The Need for Speed franchise is a much-loved one. Once the best racing game series of all time. Now it’s seemingly fallen off, which is a great shame. Gone are the days when you could merely mention racing games and people would reply “Need For Speed”. To prove this, I decided to post a question in the All Maverick discord server as well as ask some of my personal friends. Here is one of their replies.
The days of Need for Speed‘s dominance over the racing market is sadly over, and it looks like Forza Horizon has taken over. As someone who grew up with Need for Speed being one of their favourite games (despite being no good at it) it is a shame to see one of my favourite series turning into more of a has-been than the franchise juggernaut it once was.
Forza Horizon takes a more professional take on the regular arcade racer and since the latest instalment has over 15 million players. It’s clear to see that people are lapping it up and enjoying it. Which they should, as it’s a very good game and one I nominated for a Game Award myself. However, this is about Need for Speed and not Forza Horizon.
Need For Speed used to be about the car culture. The big spoilers, wide-body kits and the ludicrously bright neon under glows. Those are just some of the small pieces of car culture these games used to focus on; in addition to the cars themselves. Gone are the days where the cars were only the likes of BMW, Ford, Nissan and Dodge just to name a few. Nowadays racing games have hypercars such as Bugatti, Ferrari and so on take centre stage, whereas the 2005 game Need For Speed: Most Wanted only had a handful of these so-called hypercars.
The majority of the cars in NFS: Most Wanted were cars you could find on the street and likely did. Like the good ol’ Fiat Punto for example!
I’ve known many people in my own life who have owned a Fiat Punto, which gives me the mental image of someone just buying this car from my friend and making modifications before taking it to the nearest street race. Need For Speed felt gritty, with people meeting up after the sun had gone down and risking it all for nothing short of bragging rights and some extra money.
Even with the cars, they are nothing without a story, a plot. Forza Horizon is about a professional festival that changes locations, but each Need For Speed has its own unique story. For example, my favourite is NFS Carbon: Own The City which came out on PSP. The game saw your character have a car crash whilst racing your brother, leaving him dead and you with amnesia. The player is then tasked with finding out who caused that fatal crash, it even has its own plot twist (spoilers ahead!) of an ending revealing that it was you, the player who hired someone to takeout your own brother who we also find out was abusive to everyone around him.
We need Need For Speed to return back to its glory days and bring back the gritty car culture that many of us, including myself, fell deeply in love with. We want a return to the streetcars, to the dark nights being lit up by ludicrous under glows and loud engine noises. NFS’s latest game Need For Speed Heat proved that the juggernaut is capable of making something great. Lots of fans agreed that Heat had the needed qualities to be a good game, it just needed a little more fine-tuning. Furthermore, it was certainly a great step back towards the quality of games we expect from the Need For Speed franchise. We can only ask we get more of them. The long wait between games is only funelling more and more players to Forza Horizon and away from NFS, so why not increase the frequency of releases?
There you have it! Those are my reasons that Need For Speed needs to make a return to the racing genre and reclaim its crown! For the street culture! Please feel free to let me know your thoughts and comments below or even join the All Maverick Discord server and have a friendly chat with the team and I. Stick with All Maverick for your gaming & entertainment news.