Need for Speed Undercover developer interview

Need for Speed Undercover developer interview

9th May 2009 - Find out how the downloadable content sped on to the scene of Need For Speed Undercover thanks to an interview with the game's Producer, Scott Nielsen.

Can you give us a run down of all the Need For Speed Undercover downloadable content?

The Challenge Series Expansion features two levels of difficulty - Street and Pro - with a Bronze, Silver and Gold event in each level for a total of 60 unique events. There are ten game mode themes: Sprint, Checkpoint, Outrun, Circuit, Highway Battle, Cost to State, Escape, Takedown, Highway Wars and Highway Checkpoint. Players are able to earn up to three free Reward Cars. One after completing Street level - Battle Machine from Pro Street, one after completing Pro level - Speed Machine, and one after dominating at least 31 events - Dominator.

Players are able to use these cars in both online or offline events in their career mode. Each event is raced in a preset custom ride with all cars having Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS). Players will have to complete the first 30 events in order to unlock the Pro Level of difficulty. We have created a Summary Screen so that you can quickly see which events they need to race next or simply keep track of the races they have dominated. 

What would you recommend from all of this for newcomers to NFSU?

The Challenge Series Expansion is actually a very competitive series of events. I would recommend that newcomers to Need for Speed Undercover spend some time playing through the career, getting comfortable with how each individual car handles and accelerates. After this, spend a little bit of time in some online races and, once you think you have reached a pretty advanced skill level, give the Challenge Series a try. We've purposely tuned things to be quite challenging for our fans... thus the name Challenge Series.

What were the most important things to capture and portray in the downloadable content?

From a franchise standpoint, it is the idea that we are going to be supporting Need for Speed titles post-launch going forward. From a game perspective, I think we wanted to try and take a generous cross section of the game and create something a little more challenging for the average player. There is a good sampling of all the race modes, plus two new ones, all the cop modes and of course you will be able to drive almost all of the fastest cars in the game all performance-tuned to the max.

Players are also rewarded for both their investment in time as well as their skill level by playing through, completing and hopefully dominating the Challenge Series events. The Reward Cars gained should be extremely competitive in the online space... I expect to see cars like the CCX being brought down on the online leaderboards.

What's your personal favourite element of the new content?

For me, without a doubt, it is the challenge of the events. There's a fine line between frustration and addiction and I think we've managed to straddle that extremely well. There's a very natural difficulty progression between all of the events in the Bronze, Silver and Gold as well as the Street and Pro Levels. In fact some of the Pro events are extremely difficult but I can guarantee you that they are beatable.

The other part of the Challenge Series Expansion that I really like are the two new game modes - Highway Wars and Highway Checkpoint. Based on all the positive feedback we got back on the Highway Battle mode, we tried to offer players more opportunity to interact with the dense traffic found on the highways. There are so many things going on at such a rapid pace that you have to be firing on all cylinders in order to win.

How did you come to decide what would be in the expansion and how do you prioritise it?

We really just wanted to give back to our loyal fans. Sixty unique events and three reward cars is a lot of content and took the work of a very dedicated team to make it happen. On top of that, it's free. Fans can expect at least seven to ten hours of additional gameplay with the Challenge Series Expansion. Players will see more laps in the Circuit races, more cops to takeout, more CTS to rack up and the list goes on. The end result is what the title suggests; it's a challenge. I am very excited to see the new cars online and see them at the top of the Leaderboards. Look out owners of the CCX... there are a bunch of new cars coming to take you on!

What's been the most challenging element to in creating the expansion?

To be honest, I think it is the difficulty tuning and balance. We've purposely created a Challenge Series that is tough for the average player to win, but definitely achievable with some dedication and patience. As I mentioned before, you walk a fine line when tuning the events... we wanted to make it challenging enough that people become addicted to the rush and can't put the Wireless Controller down until they beat a certain event that might be giving them a fit. Again, that can't turn into a frustrating experience so it's a very fine line to walk. We've done extensive focus testing on the Challenge Series with all varieties of driver skills and think we've come through with just that - an addicting, rewarding and very challenging experience.

I hope everyone really enjoys it and gets addicted to the challenge. I really look forward to seeing the times people are running in the events and the feedback that everyone has on the whole Series as well as the reward cars.

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