Before breaking down the key concepts behind Need for Speed, Ghost Games’ upcoming reboot of Electronic Arts’ signature tire-screeching series, Executive Producer Marcus Nilsson described what he and his team feel is the ultimate Need for Speed experience: “Going ridiculously fast… 150 miles per hour… into a corner, with a highly modified car, with your friends, and chased by cops.”
That “perfect moment,” as Nilsson went on to call it, won’t be some epic, endgame set piece that players experience before the credits roll, but one in a nonstop series of pedal-to-the-metal moments that define the game from start to finish. This skyrocketing adrenaline rush comes courtesy of what Nilsson dubbed “Five Ways to Play,” a story-driven foundation that displays “massive innovation across the entire game.”
This quintet of core pillars – speed, style, crew, build, and outlaw – will encompass separate, dedicated disciplines that also intersect seamlessly. Players can concentrate on a single area to become an icon in one of these narrative threads, or focus on all five to become the ultimate street racer. According to Nilsson, the speed and outlaw components are all about seat-of-the-pants driving and the thrill of the chase, respectively… while style is defined by your specific self-expression behind the wheel. Crew, of course, involves playing with like-minded speedsters online, and build is about pimping your car to perfection.
Each of these parallel areas (which players can tackle in any order and jump between at any time) will be anchored by a story starring a real-world car culture celebrity. Nilsson didn’t share specifics on who, but he revealed that the game would be heavily focused on “authentic urban car culture.” Unfolding in the fictional Ventura Bay, the title will take place from dusk till dawn and feature plenty of night racing. Nilsson also promised an intensely detailed open-world that’s twice the size of that featured in 2013’s Need for Speed: Rivals. Within this vast world, players will discover varied environments brimming with equally diverse opportunities to tear up the blacktop.
Nilsson credited the power of current-gen consoles – specifically the production-value-pushing combination of physically based rendering technology and EA’s own Frostbite engine – with being able to achieve his team’s ambitious benchmarks for the game. He also admitted that giving the series a year off allowed Ghost Games to gain a much better grasp on what the new-gen tech is capable of. While Rivals brimmed with both content and eye-candy, it was developed for last-gen and current-gen consoles, where the upcoming Need for Speed is putting all its polygons in the new-gen basket.
While we didn’t get our hands on the game, the bit of jaw-dropping in-game footage we were treated to easily had us sold on Need for Speed‘s fresh take on the long-running franchise. We’ve still got much to learn about the series’ latest lap, but based on our first peek, we can’t wait to buckle up and break the speed limit when it races onto Xbox One this fall.