Traditionally, the long-running Need for Speed has been an annual series – every November, you could always rely on a new Need for Speed game. But it soon got out of hand: at one point there were no less than three Need for Speed games released the same year from different developers. Unfortunately, this quantity over quality approach saw the series go into decline, rapidly veering in different directions to the point it lost its identity: one year it was a high-brow track racing simulator, the next it was back to being an arcade street racer.
Last year the series took some time off, allowing EA to reevaluate the series' core credentials and give the developers extra time to realise their vision following the release of Need for Speed Rivals.
With EA Ghost Games now behind the wheel, this year's Need for Speed is being marketed as a series reboot, combining all the hallmarks of the series into a cohesive package, from Hot Pursuits high speed police chases to Underground's night time illegal street racing and comprehensive car customisation. “Give a game a year off, and you can see it is time well spent,” EA's Peter Moore told MCV. “That franchise needed a breather and a fresh look."
“As we did Rivals and Most Wanted… the racing genre flattened out. When I got into this industry there was Gran Turismo, and when I was at Microsoft we built Forza to compete with that and we had Project Gotham Racing. EA had Need for Speed and Burnout. There were rally games like Colin McRae, and when I was at Sega we had Sega Rally. But all of a sudden the genre got stale. EA has been at the forefront of driving games and we are not afraid to say to a team: ‘Go give it a fresh think and take a couple of years to figure it out’.”
It's part of EA's strategy to reaffirm Need for Speed's identity – and part of this strategy may mean no more annual releases. “I don’t know if it will be, it’s an interesting question," said Moore when asked if Need for Speed will continue as an annual franchise. "We will see how this game goes. You can only bring it out annually if you can come up with real fresh ideas. It is the same thing we’ve been going through with golf. It is golf… is there enough innovation and creativity that you can go in there with and do something different every year?”
Would you be happy to no longer have annual Need for Speed sequels released in the future?
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