A secret meeting revealed details on the next Need for Speed game

need for speed unbound

Criterion Games revealed the future of the Need for Speed franchise and what the next game will be like. 

The Need for Speed franchise has seen better days. Once the most dominant racing video game franchise, with breakout hits like Need for Speed: Underground and Most Wanted, the franchise struggled to compete against modern racing titles. The popularity of Forza Horizon and Gran Turismo drove some racing fans away from the Need for Speed franchise.

Faced with a shrinking fanbase, Criterion Games met with notable figures surrounding the game to discuss Need for Speed’s future. This includes a general idea of what the game will be like, and what fans can reasonably expect.

What will the next Need for Speed game be like

The next Need for Speed title will reportedly take inspiration from Most Wanted, Carbon, and Underground.

KuruHS, a notable Need For Speed speedrunner, discussed a meeting between Criterion and 15 content creators regarding the franchise’s future. The creators can’t go into specifics due to NDA obligations, but they could discuss broader details.

In addition to using beloved entries from the past as a baseline, Criterion will deemphasize the Brake2Drift handling in favor of a grip-based one, enhance multiplayer systems, and give players more customization options. KuruHS notes that the meeting was “brutally honest,” with transparent discussions about the budget and priority features. 

Did Need for Speed: Unbound flop?

Need for Speed: Unbound sold below expectations, likely due to poor marketing and its controversial art style. Unbound also sold significantly less than its predecessor, Need for Speed Heat, which came out in 2019. Although there’s no direct confirmation it was a flop, Criterion made it clear that Need for Speed: Unbound was a financial disappointment and will be looking to remedy this in its next game. 

In sharp contrast, fellow 2022 racing title Gran Turismo 7 celebrated record-breaking sales in the United States. The entry boasts the highest-grossing launch month sales of any Gran Turismo title and only trailed behind Elden Ring in terms of game sales in 2022. 

Criterion noted the lack of advertising as well as the shift in art style as factors in Need for Speed: Unbound’s poor performance. Need for Speed’s brand still has value among gamers, and there are still loyal fans to the franchise. However, if it wants to keep up with modern racing titles, the developers need to step on the gas.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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