Need for Speed is getting a complete makeover this year, moving away from the series’ staple of pitting you back in the fight against the cops, and instead pulling you back into the colourful, drift-happy world of underground street racing. Developed by Ghost Games, which is mostly made up of ex-Criterion staff and a few people from the Need for Speed Rivals team, the latest entry into the series is supposedly built once again on the Frostbite engine. While this allows the game to feature impressive visuals, one developmental snag is that all platforms had to be limited to 30 frames per second, presumably for the same reasons as Rivals (i.e. the physics was locked to the framerate). An update from Ghost Games now says the title for PC will be delayed until March 2016, instead of the original shipping date of 3 November 2015, in order for the developers to work on a 60fps patch for the game.
The message was posted up on the Need for Speed blog, which is managed by Ghost Games currently. The blog first apologises for the delay and the need to pull the game while the patch is being worked on, and later on announces a closed beta for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One platforms, which will be set up to test the game’s dedicated servers (a first for the series).
“At Ghost, we’re united by one common passion… to deliver the best Need for Speed™ experience possible. And at every step of the development process we’re guided by our community. Whether that’s reading your comments on Facebook or Twitter, watching your videos on YouTube, or joining in with the discussion on Reddit, the conversation we’ve been having as fans of Need for Speed is enormously important and we’re working to reflect it in the game we’re building.”
“Part of the conversation includes hearing from our PC community that an unlocked frame rate in Need for Speed is a massive priority for you, and we fully agree. To deliver this, we’ve made the decision to move the PC release date to Spring 2016. Our PlayStation 4 and Xbox One release dates will remain the same, starting November 3, 2015 in North America and November 5 worldwide.”
“This decision on PC gives us the necessary development time to increase the visuals that we can deliver on PC. We will also include content updates that will have been released on console up to that time, making them available to all PC players from day one.”
The disappointing thing is that this tells us that Electronic Arts and Ghost Games had every intention of leaving the PC platform stuck at 30fps, despite the issues it created for Rivals, along with the backlash that the game attracted when it was also discovered that the engine’s limit wasn’t only 60fps, but that the 30fps lock was also responsible for keeping the simulation time constant. Why this wasn’t fixed from the beginning of Need for Speed‘s development isn’t clear.
Regardless, Need for Speed (I can no longer add a date to the title for differentiation) will be launching this year for Playstation 4 and Xbox One, and promises a completely next-gen experience made possible by these ridiculously capable consoles. As with Rivals, Need for Speed will require an always-online internet connection.
If you’re patient enough you can wait for the PC launch, though I think that Ghost Games is already preparing itself for lower-than-expected sales on that platform. This isn’t GTA V, after all.