In 2003 the Need for Speed series peaked. Capitalizing on the energy of The Fast and The Furious movie and a new ‘hot pursuit’ mode, Need for Speed Underground was released. Developed by EA’s Black Box studio, it was the best-selling NFS title, selling over 9 million copies. NFS would see success with subsequent titles developed by Black Box, but then the title stated to nosedive with the release of the disappointing Need for Speed: Pro Street(2007). Two years later, excitement for NFS rose after Slightly Mad Studios released the trailer for Need for Speed: Shift. They had to be ‘slightly mad’ to think that their version would go over well with fans of the game and beyond.
Enter Criterion Games, the British arm of EA, who in 2010 released a Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit reboot. The development of the Autolog feature, a new user interface that included the first online component for the series, created an intense anticipation for the game. Considering that the outrunning-the-cops aspect of NFS, originally introduced in 1993’s NFS 3: Hot Pursuit, is what carved out a niche for the game, an online reboot seemed genius. The game disappointed both fans and investors alike. Forget the weak and poorly structured online support, the biggest disappointment of the game is that the one thing that made NFS unique and successful was taken away; the ability to customize the cars!
Now Electronic Arts has handed the reins of the Need for Speed franchise to its new Gothenburg, Sweden studio Ghost Games, who are getting set to release the next installment to the NFS series; Need for Speed Rivals. The fact that EA is still making investments into the game is proof that it still has potential, but unfortunately that potential has been marred by terrible developmental decision making of the game since 2007.
The studio is headed up by Marcus Nilsson, who has previously worked on past Need for Speed games. The studio is headed up by Marcus Nilsson, who has previously worked on past Need for Speed games. The company is currently made up of around 85 employees. Nilsson and his team have been tackling the next in the Need for Speed series, called Rivals, and the game will be released for current generation platforms, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year. The game will focus largely on social competitive elements, with players able to switch between single player, co-op and competitive modes seamlessly, which no one will care about if the element that made the game successful are not paid attention to…my fingers are crossed.