The Need For Speed series has taken another step away from an annualized release schedule, announcing that the follow up to 2015’s reboot game, Need For Speed, won’t be released until 2017. Developer Ghost Games announced the news in a blog post yesterday. Details of what the new game will involve are scarce, but Ghost and publisher Electronic Arts have a rich portfolio of automotive genres to choose from.
There’s been a new Need For Speed title every year but one since 2002. Over the years, the series has experimented with tuner-focused, arcade-style street racing and realistic circuit events, but has spent the past several years milking its familiar police-versus-street-racers theme and arcade-style gameplay. And things got stale. The series’ last annualized title, 2013’s cheese-tastic Need For Speed: Rivals, was proof that fatigue had truly set in and that a break was due.
It’s good that EA recognized this. While last year’s Need For Speed still maintained numerous NFS tropes – no manual transmissions, night-only racing, tussles with the police, and arcade-like driving dynamics – it was more enjoyable and better thought out than everything since 2009’s Need For Speed: Shift. After forcing myself to play Rivals when I reviewed it in 2013, last year’s NFS game was a true breath of fresh air – I actually had trouble putting it down. With any luck, taking 2016 off from full-scale new games will provide the same punchy impact on the next entry in this long-running series.