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DICE collaborating with Criterion on Need For Speed

Battlefield maker helped to create game world, as EA increases inter-studio cooperation

Battlefield developer DICE is collaborating with Criterion Games on the forthcoming Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, according to the latest preview information.

Speaking to Eurogamer's Digital Foundry, Criterion staff indicated that the large in-game map was the initial catalyst for contacting DICE, whose 200-strong Swedish studio dwarves the smaller Guildford-based Criterion.

"We designed the world here, handling guys and the world artists worked together to make sure the game world drives well and feels right, said Criterion senior engineer Alex Fry.

"Once we finessed that and locked all the roads down, Henry set out the art style and how this game was going to look. Then we built in core locations... this is going to be seaside, this is going to be the mountain range, we wanted a bridge here... we mapped out the rough lay of the land and then DICE with our art director went in and turned it into something beautiful," he added.

According to Criterion though the help offered by DICE did not differ markedly from their experiences with previous game Burnout Paradise. "We outsourced more of Paradise than we did with Need for Speed because we don't consider DICE outsourcers, they're definitely working with us on this one," said Fry.

"We've had our guys living in Sweden and Swedish guys coming here. We've had people from Black Box [the EA studio mostly commonly associated with the Need For Speed franchise] come... we definitely worked hard on getting this game useable from a variety of locations," he added.

DICE's involvement with the forthcoming Medal Of Honor title from Danger Close (née EA LA) has been more public, with the studio taking responsibility for the whole of the multi-player mode.

Acquired by EA in 2006, DICE's work with Criterion suggests that EA is increasing the amount of cooperation between its various studios - with some minor collaborations likely never to come to light until close to or after a title's completion.


David Jenkins