First it was Battlefield 3, now it’s Need For Speed: The Run. Both the games are of a different genre. One is action while the other is racing. The only common aspect in both the game is the Frostbite 2.0 engine which, at the moment, stands apart in the gaming world.
Coming November, both the racing genre and NFS franchise will see the introduction of the most developed game engine on the planet. Previous results of the engine has already been seen in Battlefield 3’s gameplay videos and EA (Electronic Arts) is once again hopeful that their newest racing game in the NFS franchise will draw more crowds than it previously did.
This will be the first game in the history of the Need For Speed franchise where a character has been introduced, and you can actually step out of the car. The character, called “Jack,” will make a run for his life from San Francisco to New York. The basic idea behind this is to give you a real time feel of both the character and the game. You, however, will only be able to control the in-game character during the cutscenes which is enough for a game in the racing genre.
Previous games in the franchise such as the Shift 2: Unleashed, Hot Pursuit (2010) and NFS: World (2010) worked on the same basic engine that added classic MMO elements to the games. The games claimed to redefine the racing simulator genre by delivering authentic and true-to-life dynamic crash physics, intricately detailed real-world cars, drivers and tracks. Back in the nineties, the game was all about cool cars and exotic driving locations. Now, there is way more than that with improved character face physics and real life tracks stretching from San Francisco to New York, covering all the mountains, terrains, trees and canyons.
The nearest competitor to the game, at the moment, is the upcoming Forza Motorsport 4 from Turn 10 Studios that will be the first game in the Forza series to support the Kinect sensor alongside controller-based gameplay. The developers, at the E3 2011, called it 'the future of racing'. The most attractive feature of the game is that now you will be able to literally walk around the car and explore its features like the car’s headlight. But, apart from Forza’s newest racing game nobody stands a chance against Need For Speed: The Run.
NFS: The Run first appeared at the E3 2011 where the NFS’ developing team was interviewed who revealed that the story of the game revolves around an illicit high stakes race from San Francisco to New York”. The video itself shows the character’s attempt to escape police and a mob.
Need For Speed: The Run is going into the real world for the first time. A lotta times we did more fictional cities but now we are happy that we are going into the real world. The game is a race from San Francisco to New York. Winner takes it all.” Said Justin Weeb, one of the lead developers of the game, to iRacing.com in an interview at E3 2011.
The NFS team is excited about the new Frostbite 2.0 engine that will be initiated into the game. The engine is expected to make use of the entire DX11 API and an integrated 64-bit processor. An additional Destruction 3.0 has also been included, which will provide filtered physics compared to its ancestors. The use of MLAA (Morphological Anti-Aliasing), which is highlighted in games like God of War III and LittleBigPlanet 2, will also come to the forefront. Environmental destruction physics has been enhanced along with subsurface scattering in real time.
Weeb, on the topic of game handling, said “we've had a lot of experience trying to find the right balance handling in the previous games. Now, we will focus more on accessibility vs. hard core driving physics. We want to make sure each car presents a different driving challenge for the player. Our aim is to make it accessible but at the same time it should have a challenge to it. The cars are made believable to anybody who has ever driven those cars.”
The EA Black Box team, especially the artists, coders and designers, for the first time, are working collaboratively in small groups on The Run.
Previously the art guys would build their tracks, then they'd throw them over, and the designers would go 'oh well, that's really not much fun, can you change it?' said Alex Grimbley of EA Black Box to The Guardian. Obviously that was a horrible process – it didn't really allow for iteration, and it didn't allow for quality. Now, we all get in a room together, we brainstorm, we throw stuff up on the wall, and slowly the game evolves.
Additional hardware supports are still being discussed. We plan to support a wide variety of wheels; I don’t have the specific wheels off-hand but will be supplying all the major manufacturer wheels,” Weeb explained. “It’s our ability to tell the story in our way. Previously the character talked to the camera. Now, we want the gamer to relate to the game and influence his every action. Our study tells us that people don’t need 300 cars but one or two of those specific cars they want to drive.”
The Black Box team said that this is the most ambitious track the developers had ever created. A wealth of real time driving experience has been introduced. The company actually sent a team across the country who actually recorded points from their trip.
Need For Speed: The Run will arrive on November 15, 2011 on Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360. It is left to see if the game will become the ultimate racing phenomenon on every platform or Forza Motorsport 4 will take away the glory. Forza’s racing game will hit the markets in October 11.