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We have had a chance to not only try out the new Need For Speed: Rivals game but also take it for a ride on a yet to be released platform.  For three hours we caused untold vehicular chaos on the PlayStation 4 and spoke to Rivals lead designer James Mouat about the new game.

If there is one thing certain about what new PlayStation 4 owners will be delighted with, it is the new consoles ability to pump out the eye and ear candy.  

Playing through the first few hours of Cops versus Racers in Rivals is an adrenaline filled experience, with some fantastic visuals including lighting and particle effects and plenty of audio richness to boost the atmosphere of the onscreen mayhem.

With a Need For Speed game comes a great deal of established franchise expectations, this presented challenges for Ghost Games’ James Mouat Lead Designer on the project.

“No doubt that is a big challenge.  There are a lot of established norms in this franchise that, for better or worse, have to be there.  But, I think, the ones we have carried over are great, so we have AutoLog [NFS’s online friendly stats comparison system] , but we have also innovated with AllDrive [The Rivals system allowing players of all game-ranks to play together], so we have brought across the stuff that works really well.” Says Mouat.   

“We have looked back at what the community is saying , what about personalisation and customisation, we want it, it used to be there, so we are able to look back and look at what people expect, and what they want and see if we can deliver.

But that said, I think just delivering the same Need For Speed game again would be a failure.  I come from a NOT driving game background, I’ve worked on a lot of other genres, so that is what I brought in the scoring mechanic styles, the tension and the split up of these two feelings [between Racer and Cop] to make sure when you pick this game up it is going to feel familiar, but you are going to realise that actually there is a bit of a hard-core edge to it that we haven’t seen before.  If you get busted then there are consequences inside the game.  If you don’t like that, the Cops have a more traditional feel; you can always switch back and forth and see what is right for you.  If you beat me in a race then I can go over [to the Cop side] and chase you down [laughs].”

The game enables players to switch sides at any time, and the dynamic and tension also changes along with the switch.  As a Cop it is all about earning Speed Points by patrolling the region and taking down racers, usually violently, in a dynamic open world.  Cops can also select specific challenges and goals that help boost Speed Points along the way.  



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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.