When Ghost Games caught wind of the delay for Evolution Studios' DriveClub, previously announced as a launch title for the PlayStation 4, the studio took advantage of the situation and decided to ready its own racer Need for Speed Rivals for a next-gen debut, executive producer Marcus Nilsson told Polygon.
According to Nilsson, when Ghost learned that the PS4 would launch without a racing game, the studio put the pedal to the metal to finish and polish Rivals in time to launch alongside Sony's next-gen console. Last week the company announced it had bumped up the game's release date from a staggered launch beginning Nov. 22 to Nov. 15.
"It's in response to being there and we saw possibility, obviously," he explained. "The game feels good. We set the manufacturing dates in getting it done, and we saw that we could get it done in time [for launch.] And then we managed to do so."
Nilsson doesn't think Need for Speed is in direct competition with games like DriveClub, Forza and Gran Turismo, but rather a complement. He doesn't view the wide swath of racing games as a sea of adversaries, but a group of games that prove there is "a real hunger for the genre."
"I think it's so great that there are other games coming," he said. "The more games we get into this genre of action racing, the better. Because then we're going to need to innovate. You've got [Ubisoft's] The Crew as well, and we're all going to be pushing innovation forward.
"We're certainly doing our part in that deal of trying to get a new experience onto the consoles for the next generation," he added. "It's just a new way of playing and I think that's what you really need from games when we have a transition."
Nilsson added that getting Need for Speed Rivals up and running on the PlayStation Vita for Remote Play was not that difficult.
"From day one we had it up and running," he said. "Those are the things that you really look for — believe me that there are plenty of other things that are difficult with next-generation consoles. But that specific feature of running on the Vita is not quite simple, but very surprising how easy it was to get it running."
Despite the Need for Speed franchise moving into the EA Sports label, Nilsson clarified that it didn't mean the series would become seen as another sports series.
"We're moving [Need for Speed] into [EA's] important structures like that," he said. "It doesn't mean that Need for Speed becomes a sports game, because it is not. It's a cops and robbers action game more than anything else. The positioning of this game is esoteric, it's an action game — it's not really competing with Forza and Gran Turismo.
"You can take on jumps, you can set Autolog records, you can go into a race with AI, or a mixed race with AI and cops, and it's all kind of presented in a way that makes it not overwhelming," he added.