The release of Need for Speed Heat is only a few weeks away, so EA and Ghost Games have released a batch of inside information on it.
Ghost Games wanted to go back to a more busy urban environment after Need for Speed: Payback, so they opted for a Miami-inspired city that could give fans the urban density and cop chases they desired. It’s a bright place during the day and night, except for when the weather abruptly changes in a very video game-sort of way, making it the perfect locale. Miami and Florida were partially fused with Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains though, just to give the game some vertical variety.
It may be an open world game, but Heat was built for racing. The devs started by building a number of race tracks, then incorporated them into the city to be fitted and polished. More technical routes were added, blind turns and hard stops were removed, and loaded run-off areas with destructible scenery. The whole game is meant to be a smooth racing experience that feels good to navigate.
And we can’t talk about Need for Speed Heat without discussing how you deal with heat. Police chases are the name of the game, and Ghost wants to make sure you have the options to deal with them however you want (short of going full Grand Theft Auto, of course). Look out for ramps and billboards, head for the interstate and drive in oncoming traffic, weave through dense back-alleys in the city, refill health at gas stations, tune your car for all-out speed and find somewhere to hit top speed, or tune for off-road and use the back country. There’s lots of ways to navigate the world and avoid your pursuers, and you’ll probably use them all at some point or another.
Speaking of navigating the world, there’s a lot of world to discover and explore. Hitting ramps and smashing through billboards is simple, distracting and fun, but they need to be fast, spectacular and easy to retry, so Ghost Games found places in the world where you could generally hit them full tilt, take in amazing reveals of the landscape, land in specially cleared areas, and circle round to try again if you miss. You’ll need to upgrade your car or choose between tarmac or dirt performance to collect them all. There’s also a lot of collectible graffiti tags and street art in hard-to-find places, and you’ll be rewarded with cosmetics for getting them. Finally, collectibles are counted per district, so you won’t need to worry about a huge, daunting number popping up every time you find one.
And of course, it’s all about location. Ghost noticed how certain areas were very appealing to players in their older games, so multiple “play areas” were added to Need for Speed Heat. You can head for the disused raceway on the edge of the city to rip it around a high speed circuit. It’s right next to the player garage, so it’s a pretty good place to test out your performance customization. There’s a big industrial zone in the southwest, and a quarry in the north. Head south from the city and you’ll find a vast complex of warehouse buildings and test facilities surrounding a rocket launch site. There are tons of secrets, signs, and hidden areas to discover, so you’d best get driving!
Need for Speed Heat pulls in on November 8th, and we can’t wait to see how it turns out. Tune in around then for more coverage.