UK developer Criterion Games has revealed that it “wanted” to build the PlayStation Vita version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The handheld release – which is practically identical to its console counterpart – was developed in-house at the Guildford outfit, rather than being cast off to an external studio.

“[Building Need for Speed: Most Wanted for the Vita internally] was something that we wanted to do,” producer Matt Webster explained on the PlayStation Blog. “It looked like the machine was going to be capable of delivering what we wanted to do. And the way that we work is very iterative – build, play, change, build, play, change – that’s how we work. When you go external it generally only works when you’ve got a finished game, otherwise there are too many moving parts.”

Aside from some minor changes to traffic density and online multiplayer, the handheld racer is identical to its console companion. Brilliantly, the portable release even boasts cross-platform compatibility with the PS3 game.

Webster explained: “If you play the single-player game, and then play multiplayer, any Speed Points you earn in SP also drive your MP progression, and that’s true when you play the game on Vita too. Anything you earn on Vita carries across to the console version. It’s a unified scoring system.”

The title’s due out next week on both the PlayStation 3 and Vita. You can check out the launch trailer through here.

[via blog.eu.playstation.com]