Need for Speed Jumps on the eSport Bandwagon?

not-nfs-2017I’m admittedly a bit late to the party on this one, but when it comes to Need for Speed, it’s probably better late than never when you consider the target audience of PretendRaceCars.net – we’re not really here to dive into arcade racers as we do with the hardcore simulation stuff.

Nevertheless, it has been a pretty rough start for EA’s longstanding Need for Speed franchise on current generation consoles. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were graced with an extremely bland launch title that was discarded almost as soon as it arrived in Need for Speed: Rivals, and after an extra year spent in development to ensure customers would receive a compelling experience that brought back fond memories of the two Underground street racing offerings, 2015’s Need for Speed was better known for it’s aggressive viral marketing campaign than what was actually included on the disc – which was unanimously agreed upon to be pretty fucking terrible.

For the past decade or so, Electronic Arts have grown accustomed to this situation; struggling to figure out what to do with this franchise from a creative standpoint. Most Wanted was more or less declared the pinnacle of the series back in 2005 via online community consensus, and given the piss poor reception to Carbon exactly one year later, Electronic Arts realized they couldn’t just keep remaking the same game over and over again with minor adjustments.

Drastically re-inventing the wheel with each passing year in a desperate attempt to find stable ground, Need for Speed went through an identity crisis equal in length to the time it spent establishing itself as one of the great video game series of the modern 3D era, and judging by the critical flops released in both 2013, and again in 2015, this identity crisis shows no tangible signs of stopping. Electronic Arts have basically given up trying to create an inspiring racing game that captures the magic of the original collection of titles, instead using the brand to market a generic wildcard arcade racer to generate X amount of additional revenue in time for the holiday season. Sometimes it’ll be a street racing package bundled with a goofy story line, and other years, it’ll be a hardcore racing simulator. Sure, it’ll say Need for Speed on the box, but that’s really only to reel people in who may not be paying attention to how far the franchise has fallen.

In 2017, Electronic Arts and Ghost Games may possibly shift gears with the franchise yet again, perpetuating the eternal identity crisis to capitalize on the growing eSports scene. A recent leak on NeoGAF revealed Electronic Arts have trademarked the name Need for Speed: Arena, and it’s not hard to speculate what’s going to happen here: it’ll be an eSport title.

need-for-speed-arena-trademark-eaThe social sharing capabilities of DriveClub, bundled with the lackluster vehicle physics of the Frostbyte engine? You bet your ass this is the direction Ghost Games are choosing to pursue.

Despite the fact that racing games have simply not caught on in the world of eSports – with Kylotonn’s online competitions in WRC 6 doing little to generate interest, and iRacing not exploding in popularity – Electronic Arts are looking to take a major gamble and put their faith in competitive gaming. Is it a poor decision? Of course it is. The most popular eSports titles are all free-to-play, and require little skill other than being able to click around a screen – hence the popularity of female Twitch personalities who whip their tits out and stumble through an online event while beta orbiters fawn over them by the truck load. Racing games are simply too difficult for this kind of scene to develop, and considering how poor the driving physics in Need for Speed 2015 have been demonstrated to be, wrapping this experience into a package that stresses online competition above all else is a pretty difficult sell for even the most diehard of Need for Speed fans.

What do I feel Electronic Arts should do instead?

The answer is quite simple: It’s the perfect time to release a high definition remaster of Need for Speed: Underground 2 on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Marketplace, with full online play functionality enabled.

As ugly as the game will look compared to modern racers, as dated as the soundtrack is, and as awful as the creations we’ll see roaming the online servers are guaranteed to be, Need for Speed: Underground 2 was fun, and people will gladly pay ten dollars to take a trip down memory lane and build shitty riced-out Civics that can hit 240 mph with their friends. Insert a half-assed cockpit view similar to the silhouette interior cam seen in Gran Turismo PSP, let us North Americans dick around with the exclusive European hatchbacks, and you’ll have a game people race home after work to play every single evening. Underground 2 may be dumb fun, but at least it’s fun; Need for Speed 2015 is just dumb.

Stretch this high definition remaster endeavor to include Need for Speed: Most Wanted the following year, and you’ve got more than enough time while the masses are distracted to sit down and build a modern Need for Speed title that doesn’t feel like a generic racer spawned solely to inflate the quarterly revenue of Electronic Arts.

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27 thoughts on “Need for Speed Jumps on the eSport Bandwagon?

  1. A loooooong looooooong time ago I remember playing a Porsche need for speed game , it was very sim like with just Porsches , now that was a impressive title for its time .

    Also really enjoyed need for speed on my Panasonic 3DO (look it up if you don’t know what that is ) 🙂

    I do enjoy racing games of all kinds but I have not wasted my time or money on a NFS title since the first need for speed shift which with its steering / control issues ,was just fucking woeful.

    I think I can blame sightly mad studios for that one ?

    As for them going for E sports , that really is pushing the franchise to a place it just doesn’t have the legs for.

    The only thing good about the franchise is the engine that is being currently used.

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    1. A new Porsche Unleashed, on country roads, in traffic, would be fantastic for me. I think that as bad as The Run was, it was a cool idea and should be attempted again.

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      1. decent wheel support and a reasonable physics model (Porsche unleashed is old as fuck, they can theoretically at least give us that level if they wanted to, right?)…Yes. But if we are talking about NFS getting the basics right, then they might as well do more than porsche, the license is no longer exclusive.

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  2. Remasters are probably the best option for them at this point. Ghost Games are horrible developers, and they released a NFS that’s worse than the previous one after taking a year off. Whatever NFS game they release next year will still be terrible.

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  3. One thing I think NFS needs to do is stop basing every single game in a USA map. The ‘classic’ games (up until NFS Hot Pursuit 2 – 2001) all featured ‘tracks’ from around the world.

    I know the demand for open world is high (and I loved Test Drive Unlimited as much as my collection of simulators at the time) but I think it’s time they go back further than UG2. Or maybe it’s just a case of everyone loving their childhood game collection.

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  4. Tell me if I am wrong, but I suppose that remastering a game with licensed car and licensed music is a nightmare since everything needs to be licensed again.

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  5. Yeah, the pre-Reich Germans loved the jews until that mean old Fuehrer came along and “radicalized” them. This is a pretty easy narrative to counter-signal. And doing so yields very positive results.

    The German people were jew-wise during the latter stages of World War I and thereafter. The Fuehrer didn’t “radicalize” very many people. His jew-realism was of a piece with the public mood in Germany back in those days. When (((the jew controlled New York Times))) published their first article on the Fuehrer, it was a hit-piece designed to question his sincerity. “He’s not actually serious when he shit-talks we jews, German goyim, you cannot trust him when he says he hates them.”

    The Germans were not radicalized by the Fuehrer. Hell, if anything they hated those sons of bitches more than the Fuehrer himself.

    That’s on par with the one where Germans were basically good people in a bad spot but Fuehrer had some weird Charles Xavier power to his voice and tricked everyone into going murder happy. Luckily this is being seeing as less plausible everyday. Even a certain element in the libs is starting to be like “STFU with the gas chamber story, we’ve heard it a million times.” even if they accept it as true, which is awesome.

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  6. The original Need For Speed from 1995 still drips with personality and style. Why not remaking that game instead? It had the physics, it had the graphics (they still look fine enough after 21 years) and it had the gameplay. The cars screamed NEED FOR SPEED. They were hot, instead of generic rice burners and European saloons. It was freaking awesome for the time and still a very playable game.

    The first era (1995-2000) was by far the best. It was approachable by every kid, but still mature enough for anyone else. For me, the spiritual successor to the old NFS is more or less Forza Horizon. They have a lot of similarities: exotic locations, varied gameplay (open road and closed circuit) and great car roster. The cars are the ensemble cast.

    NFS lost itself after Hot Pursuit 2. It went downhill from there – not necessarily reflected in sales. But Underground was something else rather NFS. And every title after that drove it a little bit further from the roots. Until now, just another run of the mill generic arcade racer that could be called by any name. A whore, just like old Frida down the road.

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  7. NFS Undercover was the worst crap I’ve ever played in my life, how could you go from Most Wanted to that.

    As for remasters, I’d rather see first 4 Burnout games on PC.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don´t see why a racing game like Need for Speed doesn´t count as an eSport-title. I mean, it´s still a game like the other eSports-titles and the only sense of eSports is to compete with other players in a game. It doesn´t really matter what it is.

    And I have no deeper knowledge about eSports. But even I know that the most popular titles are NOT simple free-to-play-games. I mean, i just searched Google for “most popular eSports games” and found this: http://fortune.com/2016/04/06/most-popular-esports-games-on-twitch/

    There is no free-2-play-simple-click-game in it. Another hollow clickbait- article.

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  9. NFSU2 remastered would also need new content, otherwise its really not worth buying it…just for graphics and its not a shitty ricer if it hits 240 in retard units.

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  10. Picked up the latest nfs the other day because it was $12.
    Did they really play test this, and go “yeah, this weird understeery kinda mess, with a shitty drifting mechanism poorly thrown on the top”

    It’s just horrible

    Not to mention the cringe inducing story and acting, that you can’t even skip holy shit. Cops suck, world is bland and empty. No shortcuts or anything either, so running from cops is just poor.

    Like

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