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Riccitiello: We were torturing Vancouver studio

Move from a 12 month to a 24 month dev cycle will help Need For Speed team get more innovative

EA's John Riccitiello says that the company was torturing its Vancouver team with a rigorous 12 month development cycle, but that has now been changed for the better.

At the William Blair & Company's 28th Annual Growth Stock Conference, he indicated that he was pretty disappointed with Need for Speed last year.

"I thought it was an okay game, in terms of gameplay. It's not good. But who wanted Pro Street? It was a sort of made up, put numbers on the side of your car and pretend to drive your Ferrari where? Or your Porsche where?"

This year, the company will be releasing Need For Speed: Undercover - a game with a very strong mission structure that Riccitiello compared to The Transporter.

"For those of you who ever saw movies like The Transporter - it's sort of a cult classic among people with a B-movie mentality, which fits me perfectly.

"I liked it. I apologize. For those of you with no taste, and you liked it too, we can go have a Schlitz after this."

He said that the new title is a much richer proposition with a huge, embedded storyline behind it. Thanks to the strong narrative hook, he feels really good about the title.

Riccitiello noted that the Vancouver Need For Speed team had been working for eight consecutive years on a 12 month development cycle.

"Last summer we added head count and split the team in two, so now there are two teams on a 24 month cycle. And this is sort of their first 16 and-a-half month game...Because we didn't do it far enough ago to give us a full two year dev cycle."

Next year's game will be a full two year development cycle, he said.

"We were torturing a very talented group of people up in Vancouver, which makes it harder to be as innovative every year. So, I think we are going to get better from here.

"I'm confident that Undercover is a much better game than Pro Street, and I expect that from this point forward they will do a lot better."

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Latest comments (2)

Rupert Loman Founder & CEO, Gamer Network8 years ago
Torturing them! Wow.
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Phil Elliott Project Lead, Collective; Head of Community (London), Square Enix8 years ago
Also - "I expect that from this point forward they will do a lot better."

No pressure then, people...
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