Yesterday, Electronic Arts outlined their plans for the future of the Need for Speed franchise as it hits new platforms and genres. What this means is that over the next 12 months, EA will be releasing three new Need for Speed titles, with each tailored to the specific platform it will be released on.
The first is Need for Speed SHIFT
, which will be coming to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PSP in Fall 2009. The title is being developed by Slightly Mad Studios (GT Legends and GTR 2) along with input from with executive producer Michael Mann at Black Box and senior vice president Patrick Soderlund at EA Games Europe. I think the image below says it all, but the release states the game will put players "into the heart of the action with immersive and exciting features including a stunningly realistic first-person cockpit view camera and an all-new crash mechanic, providing an unrivaled sensation of the speed and feeling of racing a car on the extreme edge of control."
The second is Need for Speed NITRO
(currently a working title) which will be exclusively for Nintendo platforms (Wii and DS). It is being developed by EA Montreal, and from the sounds of "Offering a fresh and unique visual style", the game will not be a dumbed down version to accommodate the lesser graphics, but custom made for the Nintendo platforms. I would imagine it will make prominent use of the Wii remote motion sensing and the stylus on the DS based on the release stating "EA Montreal...will bring their unique creativity and innovation."
The final title is called Need for Speed World Online
, and will be out in Winter 2009 (North America, Summer 09 for Asia) as an exclusive PC title. It is being developed by Black Box and EA Singapore and will be a Play 4 Free action racing game that offers "licensed cars, parts and multiple game modes" as well as "sophisticated online matchmaking features and fully customize their profile and their ride." Sounds like it might have hints of an MMO, but it could just be a big online racing community.
Check out the three images that EA sent along (each is tagged with the appropriate title) to get your fix until later this year:
Need for Speed Franchise Races Into New Genres
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. --(Business Wire)-- Jan 30, 2009 Fifteen years; more than 40 countries; close to 100 million games sold. Need for Speed™ has helped to define automotive culture for millions of fans with its embrace of the car lifestyle and its cool rebellious attitude. Today, Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) unveiled the details of what is in store for the franchise over the next 12 months, as the property expands to new platforms, new categories and new media.
Need for Speed is committed to providing unique and customized experiences for all types of racing fans by establishing three independent series; simulation, action and arcade racing. Each series will be developed by a highly-specialized team dedicated to delivering the ultimate racing experiences to car enthusiasts around the world – whether they be interested in adrenaline action, arcade fun or authentic simulation.
“We recognize racing videogame fans are very passionate and unique – they want customized gameplay experiences. Whether it’s more of a realistic driving game with accurate car physics or over-the-top cop chases, we are making different games for different audiences,” said Keith Munro, vice president of marketing, Need for Speed. “Each game provides a deep, engaging and rich racing experience. We’re giving players the option to choose the best racing title that suits their style of gameplay.”
Need for Speed SHIFT – Fall 2009
Shift into high gear! Designed to deliver a true driver’s experience that reflects contemporary motorsports, Need for Speed SHIFT is built by racers for racers. Need for Speed SHIFT delivers an authentic and immersive driving experience developed by Slightly Mad Studios in collaboration with executive producer Michael Mann at Black Box and senior vice president Patrick Soderlund at EA Games Europe. Slightly Mad Studios includes developers and designers that worked on the critically acclaimed games GT Legends and GTR 2. Need for Speed SHIFT replicates the true feeling of racing high-end performance cars like never before. Players are thrust into the heart of the action with immersive and exciting features including a stunningly realistic first-person cockpit view camera and an all-new crash mechanic, providing an unrivaled sensation of the speed and feeling of racing a car on the extreme edge of control.
Soderlund is also part of a racing team that recently competed in the 4th edition of the TOYO TIRES 24H Dubai 2009, the first major race event of the year. His team ranked #5 in the high-profile race. Soderlund and the SHIFT development team are committed to bringing the on-the-track experience to players across the world.
Need for Speed SHIFT will be released on PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, PSP® (PlayStation® Portable) and PC in fall 2009.
Need for Speed NITRO (Working Title) – Fall 2009
Developed by EA Montreal, Need for Speed NITRO for Wii™ and Nintendo DS™ will have players of all skill levels hooked from the moment they get into the action, while arcade racing fans will be exhilarated by the deep and challenging gameplay. EA Montreal has already established a strong track record of developing for these platforms and will bring their unique creativity and innovation to the Need for Speed franchise.
Gamers can build up their boost as they drift and drag behind their opponents and use it strategically to change the course of the race, but watch out for the cops! Offering a fresh and unique visual style, the game features a variety of licensed cars which can be fully customized to let the game reflect the player’s taste and personality. This evolutionary take on arcade racing, bringing back the best features found in Need for Speed games, comes exclusively to the Nintendo platforms this fall.
Need for Speed World Online – Winter 2009 in North America, (Summer 2009 in Asia)
Co-developed by Black Box and EA Singapore, Need for Speed World Online takes the race into the largest open world in the history of Need for Speed – designed exclusively for the PC. Beginning in Asia, this Play 4 Free action racing game will give Need for Speed fans access to licensed cars, parts and multiple game modes. Players will prove their racing supremacy through the sophisticated online matchmaking features and fully customize their profile and their ride.
EA and Black Box will have more news about the Need for Speed franchise in the months ahead.
For more information on the Need for Speed franchise, please visit: www.needforspeed.com.