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EA Setting Up Three More Need For Speeds

EA reveals three different directions for three different driving games, and a fourth is still on the way.

It's no huge secret that the Need for Speed series needs a bit of a kick in the pants. For my money, the last worthwhile game in the series was Need for Speed Most Wanted, and my love for that game is evenly split between the great police chases and the presence of Razor Callahan, the tough-talking slimeball that serves as your nemesis. The most recent game tried to take things back into the cop chase realm, but it fell flat. I'd place the blame on NFS Undercover's unstable frame rate and a weak performance from Maggie Q.

But enough about the past. Need for Speed is prepping for the future this morning, with announcement that  EA is hard at work on at least three new games that will bear the Need for Speed badge. While EA's Black Box team appears to be touching most of the new games in some way, it looks like primary development for these games are being handled by other teams.

SHIFT into first-person.
Need for Speed Shift will be a "first-person racing simulation" for PS3, 360, PSP, and PC. Development is being handled by Slightly Mad Studios, a new group that contains members who worked on games like GT Legends and GTR 2. Here's what the release has to say about the game itself:

Need for Speed SHIFT replicates the true feeling of racing high-end performance cars like never before. Players are thrust into the heart of the action with immersive and exciting features including a stunningly realistic first-person cockpit view camera and an all-new crash mechanic, providing an unrivaled sensation of the speed and feeling of racing a car on the extreme edge of control.

Shift (make that SHIFT) will be released this Fall.

Need for Speed Nitro is currently just a working title for EA Montreal's driving game for the Wii and DS. This one sounds like it's the closest thing to the previous games in the series, with an arcade-like focus and police chases. Again, here's what's up:

Gamers can build up their boost as they drift and drag behind their opponents and use it strategically to change the course of the race, but watch out for the cops! Offering a fresh and unique visual style, the game features a variety of licensed cars which can be fully customized to let the game reflect the player’s taste and personality. This evolutionary take on arcade racing, bringing back the best features found in Need for Speed games, comes exclusively to the Nintendo platforms this fall.

WATCH OUT FOR THE COPS!!!!

Need for Speed World Online is listed as being co-developed by Black Box and EA Singapore. It's a "Play 4 Free" style of online, open-world driving. It'll hit Asia this Summer and North America in the Winter. Take it away, press release!

Co-developed by Black Box and EA Singapore, Need for Speed World Online takes the race into the largest open world in the history of Need for Speed - designed exclusively for the PC. Beginning in Asia, this Play 4 Free action racing game will give Need for Speed fans access to licensed cars, parts and multiple game modes. Players will prove their racing supremacy through the sophisticated online matchmaking features and fully customize their profile and their ride.

Is it wrong for me to want to immediately say "Motor City Online" when I hear that EA's doing some kind of online-focused NFS game?

The AP weighed in on this story, and it claims that Black Box is also working on "a new action driving game." EA's VP of marketing, Keith Munro, is quoted as saying that the move to other developers gives the Black Box team "time to retrench." This is the part where I wildly speculate about a direct sequel to Most Wanted where Razor and Cross team up against you after performing some kind of demonic street racing blood pact.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
42 Comments
Posted by Jeff
It's no huge secret that the Need for Speed series needs a bit of a kick in the pants. For my money, the last worthwhile game in the series was Need for Speed Most Wanted, and my love for that game is evenly split between the great police chases and the presence of Razor Callahan, the tough-talking slimeball that serves as your nemesis. The most recent game tried to take things back into the cop chase realm, but it fell flat. I'd place the blame on NFS Undercover's unstable frame rate and a weak performance from Maggie Q.

But enough about the past. Need for Speed is prepping for the future this morning, with announcement that  EA is hard at work on at least three new games that will bear the Need for Speed badge. While EA's Black Box team appears to be touching most of the new games in some way, it looks like primary development for these games are being handled by other teams.

SHIFT into first-person.
Need for Speed Shift will be a "first-person racing simulation" for PS3, 360, PSP, and PC. Development is being handled by Slightly Mad Studios, a new group that contains members who worked on games like GT Legends and GTR 2. Here's what the release has to say about the game itself:

Need for Speed SHIFT replicates the true feeling of racing high-end performance cars like never before. Players are thrust into the heart of the action with immersive and exciting features including a stunningly realistic first-person cockpit view camera and an all-new crash mechanic, providing an unrivaled sensation of the speed and feeling of racing a car on the extreme edge of control.

Shift (make that SHIFT) will be released this Fall.

Need for Speed Nitro is currently just a working title for EA Montreal's driving game for the Wii and DS. This one sounds like it's the closest thing to the previous games in the series, with an arcade-like focus and police chases. Again, here's what's up:

Gamers can build up their boost as they drift and drag behind their opponents and use it strategically to change the course of the race, but watch out for the cops! Offering a fresh and unique visual style, the game features a variety of licensed cars which can be fully customized to let the game reflect the player’s taste and personality. This evolutionary take on arcade racing, bringing back the best features found in Need for Speed games, comes exclusively to the Nintendo platforms this fall.

WATCH OUT FOR THE COPS!!!!

Need for Speed World Online is listed as being co-developed by Black Box and EA Singapore. It's a "Play 4 Free" style of online, open-world driving. It'll hit Asia this Summer and North America in the Winter. Take it away, press release!

Co-developed by Black Box and EA Singapore, Need for Speed World Online takes the race into the largest open world in the history of Need for Speed - designed exclusively for the PC. Beginning in Asia, this Play 4 Free action racing game will give Need for Speed fans access to licensed cars, parts and multiple game modes. Players will prove their racing supremacy through the sophisticated online matchmaking features and fully customize their profile and their ride.

Is it wrong for me to want to immediately say "Motor City Online" when I hear that EA's doing some kind of online-focused NFS game?

The AP weighed in on this story, and it claims that Black Box is also working on "a new action driving game." EA's VP of marketing, Keith Munro, is quoted as saying that the move to other developers gives the Black Box team "time to retrench." This is the part where I wildly speculate about a direct sequel to Most Wanted where Razor and Cross team up against you after performing some kind of demonic street racing blood pact.
Staff
Posted by LordAndrew

No Razor, no deal.

Online
Posted by ferrarimanf355

Screw Razor, NFS is back! No rice rockets, ex-SimBin devs behind NFS Shift... I'm there.

Posted by MasterSplinter

I'd personally like another Underground game. I enjoyed those.

Posted by Computerplayer1

Can't they just stick to the formula that worked so well in Most Wanted? People aren't going to be scrambling for a simulation NFS game...that's just backwards.

I want more enormously cheesey characters and story lines! More safari, less track!

Posted by ChrisTilton

I guess there goes my hope of Criterion taking over the franchise.

Online
Posted by ferrarimanf355

I'm glad that Criterion isn't taking it over. The big hook of Burnout is the really painful crashes, and I doubt that any major automaker would let Criterion do that with their real-life cars.

That, and Criterion can bring back Road Rash.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw
MasterSplinter said:
"I'd personally like another Underground game. I enjoyed those."

I agree.  I thought those were the highlight of the series for me.
Moderator
Posted by ScottEFresh

Need for Speed is tired and old. Although these shitty games still sell so I can see why EA would put them out.


BURNOUT FTW!!!!!!

Posted by Daz0608

The online one seem kind of interesting apart from that I couldn't care less about NFS games

Posted by Kintaro

Won't this dilute the franchise even more? The concept behind the online racer might be sound but I don't think it needed a NFS name except for, maybe, brand recognition. But it does nothing for the Need for Speed brand because its never been a MMO racer.

Posted by tekmojo

Posted by Gregomasta

Agreed tekmojo.

Posted by TheGTAvaccine

Gross. They need to just take a break, come back later, and everyone will be all "Hey, I remember Need For Speed! Yeah, I really liked that series!"

Edited by Yzzerdd

Apparently EA's idea of fixing a franchise is to throw more games at it.
Shift sounds interesting but I'm sure EA will be ruin it with typical live action cutscenes and fast and the furious bullshit.
The problem with the racing genre is that the gameplay model is stale, being in last place is never fun, replaying the same race 50 times is the anti-fun. Burnout Paradise is one of the few games that has manged to break the mold.

Posted by Kohe321

Burnout has rendered NFS completely uninteresting for me. As someone already said - Burnout ftw!

Posted by Jackel2072

Need For Speed is dead. Long live Burnout!

Edited by BagManForHire

shift looks cool there hasn't been a 1st person driving in awhile and the last one i played was pretty fun (that was on the dreamcast)

Posted by Media_Master

Burnout with cops, maybe, with Razor, maybe

Posted by JoelTGM

Ugh.  Well, I hope they don't rush it.  I'm interested in the shift game, sort of.

Posted by Rasgueado

Sounds like EA is taking a cue from codemasters and adopting an alternate naming system. Instead of using 4 letters (GRiD, DiRT) they're using 5!

@Bagmanforhire: First person driving cameras have been pretty popular actually. The Colin McRae series usually has a difficulty level that locks the camera angle to cockpit. Then there has been PGR, Forza, DiRT, and GRiD...

Posted by End_Boss
tekmojo said:
"
"
Posted by dtran1212

man, i don't remember the last time i bought a racing game.....

Posted by AutomaticSnake

Need for Speed used to be good back in the days of the PS1, now it just plain sucks. The only good racing game is gonna be GT5 next year.

Posted by MattyFTM

I'm confused by EA. They've told us that they're scaling back on releases this year, yet this year they've already announced 3 games that are completely unexpected. We all expected 1 NFS game, 3 is a surprise, and considering how boom blox underperformed, it's a surprise to see a sequel to that announced for that. Weird.

Moderator
Posted by BagManForHire

@Rasgueado i know, but there was one that only had cockpit (ferrari f355 challenge was the game)

Posted by lordofultima

Here's hoping that Shift goes as far in the sim direction as humanly possible. That's the only way I can take it seriously. You're either sim or arcade. You can't be both.

Posted by Death_Burnout

Holy Cow! that's a lot.

First-person racing simulation? Need for Speed SHIFT!? give me that game!

Posted by monkey_fluid

"The feeling of racing a car on the extreme edge of control"

I wonder what the other edges feel like / are called?
Posted by dsplayer1010

I don't care. I'm not gonna play them

Posted by theg3neral

It's a simulation game? They don't stand a chance against Forza 3 and Gran Turismo 5.

Remember, the other "realistic" racing game from them was ProStreet...

Posted by lordofultima

I think if they hit the sim market correctly, this could outsell either of those titles. Maybe they could bring back respect to the Need for Speed name, who knows?

Posted by WholeFunShow
"WATCH OUT FOR THE COPS!!!!" 

Word.
Posted by jangofett88

I have a feeling that this is going to cause more confusion among the NFS player-base that doesn't stay regularly informed about games.

Posted by johnnyfiveoh

The way you are talking about Black Box makes me think you don't know that EA has closed the studio and laid off most of the staff.

http://www.joystiq.com/2009/01/22/mass-layoffs-hit-skate-need-for-speed-dev-black-box/

Posted by Cheapoz

Ugh, went *way* off the reservation on this one. NFS:MW was king, I just rebought it recently and still love it. 

This is the problem with sequelisation, instead of just making things better, they're just bolting on more crap and making it needlessly complicated. Less is more!

So really, with NFS Shift, the one big massive point-of-difference on this one is a cockpit view? Ugh.
Posted by daniel_beck_90

I'll miss cop chases and cheesy cut scenes

Posted by SuperMooseman

Need for Speed Shift sounds disappointing. I wish they would stick to what the NFS franchise is about - not simulations!

Edited by MrKlorox

EA seems to be really testing the fully online, basic features free, editions of popular franchises. I'm curious what genre they're doing this with next. I'm still not sure how I feel about Play 4 Free.

Still looking forward to BF Heroes, although I will not pay a penny for the features.

Posted by Cheapoz

Also, Jeff, you missed some brilliant headlines here. Perhaps for the next NFS news huh?

"New Need for Speed sounds Shift" etc.
Posted by AspiringAndy

Black Box is busy, but then again they have 150+ employees.
Shift looks interesting,  looks kinda like GRiD.
I thought that EA was not trying to release so many games this year, I thought they're plan was to bring out less games and promote those games more.

Posted by bnt666er

No screen no need for speed!