The staff at Ten Ton Hammer has always secretly longed to be
world-class race car drivers who thumb their noses not only at their
rivals, but also the police who dare to stop their urban racing
exploits. Naturally, when we heard that the style="font-style: italic;">Need for Speed
franchise was racing
their way into the MMOG market with style="font-style: italic;">Need
for Speed World, we knew that we had to get more details.
that end, we managed to corner Jean-Charles Gaudechon, lead producer
for Need for Speed World,
Dana Sissons, Public Relations, in their garage after sabotaging
Jean-Charles Porsche in order to get some answers.
Ten Ton Hammer: style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Need for
is the first fully funded AAA Racer MMOG. Is this an accurate
description of it?
from the Need for Speed
franchise. I dont want to say that were the first racing
MMOG out there as theres a few in Asia, but that is a valid
description of it.
alt="need for speed world picture"
TTH: What kind of target
you have in mind for the game?
now, were targeting a broad audience. Were
positioning ourselves between casual and simulation so that hard-core
gamers will find a way to really enjoy the game, but we want to make
sure to welcome newcomers to the racing genre. Its a memorable game in
that you have people who love racing, who love the style="font-style: italic;">Need for Speed
franchise, and be
able to play around the world with thousands of people. Right now,
were looking at Need
fans, creating the core player base, which is something we want to
leverage, but we really want to go for a broad audience, both male and
female. Its a terrific title. Its not going to happen
overnight, but thats the specific target.
Ten Ton Hammer: You have
advantage of having
the style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Need
franchise behind you.
There are tons of fans out there for the franchise. This leads to an
interesting point. From my understanding, the game is going to be free
to play. Theres going to be microtransactions. Can you outline
some of the additional services that will be available as
microtransactions and whats included free in the game as well?
Its a hybrid model. Its going to be free to download;
youll be able to download the client for free and youll
be able to play the game for ten levels, but theres
going to be a starter pack which will unlock the whole game. When we
say its free to play, you dont get a free trial; you get
to download the full client and you can play the full game for,
lets say the first 10 to 15 levels. Were not making you
only be able to play for two levels and now you have to pay. You can
choose to stay at level 10, for instance, and keep playing like that.
Basically, its free to play, then becomes a hybrid. Once you buy
the starter pack, it becomes a microtransaction model, which we call
the SpeedBoost, which is the currency we use for
For some examples of microtransactions, we want people to be able to
choose high level cars as fast as they can, but we didnt want to
kill the progression that the players go through. So some things that
we have for microtransactions are being able to rent a high level car
for a certain number of days. You might be level 5 and your friends
might be level 15 and you want to join them for the Porsche Cup for the
weekend, so you can rent a Porsche for two days for a few cents or a
few dollars. We want to keep the prices low. Renting cars is one
example, if you dont want to go through the whole progression
thing if you dont like grinding. Im not saying the game
is about grinding, but theres always a bit of grinding in these
cases when you want to hit next level. You can bypass that by playing
SpeedBoosts. Something important though is that we dont want to
break the balance of the game. If you rent a Porsche and think
youre going to drop into a level 5 race and kill everyone,
thats something that were looking to avoid. Were
going to keep it fair and balanced, whether youre using a
SpeedBoost or not. I digressed a bit, but its important to
mention this when talking about rental cars.
alt="need for speed world picture"
Other example is one of the new game features that weve added is
called power-ups. The game is action racing, so you can add things like
nitrous, which people know, and thatll be a power-up.
Theres going to be a bit of randomness in what you get. I can
explain that a bit more if you want when we talk about gameplay. You
can buy these power-ups so you dont run out of them and you like
them. Again, theyre going to be a few cents. You can get quick
success and easy experience. Its always the same thing, right?
There are people with a lot of money and not a lot of time, and you
have people with lots of time and little money. Were trying to
get both types to play the game.
Ten Ton Hammer: In the
shift towards microtransactions. Obviously, every studio has their own
reasoning behind it. Why has EA Black Box gone this route with style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Need for
honest, the reason for it is the nature of the game, with style="font-style: italic;">Need for Speed World
being an MMOG.
That kind of touches on what you asked about earlier, how broad of an
audience did we want to reach. I think microtransactions will play
really well here with people having money, but not a lot of time.
Its not black and white, but you have different types of gamers
out there, and with Need
World, because it is a massively multiplayer game, we need
include many different people. For us, it makes sense to go with this
model, which will probably evolve over the coming months or year. For
today, this is the model, but well follow how people will play
the game and be flexible. Overall, the microtransaction model is
flexible and we think its a good fit for the style="font-style: italic;">Need for Speed World.
Ten Ton Hammer: Lets get
details about the gameplay. Specifically, how does one level up?
Its pretty straightforward, to be honest with you. There are two
main kinds of gameplay experience. The first is racing, which is the
classic Need for Speed
racing experience, and the other is the cops, where youre
escaping from the cops. The world is going to be populated with cop
cars, which will pursue you. Were currently working on the
pursuit system to make it more exciting. Basically, those are the two
methods to level up; racing and making your way through the world.
Basically right now, its weird to say, but when you feel like
it, you can go and mess with the cops and youll get experience
from doing that too!
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there
there is, but weve been changing it as we go along. Right now,
were keeping it low for the sake of the beta test.
Ton Hammer: How much gameplay,
as a rough
guess, would you say it would take to get to the maximum level from
Thats what were trying to tune right now. I really
dont have an answer for that right now. What were
focusing on right now is for the first two or three hours to be awesome
and allow players to get a really good grasp of the game. Were
balancing the game economy and the difficulty to get the newcomer, the
casual player, experienced and hard-core. So, were going after
the experience versus time to make sense. Obviously, youre
always going to have the hard-core gamer who will kill the game in a
week. We have a huge world, the biggest one that weve done, and
were pretty proud of that. People will always find a way to get
through the game quickly. You know, the Taiwanese kid wholl be
level 80 in a day and a half, and hes got three guilds helping
him, and you go, ok, thats cool. Theres
nothing you can really do about that. What you can do is make sure that
the casual gamer and the experienced gamer are having a good time and
can play the game for a long time.
I think you also meant to touch upon in your question is the end-game
and is there enough to keep playing the game. Do you want me to answer
alt="need for speed world"
Ten Ton Hammer: Yeah, and
touches on this
question too. How much of the content is single player versus how much
Its roughly the same, perhaps a bit more for a single player.
Every race can be run either single player or multi-player; you can
play multi-player competitive or play multi-player with some friends.
Thats something thats not in right now, but will be in an
upcoming release, where you can invite your friends and just race with
them. Every race gives you this option. Some sprints, some circuit, and
if you add the pursuit to that, its also single player
experience for now, but were going to push hard for multi-player
The second answer to that is that were planning on supporting
the game for multiple years with regular content updates. Were
looking at, and the timetable isnt definite yet, at three months
putting out content updates, not just patching and stuff like that. New
games, new cars, and even new parts of the world. The launch is just
the start of a long adventure, hopefully. Thats how we look at
it from a dev standpoint. Were trying to see if people can have
a lot of fun over the next two to three months up to launch, then see
how people play the game and continue to keep playing and having fun by
making the right product for them.
Ten Ton Hammer: Without
will eventually reach end-game, and with most MMOGs, theres a
very defined end-game. Whats the end-game for style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Need for
Thats a good question. One of the things that were
working hard on and that were very proud of is you know
the usual leader boards that you see in racing or any other sports
online games, such as you being 12,131st in this race. Your reaction
would be, wow, this is kind of insignificant. What
were trying to do, and what we have done and were going
to roll it out as soon as possible, is what we call a community leader
board. What we want to do when people have maxed out is to relinquish
power to them, giving them tools to allow them to create their own
This tool is very powerful. Its seen as a mod that people can
download and build on and therell be a wiki with instructions so
theyll know exactly how to use it. What you can do with it you
can create your own leader boards. Say you want to race with other
Montreal fans in Chicago with a track of 20 to 25 miles, you could
create a leader board for that. Or you could create a leader board for
only Ten Ton Hammer journalists and you only want to use Porsches and
use a specific part of the world. This tool would give you every bit of
that. If you push it a bit, you could take something like territory
acquisition, which is something that weve done before, and set
it up where you race over, say, one to three weeks. For the first week,
youll race in this part of the world and see who wins that
point, and then move on to the next point. That becomes a territorial
meta-game that is completely owned by the users. We feel that
relinquishing power to the community makes for a stronger end-game
meta-game than any end-game meta-game that we could give them for a
racing game. Thats the end-game for our racing game today. As I
see it, were going to give you and were already working
on is to give you more tools to make it even more of a sandbox.
Were already giving you a huge world with different modes. Now,
you can take it and make it anything you want it to be. From what
Ive seen and my experience with MMOGs is that community takes
you to another level and thats the angle that were taking
for end-game in Need
for Speed World.
Ten Ton Hammer: Im glad
driven. Thats something thats missing from a lot of MMOGs
and seeing this coming into play here sounds pretty cool. So, how
accessible will the game be? What kind of computer will you need to run
it? Is it too early to tell yet?
Thats something that is very important to us as were
trying to get as broad an audience as possible. I believe that the
minimum specs are already on our web site, which if you want more
information, we do have a beta guide on the site that is public and
explains all the parts and where were at in beta. I saw that you
had some questions on race types and other things, and you can find
that information there.
Were trying to get as low as spec as possible. To prove this
point, were trying to support netbooks too, which will tell you
how low it is. I dont want to be cocky at this point.
Were looking at low end PCs to be able to run the game,
preferably at low quality settings of course. You wont be able
to use maximum on a netbook. Were also looking at high end PCs
too, and were working with groups like Alienware.
alt="need for speed world"
Ten Ton Hammer: What kind
would be required then? Is there a lot of data going back and forth?
Would you benefit more from a high speed connection?
you kind of always do, but its not a huge requirement, to be
honest. Weve never tried it on a modem; we dont think
modems are the future (laughs). I dont have the latest numbers
on what kind of bandwidth you need, but its pretty low. The
reason for that is, I dont know if you follow the game, but at
first we started it in Asia. Im telling you this because nothing
is hidden here as that its all over the web already, but it was
started in Singapore, and in Asia, bandwidth is a huge problem, so we
started off on the right foot, so to speak, because, over there,
bandwidth is everything. Theres a high price and people tend to
have crappy internet connections. So yeah, were aiming at low
Hammer: Is there anything else you would like to
tell us about style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Need for
at first its a big novelty and its exciting. Whats
important for us is that its a big switch from the style="font-style: italic;">Need for Speed
done so far to this one and being more part of the community is a big
thing. I think that is going to be the strongest thing and that,
coupled with an awesome action title like style="font-style: italic;">Need for Speed,
will make a great
Id like to
add one thing. I think the community that he highlighted is pretty cool
and it kind of extends onto ongoing content development, so that
were going to be really reactive to how people are playing and
what their needs are. So, it really is that the community really is a
driving force and responding to their needs on a kind of immediate
level, in terms of what he described in match making, but as well in
ongoing content development as well. We really are a unique fusion of
MMOG and driving games, which doesnt happen that often.
Ten Ton Hammer: We really
on to talk to us. Thank you very much.
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