Interviews// Need for Speed World's Jean-Charles Gaudechon

Posted 14 May 2010 18:37 by
SPOnG: I wanted to talk about the game's pricing structure ? could you clarify what sort of things players would need to pay for? There's NFS Cash which you earn during the game and is free virtual currency, and then there's Speed Boost which you pay for with real currency. What do you use the NFS Cash for and what do you use the Speed Boost for, specifically?

Jean-Charles Gaudechon: The NFS Cash is very much the in-game currency that everyone earns. Basically, it works as your level progression. You can earn performance and customisation upgrades with NFS Cash.

What's important to us is that we didn't want to break the balance of the game by applying real-world currency to these elements. We don't want people to just come in and buy anything and everything and make the experience for everyone else miserable by being totally kitted out. That's what we're trying to avoid. So NFS Cash will be the main thing to unlock everything.

On the other hand, you have Speed Boost, which uses real-world money. And this is used as a means to simply accelerate your progression, rather than outright buy the rights to it. So for instance you can purchase Double XP rights for a weekend so you can level up faster.

Another thing that's cool is that you can rent high-level cars, and the idea there is that you can be on an even footing with friends who are that much higher up the tree than you. If a bunch of pals pinged you and said 'Let's all race Porsches on this track on Sunday' and you're only on Level 13, that gives you a chance to be on their level for a limited time.

You can play this game any way you want to. You don't have to grind if you're not a grinder. But if you have a lot of time and not a lot of money, the whole game is still there for you to unlock. Well, until you reach the limits of the Starter Pack (laughs)!

SPOnG: I just wanted to pick your brains on social gaming and MMOs in general. Electronic Arts is moving a lot into that market with this, APB and Facebook games ? what are your thoughts on how the market will expand in the future, and do you think models like that in Need For Speed World will be accepted by consumers into a market dominated by ad-subsidised products?

Jean-Charles Gaudechon: I really think so. Obviously its still got to be proven over here, and it depends on the product your making. I think the real edge of this model is that its going to attract many different type of players. Some with a lot of time and not a lot of money, some with a lot of money and not a lot of time.

These kinds of players can both play the game. With something like World of Warcraft, you don't have that luxury - you have to put the time in and grind, whether you want to or not.

So, you may have a situation where someone might want to play with Double XP - and that's cool, because I can just rent something that's a higher level and play with them on even footing.

At the end of the day it's called a Massively Multiplayer Online game for a reason, and you want to make sure you connect people and find ways to shortcut the process. And that's something where this micropayments can be extremely successful.

SPOnG: So it's in that sort of accessibility from the get go ? you don't need to be a mastermind at smashing Orcs and growing crops to really enjoy the game?

Jean-Charles Gaudechon: Exactly. I find it really funny that to have fun in a game you have to lock yourself in your parent's basement and grind, grind grind, you know? Of course, we want these players too ? they're awesome ? but these guys will probably not be interested in the Boost economy, they'll just play the game hardcore.

Other players that want to race with them might not have the time and spend some money to rent an M3 and be on level pegging for a limited time. And why not?

SPOnG: The game's only coming out for Windows PC at the moment ? would you consider making a Mac version at some point, perhaps for Steam now that a version is available for it?

Jean-Charles Gaudechon: I would like to! I love Apple Macs ? in fact, my Macbook Pro is right over there (points). I mean, the way development has gone right now we're only working on a version for Windows. And we don't have anything to say about a Mac version at the moment, but personally, I would like to see it happen.

SPOnG: Thank you very much for your time.

Jean-Charles Gaudechon: Thank you very much.
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