Need for Speed is the Britney Spears of video game brands, a cipher to front whichever hot producer or fashionable trend its owner, EA, wants to hand creative duties to on any given year. As a result, its games may provide a consistent financial yield, but they are also the hardest to pick out from a line-up, flitting from arcade slang street-racer one year to straight-talking sim the next. Who is Need for Speed? It's whoever's driving the development at any given time.
Patrick Soderlund is a busy man. He's in charge of EA's driving and shooting games. Think about that workload for a second.
I tap the brake and pump the throttle and the sleek McLaren's headlights swing to the inside of the broad, sweeping bend. The British supercar seemed a little nervy to begin with, but once you have a feel for its delicate balance, you can tip it into gloriously pliant 150mph drifts.
Top Gear, season 14, episode one. Clarkson, May and Hammond traverse Romania in a range of hyper-expensive grand tourers in search of the Transfăgărăşan: 90km of high-altitude tarmac that just happens to be one of the exciting, environmentally spectacular driving routes in the world. This is the experience that sums up the new Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit - a celebration of driving some of the hottest cars in the world on the most exciting routes to emerge from the designers at Burnout studio Criterion Games.
The circle is now complete. Just over a year ago, Digital Foundry kicked off its extensive range of tech interviews with the leading lights in game development by talking to Criterion technical director Richard Parr and senior engineer Alex Fry. Last week, we visited the Guildford-based developer to take a look at the new Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and took the opportunity to meet up with Parr and Fry once more to discuss the latest technological innovations for their new game.
The Criterion developers demoing Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit on EA's E3 booth say that the new game shares a subtitle with 1998's Need for Speed III for the simple reason that it sounds really cool. Also, creative director Craig Sullivan explains how considering those two words makes his job easier.