Need for Speed Fans Flood Facebook With Negative Comments After “Payback” Gameplay Surfaces

If you’re going to take an entire year off to try and re-establish the Need for Speed franchise as a valid alternative to other racing games on the market, this probably isn’t the way to do it.

When Need for Speed: Payback was first unveiled to the general public in a highly cinematic trailer, I instantly took to slamming the game for a variety of reasons, criticizing EA’s willingness to pursue a story-driven direction that already had failed them twice prior, as the mixture of narrative elements and a lighthearted, semi-scripted driving mechanic was explicitly not what their core audience had asked for. However, while some jumped on me for not giving the game a proper chance – it was just a trailer, after all, and there was a glimmer of hope that the actual gameplay experience might be better considering the extended development time – moving footage of the software in action surfaced during Electronic Arts’ own EAPlay event, and it only confirmed my suspicions. Devoid of character, life, or a satisfying driving experience, Need for Speed: Payback is the result of non-gamers sitting in a boardroom, crunching numbers and analyzing data ad nauseam to try and piece together a package that ticks all the boxes of what market analysis says customers should want, but in reality has the substance and longevity of a kiddie pool.

There’s a story, but it’s so embarrassingly cliche and stereotypical, away from Need for Speed it would pass as little more fan fiction from a borderline-obsessed Fast & The Furious fan on DeviantArt, registering under a fake birthday to bypass the age restrictions. The driving elements, again calling upon the Ghost engine that has been used since 2013’s Rivals, looks to once more draw upon what was established with Criterion’s Burnout series of yesteryear – meaning that driving is a solution to a problem that occurs on-screen, not something to be enjoyed and mastered over several hours of play. Payback isn’t a recipe for X amount of sales or an average rating of 8.0 on Metacritic because Y amount of Need for Speed fans also happen to like the official Fast and the Furious page on Facebook; it’s a sad, clumsy project that should never have been given the green light.

And the remaining Need for Speed supporters are making their voices loud and clear – that they too are sick of this bullshit that the team at Ghost have been needlessly perpetuating since the launch of the current console generation. The official Need for Speed Facebook page has been loaded with negative comments trashing Ghost for what will now be three totally misguided efforts since taking over the franchise, with EA awkwardly trying to convince buyers that this year will be different because some YouTube personality they flew around the world to promotional events said so.

Actually, make that two YouTube personalities; one of which whom can’t even remember his lines, and most likely couldn’t tell you the difference between aero push and an apex. This is of course exactly what I want from the longest-standing racing game franchise attempting to make a compact; a guy who looks like he’s never driven more than 10 km/h over the speed limit telling me to get excited for a game where the driving experience isn’t satisfying and the story – which none of us wanted in the first place – is so intrusive, it constantly takes control away from the player.

Good job EA, this is why people hate you.

Now, are Need for Speed supporters acting entitled by aggressively lashing out at Electronic Arts and Ghost Games for taking the legendary series in such a bizarre, nonsensical direction?

I don’t believe so.

As a video game developer, or the creator of any piece of entertainment, your fans are what carry you. If you’re in a rock band, your fans are the ones buying the albums and going to shows. If you’re a director, your fans are the ones hitting up your new movie on opening night and consuming all the merchandise. If you’re an author, your fans are the ones lining up in front of Wal-Mart at midnight. Maintaining a good relationship with these people is priority number one because it guarantees success & stability, and right now, Electronic Arts and Ghost Games have failed to do that.

And they failed because the team have decided regurgitating two concepts the fans previously have not responded well to – bullshit physics and intrusive narrative elements – rather than actually sitting down and listening to what the fans have been asking for. Across multiple Need for Speed communities, the demands for a game are pretty simple – a nice selection of vehicles, a variety of scenic locations, acceptable customization elements, a driving model that behaves somewhat like a car with four rubber tires, and an intelligent police presence. By ignoring the community and spawning an abomination such as Payback, it’s basically EA coming out and loudly proclaiming that they don’t give a fuck what the fans think – which of course tarnishes their relationship with the fans even moreso.

Now this would be kind of understandable if Ghost had set out to create a sort of Lulu on Wheels – an avant garde art piece – but that’s not what happened in the slightest; Ghost took a year off primarily because sales of Need for Speed 2015 were so low due to paltry fan support, and they wanted to ensure the next game would tick all of the boxes hardcore fans had been asking it to, therefore resulting in a sales resurgence.

Yet Payback proves they have simply wasted everyone’s time. Undercover, The Run, Rivals, and the 2015 reboot were all received horribly, so why on earth would Ghost and EA believe it was a wise idea to combine all of them into one gigantic mountain of shit, while acting under the guise of “doing what the fans want?” This isn’t what the fans wanted; it’s what the fans returned to GameStop a week after launch in 2008, 2011, 2013, and 2015 respectively.

What’s even more perplexing is how Ghost were unable to sit down for an afternoon and actually examine the source material that Need for Speed fans have been masturbating over for the better part of the decade; desperately wanting sequels to. It’s honestly not a difficult task to hook up an Xbox 360 with a copy of Most Wanted – the highest selling Need for Speed game of all time – or download a PlayStation 2 emulator and turn a few laps in the unforgettable Hot Pursuit 2, while taking notes about what each game nails to perfection. This isn’t some instrument that Celtic folk stopped playing in the 1200’s, it’s a fucking video game from a decade ago and it runs on Windows 10 operating systems; how Ghost were completely unwilling to hear out the fans in the first place and turn laps in these games to see what they did right, while simultaneously taking a year off and claiming the next effort is for the fans despite combining the worst elements of the four lowest-rated Need for Speed games in the series’ history, is mind-boggling.

Need for Speed fans have every right to be upset over the existence of Payback and what it stands for; the project is the absolute pinnacle of businessmen totally detached from what makes a genuinely fun video game trying to craft an experience that does nothing aside from tick boxes in an effort to maximize potential sales.



23 thoughts on “Need for Speed Fans Flood Facebook With Negative Comments After “Payback” Gameplay Surfaces

  1. This is exactly the kind of horseshit thats affecting the gaming community so badly. Its here and everywhere else. Good enough for me i stopped really buying triple A title games a long time ago. 🙂


  2. The worst part about Ghost Games is that they pretend they’re listening to feedback but they aren’t doing anything remotely related to it. It’s like when you’re talking to someone who’s distracted or ignoring you and they simply reply “yeah, yeah, I’ll do it”, “sure”, “yeah okay”, etc, just to get you to back off while they do their own thing.

    It is literal disrespect for your fanbase. And since the fans buy the game, what do they plan on achieving by lying and disrespecting us? It’s like they’re trying to go bankrupt. And at this point, that’s probably going to happen.

    The only thing left now is the mangled corpse of what once was a great franchise. We can only hopethat when Ghost inevitably goes out of business the NFS brand will go to a competent dev.

    Also: fuck BlackPanthaa and, by extension, Ghost’s marketing tactics.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If you are concerned about a bunch of deranged Jews pushing for WWIII, or your country being invaded by hostile monkeypeople, or said monkeypeople blowing everything up and running you over with trucks, or fat chicks, or the collapse of the nuclear family, or Ariana Grande singing a dick bicycle song for dead kids, yall had best chickity-check them priorities – because we’ve got bigger fish to sauté in chipotle lime and grill.

    They’ve been begged by star players to stop it, fined repeatedly, and threatened with dramatic sanctions that could hurt their national team’s chances in the World Cup.

    But Mexican soccer fans have been loath to give up their favorite game-day chant, a homophobic slur that has been condemned by gay rights groups, government officials and international soccer authorities.

    At a recent World Cup qualifying match at Mexico City’s massive Estadio Azteca, game organizers aired messages pleading with fans to not say it. Beforehand, some of the team’s top players had condemned the slur in public service announcements.

    But the crowd of more than 80,000 had other plans.

    Each time the goalie for the United States team picked up the ball to punt it, the crowd began chanting, “Eehhh,” stretching out the sound like a long musical note on a crescendo. When the goalie finally kicked the ball, the crowd shouted, “puto!” in unison.

    The word, which translates roughly to “male prostitute,” has long been used in Mexico as a slur against gay men.

    Many soccer fans insist it isn’t meant as an anti-gay insult. They point out that the word has taken on other meanings, including “coward,” and is even sometimes used between friends kind of like “dude.”

    Critics say fans obviously aren’t screaming “dude” at opposing teams.

    “There’s no question that in this context, it’s an insult,” said Rafael Ocampo, a longtime sportswriter in Mexico City who is now the director of Milenio Television. “It’s an embarrassment.”

    Debate over the term has become a lightning rod issue in Mexico. Gay marriage is legal in several states, but discrimination and violence against gays is a regular occurrence in many parts of the country.

    “Slurs like this are part of the violent context that we live,” said Paulina Martinez, who heads a gay rights group.

    “We live in a country where priests do anti-gay conversion therapy, where there are big anti-gay marches,” she said, references to last year’s “pro-family” demonstrations organized by a far-right political party that brought tens of thousands of people into the streets across the country. “Homophobia is very much a part of our national discourse,” she said.

    The chant is believed to have first emerged about 15 years ago in Mexico’s national soccer league. Fans of one particular team began screaming it at their former goalkeeper, who they felt had betrayed them by joining a rival club. The chant always seems to play out the same way: the prolonged “Eehhh,” capped by the slur.

    The chant was ubiquitous during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where it drew increasing scrutiny from international gay rights activists as well as FIFA disciplinary officials. At the time, the Mexican team’s coach, Miguel Herrera, laughed it off, saying the term was an ancient Aztec word that meant “force a bad punt from the goalkeeper.”


    That is genuinely really funny.

    See, this is the thing. Mexicans in Mexico are fine. They hate faggots and also apparently make funny jokes.

    Why do they all have to come live in our country?

    Can’t we all just meet together and play soccer with each other every 4 years, and otherwise stay where we’re supposed to be?

    [blockquote]Now, in the run-up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, soccer authorities are taking the chant more seriously. The Mexican Soccer Federation has been fined thousands of dollars multiple times in recent months after fans chanted the slur during several World Cup qualifying matches.

    Ahead of this month’s Confederations Cup, FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, announced a dramatic plan to try to stamp out the chant. Cameras have been trained on the stands to monitor fans’ behavior. If any fans are seen screaming the chant, Mexico will be issued a formal warning. If they persist, referees have the authority to suspend the match or end the game altogether.

    Just imagine going back in time and telling your great-grandfather that in 100 years they would be installing cameras in sports stadiums to watch and see if spectators were saying a word that hurts the feelings of men who masturbate in the anuses of other men (IT ISN’T “ANAL SEX” – THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “ANAL SEX”) and if they found they were, they would shut down the game.

    What’s next?

    Well, probably installing computer chips in people’s brains to rewire their thoughts. Anyone willing to shut down a soccer game because fans chant something that can hurt someone’s feelings (which is the whole purpose of soccer chants, in fact – to put the opposing team off by demoralizing them – this is an ancient tradition that goes back to Greece and Rome) would be willing to forcibly install a computer chip in your brain to control your thoughts.


    We are living in a world of completely deranged madness.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I honestly refused to believe they would put in the Burnout goes an 8 ton truck handling again, that was seriously like the main complaint.

    I don’t really mind the story elements which seem to trigger people so hard (I played for 1 hour but I trashed the game because a cutscene here and there, NYAAHH). People seem to forget that Most Wanted 2005 also had a pretty lengthy intro with cutscenes. So I kinda hope this weird was convoy shit which keeps interrupting the gameplay is only the intro (kinda wishful thinking , I know)


  5. With EA awkwardly trying to convince buyers that this year will be different because some YouTube personality they flew around the world to promotional events said so.

    Remember these words next time Austin is whining about no one here taking his opinion on about Project Cars 2 seriously.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The other night, Syfy actually had the Need for Speed movie on, and I was actually pretty floored by it. Not that it was a stellar film, but… it had corny dialogue, smug antagonists, ridiculously rare and impossible-to-obtain concept cars and supercars, and ludicrous police chases. For the first time in years, I actually saw a product that I hadn’t already come across that nailed the actual brand identity of the Need for Speed franchise. It had everything I expected from the title. That doesn’t happen anymore.

    Just seeing this Mustang whip horridly around like it’s Ridge Racer Unbounded (which I liked, but still) is an absolute mess, and them showing the exact same unwitty banter three separate times over the course of one E3 show was enough to completely put me off of Payback, absolutely making the same mistakes as The Run onwards, minus even the physics that made The Run decently satisfying to play once. (Also, in the Youtube guy’s defense, he did forget his lines, but his teleprompter also broke, so EA kinda hung him out to dry there.)


    1. It actually does. They’re making a proper arcade game without pushing any of this nonsense, to be fair planes and especially boats seem like a gimmick at best, but hopefully you won’t really have to use them if you don’t want to.


  7. We haven’t hated enough on sim racing games lets also hate on arcade racing games. Because you already did simcades, gt sport, pcars, a bit of forza and dirt. But there won’t be any hate on pcars2 since you’re getting paid for it. Attention Ian, don’t you dare close the tap.


  8. So, after Undercover failed horribly and The Run having failed even more horribly, EA has now decided to once again try to implement “action driving” in an NFS game and put a cheesy, cliched story with forced and scripted “missions” to accompany. And after NFS Most Wanted 2012 and NFS Rivals both received lukewarm response at best with Criterion unable to make a proper new Burnout game and instead shoehorning out-of-place Takedowns in an NFS game, EA decided to implement them in an NFS game again also.

    Very, very smart decisions here.

    Liked by 1 person

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