Need for Speed Shift – First Details

Yesterdays announcement about Slightly Mad Studios working on EA’s new Need for Speed: Shift title has left the sim community in somewhat of a doubt. Even though a realistic simulation is promised and the ex-Blimey staff has an undeniable experience with making real simulations, many people doubt that EA can resist to make the game appealing to the mass market.

EA’s Keith Munro, vice president of marketing, has disclosed first details in an interview with Gamespot.com. Revealed details include the fact that more than 15 tracks will be included, ranging from fictional street circuits to real life race tracks like Brands Hatch.

Furthermore, the game will include some new features like a three-dimensional HUD that includes head movements, G-forces and motion blur. No details on possible cars and licenses have been revealed yet, Munro only confirmed a variety of cars, most probably not based on any real-life racing series.

Somewhat bad news is that EA is planning to keep on releasing a new Need for Speed title each year, putting the development team under somewhat tight deadlines. Furthermore, Munro mentioned crashes that will be presented in “an exciting manner” – GRID anyone?

So, there is still plenty to worry about as Shift shapes up to be comparable to Race Drier GRID and no full simulation, even though EA keeps on promising quite a lot:

“We see Shift joining the ranks of the world’s top simulation racing games with authentic cars and tracks, but it definitely offers its own signature look and feel. Shift represents the true driver’s experience. Traditional simulation driving games tend to focus on replicating a car’s performance, Shift moves beyond that by combining a player’s unique driving style with accurately modeled cars to really drive home what it feels like to be behind the wheel.”

The full interview can be found here, hopefully more details will surface soon.

GTOmegaRacing.com

  • http://misuracing.liveforspeed.hu Misu

    We all know that there is a general gap between the community of the simracers and the arcade fans and we all know too that one group is significantly smaller than the other.

    So I think nobody should expect NFS to be a real simulator because they wouldn’t be able to sell enough to make the company happy. Its like the case when an artistic movie would have much less viewers than a Hollywood superproduction.

    As far as I know the only ‘real’ simulator that was high on the toplists was the NR2003, EA weren’t successful with the F1 and the NASCAR either, so I don’t believe that they are really thinking about a simulator(-ish) game.

  • TomHolland

    The article says 15 tracks are included in the game, the interview says something else though.

    ‘…we have over 15 immersive real-world locations including a London street course and the world-famous Brands Hatch circuit.’

    The author of this article should really put his own opinion aside when writing on a news website like this. Every game deserves a chance, even a game which is made by EA.

    Weird that so many people allready have an opinion on this game. Previous Need For Speed games were made by different people, so it’s just plain stupid to judge this game which is just announced a few days ago.

  • Bram

    It’s also plain stupid to believe that NFS:Shift will be a real simulation like the ones usually covered on this website. As I’ve said before: its great to see that the future of these guys is secured, as it would be a shame to see their talent gone to waste. But it’s a shame we lost them to the world of ‘regular’ racegames.

  • http://www.virtualr.net Montoya

    Sorry, I missed the “more” then – will be fixed.

    I don’t see how this makes much of a difference though, a few tracks more or less won’t be the key to make this appealing to sim racers.

    And about putting my opinion aside: I don’t have much of an opinion yet, given the few information available. But, I have real doubts if EA is really willing to make this a simulation.

    Given the last NfS games and the Race Driver GRID fiasco, you can’t blame sim racers for being sceptical when it comes to this. I don’t think anybody expects a new GPL, something along the lines of Gran Turismo would be well welcomed by most people I guess.

    But I don’t see that happening just yet…..

  • Bram

    NFS Pro Street had real tracks already. Try Mondello on that one…

    I hate it when Arcade titles try to be Simulations. Because its then when they fail to deliver both. They aren’t arcade, and they aren’t simulation, they’re a weird mix in between. GRID is the perfect example of such a miserable failure. It sucks to play as an arcade title because the cars drive weird, and it sucks to play as a realistic title because the cars drive weird ;) A NFS title like Most Wanted was huge fun to play, because it was a little bit like the old NFS’es. Yes, it had tuner cars in it, but hey, the market demanded that. Besides that though it was about racing exclusive cars and evading the police, just like in the first couple of titles, without having to worry about the handling as it was a nice arcade way of driving. Job well done, hugely entertaining arcade-racer. Same goes for most of the common current simulations, like GTR Evo, Netkar, LFS, rFactor, iRacing, whatever rocks your socks. They do what they do well, they’re simulations and know where their focus is.

    So here’s my cry out loud to the guys at SMM: guys, find the right balance, please look at GRID to see how it shouldn’t be done and get it right. Please restore my faith in the NFS series ;)

  • idlejimbo

    As far as the realism/gameplay tradeoff is concerned, I would expect this to be sitting just about where the Colin McRae games were. Realism won’t come at the expense of gameplay. So, the bodywork damage will probably be the most realistic thing.

  • http://www.rf.smakugames.com PvtStash

    I would love to see EA produce something that could be classed as a simulator, they have the team and the resources to do so. However EA are well known for supporting the production of arcade style racing games as these have a greater chance of selling in volume and I guess are probably easier to manage as ports. I am leaning towards this one being more or less forced into being ” Grid-ish” to keep the shareholders happy. EA aren’t stupid, annoying yes, fools no. You don’t get to be the size of EA by making niche games, they know the big money is in the ” instant play ” games IE arcade based. This concerns me in as much as it could force the dev team to produce something they didn’t want to simply to stay alive as a working production team. The old ” sell your soul ” routine. ;) Of course not knowing anything for sure makes all this pure speculation, we will only know for sure I guess when there is a working title to be tested. It would be very nice to have a proper sim from a company as large as EA but personally I just can’t see it. The call of the cash is going to get them at some point and we will be back to the same crappy NFS that has become the standard fare for the series as of late. It would be a shame but it is also understandable when viewed from EA’s perspective which I would imagine is very much bottom line influenced. I think we are all mature enough here to discuss this in an adult manner and respect each others opinions, some of the comments above make for interesting reading. It helps you learn how other people see things and that I hope can bring us closer as a community. We are all in the same boat basically. Peace and good-will to all and may your tyres always grip. :)

  • fpol

    This actually *confirms* that this won’t be on my shopping list. I’m sure the driving model (loathe to use the *physics* word, HL2 has great physics, but it’s not a sim of anything) will be well beyond typical NFS fare…that however does not make it a proper driving simulation.

    Nothing in that article is stuff I haven’t heard before by the more ‘game inspired’ (i refuse to say arcade, that’s the original Test drive) driving games.

    The most demoralizing issue is that this will keep Slightly mad tied up with this crap year to year and unable to make anything of substance.

    The whole *crossover* sim is bogus, people who want more simply use this thing called Google and quickly find offerings like iRacing or even simbin, ISI, and LFS..the rest are quite content with Need for Speed, Forza, etc…

  • kill4f00d

    Listen up EA! Remake Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit! For you own good, do it! It was the best game in the series. It had awesome sports cars, great arcade physics, insane cop chases, fun multi-player modes, including split screen on the PC. In other words, it was the fun Need For Speed that many of us miss. A remake is required, with new content of course. Take cues from the past successful NFS games to get it back on track. No more rap music, being underground, undercover, or pro at street. Please.

  • Paul Kelly

    TomHolland:

    Please name me one EA console game that has been a sim. Thank you.

    Now you understand the sim community’s cynicism toward the breathless PR proclaiming that Shift will be a sim.

    Plus, has anyone determined how many people from Blimey remained after the company was bought? Either way, there’s no question Slightly Mad will succumb to the pressure applied by EA to ensure Shift is a commercial hit. The only way you can do that with a console racer is to make it arcade, or relaxed sim at most.

  • stabiz

    I am a bitter old man: And yes, this will be dissapointing if anybody expect a sim. Its EA for crying out loud, the mothership of half assed games + costly addons.

  • zudthespud

    Considering how much i enjoyed GRID, if they make a replica of that but with some simulation touches i will be a very happy man.

    The one thing i hope they work on is the frame rates, i heard they were all over the place on NFS undercover.

  • ScHiRoCk

    I hope EA doesnt involve itself with the GTL development crew, or else it will be just a new nfs again… *milk, milk

    And they can shove their motion blur up their …. !

  • xilix

    If a developer could bring me a full on simulation that’s as moddable and as dynamic as GTR2/rFactor, with the graphical quality of games like GRID and Pro Street, I would pay $150.00 for it. Hands down, period, and I’m betting many other die hard simmers would too. We need it, and we want it.

    But we won’t get it, not for a long time. So… pfff. Screw EA and their empty promises.

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