Need for Speed Variations Friday, 30.01.2009
Electronic ArtsAs it seems Electronic Arts re-structures the Need for Speed series. As » Eurogamer reports, there will be three different NFS games this year for core, casual and 'Play 4 Free' gamers!

Need for Speed: Shift will launch in autumn 2009 on PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and PSP, Need for Speed: Nitro for Wii and DS. Need for Speed: World Online will be released for the asian online PC market this summer, which goes along with this » rumours from October 2008.

Need for Speed: Shift
This title focuses on simulation racing and shall become more serious:

Shift focuses on simulation racing - not just the realistic movement of cars, but also driver behaviour. This, EA marketing boss Keith Munro told Eurogamer, is what will set the game apart. Also, less baggy jeans and hip-hop.

"The urban underground was a manifestation of style in some past Need for Speed games for sure, but Shift focuses less on these style cues and more on mirroring the driver experience, that athleticism of being in a wickedly-intense race, and what it really feels like to be behind the wheel," Munro told us.

A flashy 3D HUD that mimics driver head movement, inertia and G-force will help achieve this. There's a cockpit view that lets players freely look around using the right thumbstick, too.

NFS Shift

Munro reckons serious car enthusiasts will "love" Shift, and that mainstream racers will also get on board. He's quite excited.

"Need for Speed Shift is amazing and I think it will blow people away," said Munro. "The tech behind that game, the details that only a team with such racing pedigree could accomplish, and the ability to make you feel the intensity of a race is unprecedented. I can't wait for our fans to begin experiencing it!"

And, he added: "Regarding any new Need for Speed girls I can't comment, but I'll definitely mark down one enthusiastic vote for Josie Maran." Steady on.

NFS Shift is being developed by the Slightly Mad Studios which are responsible for GT Legends and GTR 2. They are supportet by EA Black Box producer Michael Mann and EA Games Europe bigwig Patrick Soderlund.

Need for Speed: Nitro
This game will be developed by EA Montreal and focuses on the casual gamer. It's a fast fun-racer with vibrant and eye-catching visuals.

"Need for Speed Nitro on the Wii and DS will not be a Mario Kart clone - Nintendo already does an excellent job with that," sagte Munro. "Instead, we are evolving the arcade racer with a fresh and unique visual style that is very Need for Speed. The game will be rich and deep and will appeal to experienced arcade racers as well as casual players.
What you'll see is that Nitro in no way resembles any other previous Need for Speed title."

Need for Speed: World Online
NFS World Online will be co-developed by Black Box und EA's online studio in Singapore. The game will be released in Asia this summer and if it does well, it should come to the west in winter 2009.

Released to Asia first, this online PC game will let players pick and customise their choice of licensed vehicles and take on the rest of the world - well, Asia, before heading West after a thumbs-up there.

"This is not so much a proof of concept - it is a full-fledged launch in a market that we are very ambitious toward,"
explained Munro. "This Play 4 Free action racing game will give Need for Speed fans the most licensed cars, parts and game modes ever in Need for Speed's history.
Players will prove their racing supremacy through the sophisticated online matchmaking features and fully customise their profile and their ride."

In an additional » article at Eurogamer it is mentioned, that EA Black Box is currently working on a future action title for the NFS franchise. There are not details known yet, but with NFS Shift, Nitro and World Online this would make four different NFS games.

Could this be a case of EA playing safe in the face of the economic crises and milking a safe and proven brand?

Not according to Munro, who said the credit crunch had "not played any role" and that work began "long before" we all began feeling the pinch.

"This isn't about quantity, this is about crafting different games for different audiences and their unique tastes in the driving category," he explained.

"The motivation was purely driven by our understanding of racing gamers and their desire to experience different kinds of racing games. I would say that our strategy is the inverse of milking; it is an intentionally non-traditional approach."

"We took a consumer-first approach and spoke with the fans about what they would like from their Need for Speed. Player feedback was consistent - create custom simulation and arcade experiences but maintain the franchises' core values of street culture, attitude and beautiful licensed cars," he added.

So far, all this sounds quite promising, since it has always been a problem of the Need for Speed series lately, that with such a large audience not every customer could be satisfied. With the separation in the different areas EA might could manage to fill the needs of all gamers.

A simulation-based racing game for PC, X360 and PS3 is something many wished for. The new orientation for the "casual gamer" on Wii and DS is really good thing and World Online is quite a big step, but considering the online boom in Asia this could very well work.

EA tried once an online racer with Motor City Online, but apparently it didn't go well but that was years ago, where the infrastructure wasn't as much developed as it now is. MCO was only available in the USA and was shut down one year later.

So far the mysterious additional title by EA Black Box is still open, but unfortunately there is no new information about that yet.

We will see, how much from all this is really true, but so far it sounds quite promising. We will let you know when we know more.

» Eurogamer
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Comments (8)

#8: von soljb123 (11.02.2009 20:37) View profile Add to your Friends-List Send Message
is nfs shift actually goin to be better than nfs uc

I am a nfs fanatic and believe u me i love playing need for speed. now i here that the new need for speed shift is going to change into a simulation racing game. with that being said y would u want to do that if there are simulation games already like grid and gran turismo. y cant the need for speed be mixed with street racing and on course-professional racing with u know the open world and events taking place and decking ur car are out to the fullest potential to race in free roam or in the actual course race, i was motivated to to rite this by fans and friends that this need for speed should be taken to a all new different level, like putting up your own cash to race and making deals with people to race in certain events or to get cars and parts like how it would be in a movie but an actual game. the whole need for speed series is based on speed and tuning and street/simulation racing. im not trying to tell your how to do your jobs just putting down opinions and thoughts. the selection of cars and the various custimizations especially the speed should be exceled to the best of what is out in the real world today putting real events especially the cops and their hard effrot to take u down. Last but not least im not speakin just for me but for the people that we get the most challenging game ever, with realistic street/simulation racing events that will leave a landmark in the need for speed history. I love the need for speed thats basically all i play besides the shooting,fighting and sports. EA, Black Box whoever is in head of this i really hope u suceeed and influence everyone to buy this game and that it is a good one

need for speed fan solomon banks

#7: von guylord (31.01.2009 17:26) View profile Add to your Friends-List Send Message
sounds like a good deal releasing different games for different platforms

When the race gets tough...I drive faster

#6: von Fedska:Undercover (31.01.2009 13:15) View profile Add to your Friends-List Send Message

Hope the SHIFT gonna be more like grid and we will see drift in it


#5: von C€RB€RU$ (31.01.2009 01:51) View profile Add to your Friends-List Send Message Website
I saw that screen and I thought that it was GRID 2. GL.


#4: von KsbjA (30.01.2009 19:42) View profile Add to your Friends-List Send Message
Sounds good, I want them all (except Nitro, only PC here). Shift reminds me to Grid, too. Let's hope it won't be harder than Grid. (I'm bad at sims, Grid isn't really sim, so I like it and can race it, although it's not exactly easy. Easy as Undercover, for example.) NFS WO sounds like TDU or BP, great games. The action title is a good idea, too, I like action racers if they're well-made.

Staring @ the wall...

#3: von teetsaar (30.01.2009 15:03) View profile Add to your Friends-List Send Message

Shift = GRID resemblance?

#2: von Benjami (30.01.2009 14:25) View profile Add to your Friends-List Send Message
So basicly, EA lets other studio's do their job because they are too bad to make good games themselves ^^
The black box one is gonna suck, mark my words.

#1: von UltimateGTR (30.01.2009 14:06) View profile Add to your Friends-List Send Message
Quality NFS series are on the way!

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