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After a dreadful series of Burnout clones from Criterion and letdowns from Black Box, EA has taken up the decision to move one of it’s oldest (and most beloved) franchises, Need for Speed, under the EA Sports division of the company as a strategy to boost it’s sales and unify the development of their products.

Patrick Soderlund, the executive vice president of EA Studios, has taken over responsibility of EA Sports just over 6 weeks ago and he’s been making several changes already: one of which is placing future Need for Speed games under the guidance of Matt Bilbey. Matt already has the UFC and NHL games under his wing, and he will soon have NFS to add to his list of three letter acronyms.

According to Soderlund, “We’re also putting Need for Speed and our driving business under Matt. We think that could benefit from from fresh eyes, could benefit from some different thinking, and we think that Matt is the right guy to do that. He’s got a very different viewpoint about how to make games and what great games.

For the past several years, Need for Speed games have been suffering from a lack of originality. Fans of the franchise weren’t happy with it’s focus on open world gameplay with the same rinse-and-repeat formula of competing in races and evading the police. The move, according to him, is an effort to alleviate this problem and look at future versions of the game from a different perspective; which is something a series that spans roughly two decades would need.

Need for Speed: The Run

‘Need for Speed; The Run’ had the potential to be racing game of the year, but living up to it’s name, suffered from gameplay diarrhea and a generic story

He goes on to say that “I think that we can learn a lot from the sports games and what they’ve done. When you play a sports game, the  controller in your hand will dictate how good the game is. It’s all about player control and input and how it feels. It’s a feeling, right? I think that focus on pure gameplay, is something that can benefit the Need for Speed brand in a very positive way.

While this may sound appealing, it has been done before. EA stated a similar motive for placing Need for Speed under Criterion’s care and that didn’t go so well. Some are even arguing that this will make no difference whatsoever, as sports games are “copy-and-paste” titles that don’t differ each year they’re released. Well, while that may seem the case, sports games do improve with each iteration even if it’s marginal. Games like FIFA have filed their gameplay down to an art, and if Need for Speed can benefit from something like this, then so be it.

Even so, only time will tell. In the meantime, I think I’ll try to get my hands on Burnout Paradise 4 Need for Speed: Rivals.

Source: Polygon

Written by Cohen Singh

Cohen Singh

There are no choices. Nothing but a straight line. The illusion comes afterwards, when you ask “why me?” and “what if?”. When you look back and see the branches, like a pruned bonsai tree, or forked lightning. If you had done something differently, it wouldn’t be you, it would be someone else looking back, asking a different set of questions.

  • Alaina

    Okay…. Should’ve probably gotten a more impartial person to write this article. What an obnoxious guy this Cohen Singh is :/

    • Hentie Theart

      He seems to have a pretty unbiased opinion. Unhinged? Maybe. But I like his style.

    • Cohen Singh

      If this is because of my views regarding Criterion’s vision of what a Need for Speed game should be, then I humbly apologise. I didn’t mean to come across as obnoxious, but I’ll take your input into consideration the next time I post something.

      • Brendon Bosch

        Very polite but i`ll be honest. A douche is a douche so kudos to you for being the more mature person and not letting said douche get to you.

        • http://www.gamebuddies.co.za/ Charl

          Ah dude. I feel sorry for lonely trolls getting off on having a go at sites when he obviously has no clue what he is talking about. So sad.

          • Brendon Bosch

            Thankfully trolls are in the minority. Hope i dont have to read that pointless blabbering again

          • Ty

            I have a clue. I play cluedo

          • LAblak22

            Hahaha. Durban has such funny people, huh, Ty?

    • http://www.gamebuddies.co.za/ Charl

      A view and opinion was given and it was hardly obnoxious. Fact of the matter is, the NFS titles have hardly been impressive of late. It’s called facts. No need for an impartial person to know or write about this.

      • Ty

        Whether a game is impressive or not is a matter of opinion… it’s not “called facts” besides…
        NFS 2010 and 2012 releases both got marks in excess of 80% on metacritic… now, whilst your opinion is that it was “hardly impressive” the FACT remains a lot of other (more credible) reviewers beg to differ. And that is their opinion.

        Unintelligent “Mod” …daft tw@

        • LAblak22

          Key words being, “their opinion.”

        • http://www.gamebuddies.co.za/ Charl

          More credible reviewers??? Last time I checked this was an article with an opinion and not a review. Nothing more, nothing less. As with your comment, it’s also based on an “opinion”, so why can we not disagree with it? Is that not why we have the right to voice our said opinion and view. Same as you.

          Anyways, from what I saw from your most recent comments, it seems you enjoy a bit of written flame wars. This sadly, will not become another one. Get in touch when you have your own site which is more …uhm…”credible”.

          • Ty

            Why do I want a site? I’m actually successful and possess a degree that’s bringing home more income than a crummy little site that no one’s heard of can. The fact that you have misfits who are losers in real life writing your articles shows how successful you really are. I suggest you get a real job.

          • http://www.gamebuddies.co.za/ Charl

            Wow…and the maturity comes right through on that one. We are very sorry mr. succesful. Sad how an intellectual person such as yourself finds time to act like a total idiot. I see you didn’t learn any manners during your studies.

            Yes, we are losers that also have degrees. We are misfits that own a website and write articles for free because our REAL jobs and businesses allow us to.

            We humbly apologize and bow down to your greatness Alaina or Ty or whatever narcissistic personality that is controlling you today.

            And with that, we will end this very short but entertaining little brainfart from you and move on with our super ‘unsuccessful” lives as losers and misfits.

          • Ty

            TL;DR All I can see is that you’re a real keyboard warrior. GTFO troll…

          • LAblak22

            This is the internet. We’re all successful and have degrees and have large penises and hot girlfriends and regular bowel movements.

          • Ty

            All except you

          • LAblak22

            Hey! Leave You alone. You have an issue against Asian people? Oh. Your. God — you racist.

        • Lydon

          Dude, yes, while some critics thought that The new games were good, the audience apparently disagrees because all the new Need for speed Games have sold like shit and have been commercial failures. Hot Pursuit sold only 2 million copies globally in its lifetime which is abysmal Also the new Most wanted barely broke 1 million units sold which is a while 6 million less units sold than the original Most wanted. Honestly the numbers don’t lie and the numbers say that these games were doo doo.

    • http://egamer.co.za/author/cavie Caveshen “CaViE” Rajman

      You must be a huge fan of FIFA.

  • Hentie Theart

    It’s in the game…

    • Cohen Singh

      I’ll never get used to that. I miss hearing “challenge everything” just before the opening cutscene.

  • Mahomed Baksh

    great stuff!:D

    • Cohen Singh

      Thanks!

    • Ty

      I totally agree M. Baksh! Really a well written article, love this author. Can’t wait to read more from him!

  • Lydon

    It’s sad that the best Need for Speed is still Most wanted (The old one not the new one).

    • cubs223425

      Ehh, I’m on the fence there. I have no idea how it is widely-viewed, but I liked Carbon a lot myself. As to which is better, it’d be a toss-up for me. I haven’t played either in probably 5+ years though, so I can’t exactly give a great hands-on comparison.

  • Jivesh Hanoomaun

    Please take it back to the Underground days

  • Brendon Bosch

    Ok so after reading all the comments and saying my say in there somewhere i can go onto giving MY OPINION.

    The last few NFS games have been fun to an extent but they lacked imagination and more importantly for me… LONGEVITY. The original MOST WANTED hasnt been topped by any NFS game and they have simply been using gimmicks and gameplay features which didnt really add much to the games.

    I do however hope EA can get a working formula for NFS that actually can stand the test of time.

    ALSO stop the damn online achievement crap. If i play the game a year or so after it is released i cant get those cheevos because nobody is playing it anymore. Why arent they playing it anymore you ask? For the reasons i mentioned above.

    • http://www.gamebuddies.co.za/ Charl

      Exactly. I have hopes for Rivals as they are trying to get back to certain roots they should have brought in much sooner as was in Underground. Hopefully it can bring back some of the old school nostalgia.

      • Brendon Bosch

        Agreed. Thats All!!!

    • Monde K.

      Hmm. So I seem to be the only who puts Hot Pursuit (current gen version) as the best NFS game?

      • Brendon Bosch

        It was fun yes but very repetitive. I think the thing that set MOST WANTED apart was that there actually was a story

    • cubs223425

      If they give it longevity, wouldn’t that fix the issue of a lack of players for online Achievements, therefore making their removal unnecessary?

      It’s worse when you have annual sports games where the servers get shut down after a year or two.

      • Brendon Bosch

        true but removing crappy cheevos can be done. Longevity isnt always possible

        • cubs223425

          Isn’t “crappy” mostly relative though? A lot of folks would call the “Seriously” Achievements crappy, and most woudl call ANY grinding Achievements crappy. I think the crappy ones are the online ones where servers shut down and I can never earn them because I didn’t play the game in its 1st 12 months.

          • Brendon Bosch

            That is why i said at the beginning of my post, giving MY OPINION. There are a million ways of looking at something and everyone has a million ways of looking at it themselves so yes it is all relative.

            I would consider the cheevos in Dark Souls to be fair because that is the type of game it is so yes it does come down to things being relative

  • cubs223425

    It’s hard to tell if this is a good or bad idea yet. EA Sports also handles NBA LIVE, which failed to get a game out of the door for 3 years (perhaps the biggest failure in development I can think of), as well as Madden, which has had its share of failures.

    However, with what Need for Speed has become, it can’t possibly get worse. I still think that they should be embarrassed that they “remade” Most Wanted on the same console it launched on, while making it a totally-different concept (allegedly, I never played it because I was so annoyed by the idea of a same-gen remake). Maybe fresh eyes are what is needed, I don’t know. All I know is that I miss the ORIGINAL Most Wanted and Carbon.

  • http://www.blackxino.blogspot.com/ Xino

    who wrote this article?

    “After a dreadful series of Burnout clones from Criterion”
    how were they clones?

    “Fans of the franchise weren’t happy with it’s focus on open world gameplay with the same rinse-and-repeat formula of competing in races and evading the police”

    which fans were complaining about NfS being open world? Underground 2 was the best.
    and many liked Hot Pursuit, so please stop writing crap.

    I want to see how this Matt guy will take the series and direct it. Hopefully we should see something new.
    Rivals look cool, i love how they returned to the Hot Pursuit route, but this whole business thing with the “Banking your score” I don’t like it. It’s like the game is just built all around banking scores.
    Though I want to play it and see how this “players around the world can evade your race/road” thing, sounds interesting.
    I never played The Run but a racing game turned into a story campaign is not just right in my eyes.

    • Ty

      THANK YOU! I echo your sentiments. That’s all I’ll say on the matter because if I say anymore, I’ll be a troll the halfwits that work for/on this pathetic excuse of a website.

  • Gersh

    A winning formula?