This would normally be the time of year when we're eagerly awaiting the release of the next Need for Speed game. However, NFS 2021 has become NFS 2022, as delays are still afflicting EA games.
So, with that in mind, let's take a look at features that we believe need to make their way to the next NFS title.
One of the buzz terms when it comes to the next generation of consoles is haptic feedback. Haptic feedback is a new type of vibration that adds localised vibrations to the controller. So, instead of just the intensity altering, there is now a real differentiation between the feeling you get over different surfaces.
Those that have played the likes of F1 2021 on the PlayStation 5 will know exactly how much of a difference haptic feedback makes. That's all well and good, but how will this feature be adapted into Need for Speed?
We're not sure what the open world you'll get to race around will be like yet. However, if it's anything like Palm City in Heat, the vast majority of the surfaces you'll be driving over will be concrete. So, haptic feedback's potential mainly lies within the crashing element of NFS.
The vibrations of the DualShock 5 could be altered so that when you slam into the wall, or another drive it feels markedly different to scraping along a barrier.
Haptic feedback is also available on the Xbox Series X, although the system isn't as advanced as on PS5.
A new feature to the next gen consoles that both Xbox and PlayStation have nailed is 3D audio. 3D audio, which is also known as Spatial Sound, allows gamers to experience both the volume and location of the audio. This is another level to the binary audio we've become used to and really allows you to immerse yourself in the game.
In a racing game like NFS, this will make a big difference to your spatial awareness. You will no longer have to turn the camera to find out where an opponent's car is. Instead, you'll be able to hear where the car is from the location of the sound of the engine.
If there's one feature that has been consistent with Need for Speed games, it's the quality of the sound. So, for NFS to go to the next level for next gen, it has to make full use of 3D audio.
Here's a trailer for the PS5. showing exactly what 3D audio is and what it feels like to experience:
With more processing power, comes more opportunity to improve the AI. To put it mildly, the AI in NFS Heat was lacklustre. Aside from the different names to pop up on the timing tower in the left of your screen, there was nothing to tell them apart.
A bit of individuality for the AI in a game where customisation is such a large feature would go a long way to aid immersion. But it's not the racers where the AI needs to be improved the most, it's the cops.
The police were comically overpowered in Heat. Escaping them even on low Heat levels was a laborious task and was a little too realistic, in some senses.
NFS needs to go back to the days of Most Wanted and Carbon when it comes to the cops. Yes, they were over-the-top in terms of the RAM SUV's and roadblocks, but at least the police were escapable. If EA could nail the police in the PS2 days, they can do it in the PS5 era as well.