Need For Speed

My brother and I were recently talking about the game Need for Speed, and how after many iterations, it has lost out fans because of one specific game in the franchise. Apparently, that game, required internet to play. There was no way to play offline, which would be a huge deterrent. Since then, the franchise has struggled to get into gamers good graces.

As my brother pointed out, Forza and Grand Turismo are basically simulators rather than play for fun games.

So what would a new Need for Speed look like? Both gamers and car guys are, I think, the overlap in a venn diagram.

Right now, from a car guy standpoint, you have to put cars that are super popular in real life on the cover. A Datsun 510 would turn enough heads. If you want to really throw in a spark, put a GMC Syclone or a Porsche 944. Of course exotic cars are always a draw, but hyper cars tend to be the real show stopper now days. Cars like a McLaren Senna, Pagani Huayra, Koenigsegg Regera, are a bit more attention grabbing to enthusiasts, and still just as appealing to non enthusiasts.

Although, mentioning the GMC and the Porsche got me thinking that an expansion DLC for a Radwood edition would be REALLY popular.

I also recently read an article about how Road & Track had a hand in the original Need for Speed game. Back then, they pioneered the driving connection to the car. As the games increased, Road & Track parted ways. But ever since 2005 when Need for Speed Most Wanted came out, the game has gone down hill. I started to ask myself why.

I think that the game needs to get back to two anchors that made the game what it was. First, as debuted in Underground, they need to allow major modifications to the cars. For example, 2JZ swap a Lamborghini or safari a 94 Acura Legend. Let people get really creative with body kits, engine swaps, colors, lighting, interior, etc. A computer can swap out interiors and engines on a whim. Make it happen.

Second, and most importantly, is to have the ability to race and/or be pursued, at any time, anywhere in the game, in a semi realistic way. The original game was all about fast racing. Hot Pursuit was all about being chased. Suspension of disbelief is hard to achieve in a racing video game, especially if you are not making a simulator. But if there are options, like turning on and off damage, having a speed ratio to what is equipped on the car, and factoring in environmental effects like weather, are all things that have to have a delicate balance to give game players an extremely fun experience, but also have it be somewhat believable. To accomplish this, get a small group of strictly gamers, strictly car people, and people who know both, to accomplish the right balance for the game. If those things could be accomplished, Need for Speed can make an awesome comeback.

Questionable Revivals

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There are two vehicles that have been revived recently that have left me perplexed at their timing and construction. They are the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Supra. While I am not opposed to them being in production, the logic behind them seems weak.

The Ranger has grown up since the last time it was built. As the ever-popular American market continues to purchase pickup trucks and SUV’s, Ford revived the Ranger to possible help solidify more of that market share, complimenting their dominance in the full-size truck segment. What does not make sense is the timing of Ford producing the Ranger. It is basically the European Ranger with tweaks for the US market. But, the life cycle of it is coming to a close quickly since it has already been on sale in Europe for a number of years now. It really seems strange that Ford would bring the Ranger to the US as a “new” truck, only to potentially do a complete refresh on it in 3 years. Why would anyone want to buy a truck they know is going to only be around for 3 years? Why buy a leftover? To add insult to injury, the 15-year-old Nissan Frontier outsold the Ford Ranger. There are so many things that don’t make sense about Ford selling the Ranger here in the US before the refresh.

When it comes to the Supra, Toyota teamed up with BMW to produce the car. From a financial standpoint it makes sense to team up with a manufacturer, but maybe not on your halo car. Hearing the price range doesn’t seem to register well with the price of what one would think a Toyota should be. Adding to that, the car has been intentionally built without certain performance enhancements simply because Toyota knows the aftermarket world will improve the car. It really sounds quite lazy. I am not against that tactic. To be honest, I think it is brilliant. I wish more companies would do that. What my issue is, is that the car costs so much for what is essentially a watered down BMW Z4 and an expensive, not fully equipped Toyota. With an asking price of over $50,000 for the base model, it does not make sense to me in monetary terms.

The Ford Ranger and Toyota Supra are quite perplexing to me regarding when they returned and how expensive they returned for. Maybe things will make more sense in a few months or years. With the current automotive market climate, it will certainly be entertaining and interesting.