The Need For Speed franchise has been one of the foundational games for modern day racing games. It’s devotion to constant improvement upon previous versions are a major part of how they gained their very sizable, very loyal following. Then it just vanished off the face of the earth. Now it’s seen as not worth the time or the money. The major question behind this is…why?
Well the low hanging fruit reason why is primarily EA games handling of the series. Over time, despite it’s expanding popularity since 2011 the games had been struggling with faulty story lines, what many would call a long term identity crisis, and somewhat strange design choices. As the games began to see regular releases the major critics continued to give reviews of 5-6 out of 10. Then in 2013 critics started to provide better reviews, primarily because the series was taken over by Ghost Games which lended significantly better design and story choices to ‘Need For Speed: Rivals’ which saw a re-mastery for the Xbox One and Ps4. In spite of this, the 2015 ‘Need For Speed’ brought into question the continuity of the series, another faulty storyline, and had the annoying feature of being an online game despite the improved graphics and improved customization. In other words, the negative qualities canceled out the positive qualities.
THEN we get to 2017 ‘Need For Speed: Payback’ which was primarily managed by EA games again making the mistake of having unnecessary and sometimes cringeworthy characters to the story mode. The fall of the Need For Speed franchise could also be compared to EA’s 2015 flop “Star Wars: Battlefront” due to it’s over emphasis on micro-currency (or in-game purchases in general) taking away from the overall player experience…but that’s a different story. Even though Need For Speed was a major player in the impact and improvement of the modern racing game, the executive decisions made by the developers led to its inevitable downfall.
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