How Need for Speed: Rivals will differ on Xbox 360 and Xbox One

"There's a trend for more open world, more freedom, less choreography."

Need for Speed: Rivals creative director Craig Sullivan has been talking to Digital Spy about the perks of creating games for next generation platforms. So needy for speed that you honestly don't have time to read what follows? Here's a summary: prettier, more sharing, more dynamism and more open-endedness.

"With the power of next-gen, we can have stormy days," Sullivan told the site. "You can drive into that forest you saw in the press conference where it was, as we say in the UK, pissing down with rain in the forest. You drive through there and the lighting dynamically changes, we have thunder and lightning going off, and rain splattering off the cars, the floor's wet and cool."


"Visuals are going to be way better, they already are," he added, a bit unnecessarily. "You've seen the games out there, they're really good. We're at the forefront of that."

Xbox One and PS4's new networking features are perhaps the more significant innovations. Sullivan's all kinds of excited for Game DVR, for instance. "The video sharing stuff is really cool. It was always something you had to do in software on current-gen, now it's a lot easier on new consoles to do that, and it's less intensive on a development team to support that, so you're going to find, ten times, a hundred times more video of people playing being pumped onto YouTube and sharing with your friends.

"I think that's there to support where games are going in the future," he continued. "There's a trend for more open world, more freedom, less choreography; people are creating games that are very organic and are very different."

"You might find that you're playing through and something unexpected happens, and the development team didn't design it in, it's just one of the systems running. It's two or three things converging on each other at the right place at the right time. Being able to share those experiences with people is really cool. That's the package we're going into."

Rivals features a new seamless matchmaking system known as All Drive, which spontaneously introduces other players to your game rather than lumbering you with a lobby screen - something Sullivan describes as an "old gen experience". Naturally, this sort of persistent online lends itself to the direction Microsoft and Sony are taking with their next generation machines.

"The fact that they're really heavily connected," Sullivan mused, "We always said at Criterion that friends should be at the heart of the game, and we were a little ahead of the curve in terms of connected and forward thinking. That's how we got to Autolog and ultimately that's how Ghost has got to All Drive. Having friends in the game and allowing them to experience the game with you I think is key."

So where does all this leave poor old Xbox 360 diehards? Fear not, ladies and gents, Ghosts Games intends to support the current gen market for a while. "I don't see us abandoning those machines very soon because there's so many of them out there, right?" Sullivan reassured the site. "Some people, hey, they don't have the money to go out and buy these shiny new machines straight away. They might have to wait a little bit.

"And you know, 360s and PS3s are still pretty good machines. I don't think we're going to be in a mad rush to stop making games for those consoles yet."

Super-enhanced pretties and video sharing aside, there won't be too much clear blue water between the Xbox One and Xbox 360 version of the game. "There will be other little bits and pieces that we can't talk about yet, and maybe the amount of players. But ultimately the games will be the same, it's just there will be slight tweaks and modifications for the next-gen versions."

Read more about All Drive and the rest in our Need for Speed: Rivals announcement post.