you have some serious issues as a consumer.

hotrider12
hotrider12

way to go shobiz1 i knew i could count on u lol (SHIFT) i almost bought shift thank GOD i downloaded the demo first, at first it was ok but daaum unlocking the koeggingg was hard as hell beating the time was not easy. viper was ssssslllooowww far as beating the time sec.lap 1:29 sec always came in 1:34 sec. @ gogogogurt thanks man, it would be nice to have a HOT chick flagging the race at start. if HOTPURSUIT had a list like in mostwanted i would pass it up.

shobiz1
shobiz1

And the only thing wrong with 'need'for'speed' /^shift was the difficulty in getting the car to handle right with all the upgrades. I was forced to try 50 different set ups and write them down to figure out which combinations made the car handle better. And then not having slots to save set ups for different tracks was too much of a hassle and pissedme off so i traded it in.

shobiz1
shobiz1

sorry but codemasters and sinbinn are garbage race sims. I think they may have had something to do with dirt and that was an amazng *rally* sim but when they added pavement on the tracks it didnt feel right.

shobiz1
shobiz1

Can you say burnout paradise ????

RaptorOne3
RaptorOne3

Yea I don't know. I really do not understand why they are continuing along the EXTREME arcadism path. Power-Ups and crash-derby style racing has long been tossed aside by the consumer, in my opinion. These new need for speed games remind me of Mario Kart for N64! And in essence it pretty much is the exact same thing except it has pretty graphics, oo00oo. It's absolutely pathetic... I just hope n pray I'm not the only one who sees this absolutely neglegent trend in thier "developement"... Seems more like they are trying to dismantle the NFS title to me... They definitely aren't bringing anything new and exciting to the table, aside from better looking graphics. Seriously... I don't understand what is so hard about giving us the OPTIONS to change how we would prefer to play the game. Some people prefer settings tuned more for Arcade, others prefer the game to be tuned for Simulation. Give use the options to do exactly that! It's REALLY not that hard. Look at all the games released by SimBin and Codemasters. All brilliant! They all have those arcade/simulation options that make the game so ground breaking. NFS is on a sad sad downward slope of over commercialization aimed at children. It seems to me that they are desperately trying to target the youth lately. Which is confusing to me. At this point, with the development that has been accomplished on these game engines, why in the WORLD would they target a specific audience? They should be catering to the WHOLE crowd. It's seriously not that hard to add realism into a racing game but at the same time allow for arcade options for those who are less adept at driving simulation style games... I will be passing on all the latest games from Electronic Arts. They are all looking to be extremely UNDERDEVELOPED... Grow some brains guys.

GOGOGOGURT
GOGOGOGURT

They should have some hot chick before the start screen telling you to drive safely in real life like they did in the underground and most wanted games. I always got a kick out of that.

GOGOGOGURT
GOGOGOGURT

@hotrider12 Strongly agree with you on that one dude!

hotrider12
hotrider12

why do NFS always need a story??? see what happen to mostwanted story.. EA spent millions of dollars for actors to make a story and it FLOP!! here's a story: press start an GOOOOOOO! cops do the rest there's your story. AH! yeah good ol days of press and go return. no story,no blacklist to climb,no auto-script (in carbon) just ZOOM!!

klanny
klanny

I hope they pack it with some good story loved to play hot persuit on ps1.... good old times!

SteelCurtainX
SteelCurtainX

@Hot Pursuit 3 replies: I think they didn't want to name it HP3 because it would give everyone the idea that a continuous flow of sub-par NFS games would still be made. This is a 100% reboot of the franchise, so they're renaming it after one of the first games that started the "hot pursuit craze," as well as the one that Criterion developers fell in love with.

hotrider12
hotrider12

your right shobiz1 seem like cops wait til ur at max speed then BAM!! road blocker or spike stripe. to this day i still play ps1 hotpursuit an ps2 hotpursuit 2

shobiz1
shobiz1

If any of you actually played The original hot pursuit you know how much potential this game has. i played that game for 2 years. before online multiplayer existed!!!! Excellent racer A.I. and the police chases were always different with road blocks and road spikes being thrown out by the cops in random places around corners trying to fool you...... Good Times

shobiz1
shobiz1

This game is going to be amazing. Just look at "BP aka Burnout paradice". The best racing game ever made.. If you dont agree with that then this game isn't for you.. Besides Criterion approached ea to make this game not the other way aroud. Criterion devs were talking about taking the franchise back to its roots.

shobiz1
shobiz1

Are all of you stoopid? Criterion releases a few seconds of gameplay and tell you that there will be turbo boost or something like nitrous for the racers and road spikes for the cops and every one freaks out saying this game will be shiiit. Well ive actually been chased by cops on my streetbike and went to jail and they do have that kind of power.

shobiz1
shobiz1

The cops power ups are road spikes and helicopters that drop road spikes or road blocks.. That sounds badazzzz!!!!!!

shobiz1
shobiz1

I hate haters who dont even know what they are talking about and just want to hate everything because they think that their 12 year old minds know all..hahaha idiots...

darkboy90
darkboy90

@BallisstiXXX Exotics are okay but tuners/ricers you can do so much more with those like upgrading every engine part and turn them into a real racing beast not like exotics. Exotics are just expensive pretty and fast cars. I rather take a ricer and tune it to beat an exotic.

HangATeddy
HangATeddy

need for speed hot pursuit 2 are the best need for speed game ive ever played. i really hope this game will be good..

hotrider12
hotrider12

and i hate agreeing with anyone on here BUT he got me

hotrider12
hotrider12

@darkboy90 i seriously hate to agree with u but i must. THE POWER-UPS, COPS TAKE NO-DAMAGES its like street legal TANKS we speeders role with the hits and cops keep moving on like nothing hit them. i'll have to agree with darkboy 90. im sorry guys this round i have to agree . unless more video can prove us wrong!!

BallisstiXXX
BallisstiXXX

@darkboy90 What's wrong with Exotic cars? They are WAY better then ricers.

darkboy90
darkboy90

I thought Criterion would help make the franchise better but they didn't they just the franchise more horrible. Power ups this are you kidding this is not blur people. Exotic cars at the beginning of the game thats a no no. Cops don't take damage while playing as a racer takes damage how fair is that. I was expecting a most wanted 2 from them but they just ruined that dream. The game does look pretty but I want a racing game with a story and good racing. I'm not buying this garbage.

hotrider12
hotrider12

why are we voteing down on these guys who hate our ideals?? of this game?? can someone tell us the truth??

hotrider12
hotrider12

the real qustion is: WHY EA took sooo fking long to make this game??? it's not like they did'nt have the money with blackbox studio... sooo whats really going on with this deal ?? too damn supsicious for me.

truevar
truevar

somebody needs to remake motorcity online