EA is not done making Need for Speed games

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#1 Posted by tds418 (524 posts) -

From Polygon:

Electronic Arts may have suffered a disappointing financial quarter, but at least the company has games in two fan-favorite series coming within the next fiscal year. EA chief operating and financial officer Blake Jorgenson announced to investors that new Plants vs. Zombies and Need for Speed games are in the works, due out by April 2020.

It seems like the last two Need for Speed games (Need for Speed and Payback) were both critical and commercial disappointments, so where does the series go from here? Should they continue in the scripted action-movie style of Payback or once more go back to the Most Wanted-esque well with street racing and cops?

I'm curious what others think. I personally loved the original Most Wanted and enjoyed Carbon a fair amount as well, but none of the games since have really interested me.

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#2 Posted by dgtlty (1249 posts) -

100 cars drop onto an island...

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#3 Posted by liquiddragon (3556 posts) -

Maybe it’s just nostalgia speaking but Need for Speed: Underground 3 seems like the only way to go.

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#4 Posted by Relkin (1222 posts) -
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#5 Posted by Efesell (4645 posts) -

This sounds like a threat.

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#6 Posted by Humanity (19058 posts) -

I had a ton of fun with Rivals so if they can get back to that then I would be happy.

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#8 Posted by BigSocrates (1966 posts) -

I liked the 2012 Need For Speed: Most Wanted game, and if they could make something like that again this would be good news. The 2010 Hot Pursuit was also great. But I don't think EA is that company any more. The developer certainly doesn't exist, but more importantly those games were focused on being fun, exciting, driving games, not on selling microtransactions or some dumb FMV story. EA just doesn't seem to want to sell $60 games that are complete games anymore, and microtransactions tend to be poison for the driving genre (Look at The Crew series for another example.) The need to push you into buying additional crap just makes the racing unfair and unfun, and it doesn't make it MORE fun to pay to win.

The only game series that seems to have bucked this is Forza Horizon, and they do it by focusing the microtransactions on buying new cars, which is nice but requires that the base game have so many cars that it doesn't feel crappy to be restricted to the base unit. Forza pulls it off, but who knows if it actually makes money for Microsoft or if they are willing to take a loss on it because it's their strongest exclusive series this generation and gives the Xbox one genre where it's stronger than PS4.

Basically if EA decides to make a really strong racing game focused on the racing (with a great map) and content to sell for $60, this could be a great thing, but the thing they actually seem to want to make (a skinner box to provoke people to buy microtransactions) just isn't fun, and nobody has pulled off a good or successful version of it yet.

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#9 Posted by FacelessVixen (2711 posts) -

On one hand, I liked the 2015 reboot a lot for the attitude and characters being as corny as those in earlier games, specifically Underground 1 and 2. Having vehicle customization again was great. And, not that I didn't enjoy the original Most Wanted, but there are only so many times that I can see people saying that "the original Most Wanted is the height of the series" without me questioning weather said person has played it recently. The earlier Black Box games were good, but Ghost has been getting plenty of things right as well. Frankly, I'll take Need for Speed 2015 over Forza Horizon 3.

But on the other hand, as far as arcade racing goes, I feel as though Forza Horizon has kind of taken over that space since NFS has been on and off in terms of having solid games since the original Most Wanted while Horizon has been pretty consistent; not to mention other options like The Crew and what Codemasters has been doing over the years as well. And I'm usually accepting of things ending eventually, so if NFS has to eventually end, then so be it. Having around 23 games in a series over the course of about 25 years is a pretty good run.

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#10 Edited by MightyDuck (2049 posts) -

I'll gladly take another Hot Pursuit. All 3 with that name were phenomenal games.

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#11 Edited by Seikenfreak (1545 posts) -

Give me OG-era Need for Speed. NFS 1-5. Hot Pursuit/High Stakes/Porsche Unleashed was the peak for me. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012, the Criterion one) was decent.

  • I want a nice, high quality presentation that's classy, subdued, mature but cool. Themenu music stuff in High Stakes sets the perfect tone and vibe.
  • Showroom showcases for each car, with some real life video footage and pics of the vehicle while that same guy does the narration giving a brief history of the car and some specs.
  • Cars should handle fairly realistically and feel grounded in reality but the gameplay outside car control should still feel fun and not overly punishing or difficult.
  • Car selection should consist of a myriad of sporty and sports cars from the 80's to now. Miata, E39 M5, C6 Z06, Diablo, GT350R, NSX, 911 GT2 (993) etc.
  • Course layouts should consist of some linear, point-to-point courses alongside some circuit/loop based areas (not race tracks, but full loops like the old games i.e. Hometown) Bonus points if some of the best real life driving roads (Swiss Alps? California Canyons? Virginia's Blue Ridge Parkway? France? Italy?) are laser scanned and added. Layouts could also be entirely original or remakes of classic NFS courses.
  • Police of course. But they aren't slamming SUVs into you at 100+mph head-on or shooting EMP grenades or other stupid garbage. Keep it grounded and a little relatable, remember? It's the classic, squad-car-behind-a-billboard-scenario. He can try to catch up in his measly standard issue cop car but if you drive well enough and clean, he has no chance. Occasional road black with flares or a spike strip to make sure you're paying attention.
  • No story bullshit.

I frequently fantasize about this whenever Need for Speed is brought up. If I were put in control of the franchise, I'd bring it back to its roots. Road & Track presents* The Need for Speed says it all. It's not a bunch of flashy, boy racer crap or street racing. It's about the joy of driving and escaping all the garbage in your life. It's exhilarating or relaxing. It's informative and inspiring. It's distinguished and modest. It's a place you want to be.

Edit: *Corrected that. Glad I squeezed it in before I got grilled. There is also Car & Driver presents Grand Tour Racing though.. Not a great PS1 game.

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#12 Edited by tds418 (524 posts) -

@seikenfreak I almost forgot until I read that post that I played and loved Hot Pursuit 2 (the 2002 game) back in the day. The only problem I see with the approach you're laying out is that the Forza Horizon series pretty much checks all those boxes: showroom showcases, fairly realistic and grounded driving, mix of race types in real-world locations, next to no story. I haven't actually played the games so I'm not sure if there's police but there might be.

Also, since the Forza racing engine has been iterated on so much over the years they really have honed it to something very solid. I'm just not sure an EA NFS game that checks most of the same boxes that Horizon does can compete, at least on Xbox.

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#13 Posted by CheapPoison (1127 posts) -

Ea is making threats now!?

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#14 Edited by soulcake (2827 posts) -

2019 Year of the CARPG. Is Criterion studios even a thing at this point?

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#15 Posted by Seikenfreak (1545 posts) -

@tds418: I guess the argument for that is Horizon is quite successful? At this point though I have more cons about those games than pros. I really enjoyed the first one but since then it's just been the same thing over and over on a different map. They need to stop making them every other year.

The vehicle handling and "fun" factor is probably about the right level in comparison to what the old games were during their time.

Problems are:

  • Probably my biggest issue with all the Forza games: Their lighting engine isn't great. IMO, it makes all the cars look like plastic toys. Gran Turismo has the lighting issue solved. Take notes Playground.
  • Horizon is open world so course design isn't really a thing. Just feels like a bunch of random paths laid out. You're environment is also always just whatever part of the world they've decided to build it around. NFS is globe trotting with real locales and also fictional environments.
  • The whole Horizon festival theme does not fit the classy, cool, serious vibe I want from the old games. I guess it is also a sort of narrative for you being this person working for this festival event. Horizon is millennial, boy racer type stuff. Race a cruise ship along the shore! Get more followers! /eyeroll
  • The car list is just a massive, un-curated dump of every model they've made since Forza 2 and a lot of them look like they've barely updated the car models. To me, NFS isn't a car collection game like the GT series.
  • Don't think they quite have the same showroom thing. I remember that added that menu in Motorsport that lets you spin the car around and pop doors and trunks? Don't remember a narrator either. Nah, not what I want. I want that narrator, or someone similar, and kinda of unrealistic/idealized photos and video of the real car that a marketing company would use. Like when you look at a brochure at a dealership. Really nice, professional pictures with some editing etc etc.
  • Ditch all the car customization.
  • Horizon does not have police.
  • Horizon (and games in general) has all this random music for varying tastes. Nah, fuck all that. Get a bunch of kinda generic, royalty-free synth/techno/drum-n-bass/ambient trance and weird/cool lounge music stuff like the GT series has. Nothing too crazy though.

K, shit, I have to leave for work. No time to check for typos. BYE!

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#16 Posted by loafofgame (173 posts) -

@mightyduck said:

I'll gladly take another Hot Pursuit. All 3 with that name were phenomenal games.

I concur.

It also makes me chuckle that the first game was called Need For Speed 3: Hot Pursuit, the second game was called Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 and the third game was called Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.

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#17 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8958 posts) -

Shhhhhhh, shhhhh, just let it go, EA, there's a good company, shhhhhhh, quit living in the past, shhhh now...

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#18 Posted by tds418 (524 posts) -

@seikenfreak All fair points. As I said I haven't played the Horizon games so I was making some assumptions. I still think it would be hard for a game you're describing to stand out compared to them though, except to a very niche audience.

@dgtlty said:

100 cars drop onto an island...

Using the Need for Speed brand to bring back car combat, I like it...

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#19 Edited by Seikenfreak (1545 posts) -

I've never actually played the PS2 Hot Pursuit one. I've heard its good but it didn't seem special upon viewing. Might be better if I actually tried playing it.

The PS3 Hot Pursuit one? Not sure I've played that either. Thinking about it, I guess it has to do with my lack of interest in sports/super cars since early 2000s stuff. I guess I find most modern cars kinda boring?

And I think a NFS game like that would do alright if they made it good. Everything is open world these days and angsty/hip/underground/festival whatever stuff. Not doing that helps differentiate it. They should set the trend instead of following it, because by the time they release a game, that trend is gone and the game is bad anyway. Currently they appear to be trying to copy off the 26th Fast & Furious sequel with dumb car action heist stuff. They should trim it back, refocus on the fundamentals, and get those right before expanding.

Also I'm an old fart at this point. They're targeting 8-18 year olds with NFS these days and I want a shift to 30-50 year olds. The young'ns will still play it because you want to play what the "cool adults"/your older brother is playing.

I still play the original Hot Pursuit/High Stakes somewhat regularly. I've got all the hardware and games. I was playing through the tournament mode in High Stakes not that long ago. IMO, they still hold up.

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#20 Posted by MightyDuck (2049 posts) -

@loafofgame: Never caught that. You're right!

That first game blew my mind as a kid on ps1. I absolutely loved the ps3/360 Hot Pursuit as well. They really nailed it.

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#21 Posted by tds418 (524 posts) -
Everything is open world these days and angsty/hip/underground/festival whatever stuff. Not doing that helps differentiate it. They should set the trend instead of following it, because by the time they release a game, that trend is gone and the game is bad anyway.

You know, when you put it like this, I think I agree and see where you're coming from. Don't pick on Fast & Furious though, it's not the movies' fault there have been several poor NFS rip-offs :)

Also based on your comments I think you would enjoy Hot Pursuit 2 a lot!

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#22 Posted by loafofgame (173 posts) -

@mightyduck: Haha, yeah, based purely on nostalgia for the first game, I would even settle for fixed courses that are highly varied instead of the more coherent open world of the third game.

There was something about playing as a cop laying down a spike strip and just waiting for the AI cars to make their round.

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#23 Posted by Seikenfreak (1545 posts) -
@tds418 said:

Also based on your comments I think you would enjoy Hot Pursuit 2 a lot!

Guess we'll find out because I just bought a copy off eBay!

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