At its E3 2009 press conference, Electronic Arts gave a small taste of what to expect from the latest game in its flagship racing series, Need for Speed: Shift. But first, EA Games Europe senior vice president Patrick Soderlund jumped onto the stage and gave some background on EA's approach for the game, saying that most of the focus has been put on different styles of driving. More specifically, he said that there are drivers out there that strive for perfection, attempting to hit the apex of every turn and perform clean overtakes of other cars out on the track. Then, there are the aggressive drivers--the kind that like to trade paint and generally make life difficult for everyone else out on the track.
Soderlund went on to say that Need for Speed: Shift plays into this with a gameplay system that rewards certain styles of driving. In the video being shown, we saw awards for everything from endurance and clean to dominator. These awards, along with other attributes such as profile points and personal successes, help create a unique driver persona. In addition, drivers can create rivalries with each other out on the track--we had a brief glimpse of two cars trading paint, which made a rivalry icon appear onscreen.
At the end of the presentation, EA showed the beginning of a standard race, and the first thing that was apparent was the sound. If nothing else, Need for Speed: Shift does a great job with engine noise and other sound effects. But also impressive was the sense of speed as well as the physics, which were showcased with little bumps and taps from other cars as well as a massive head-on collision with a wall at the end of the video. Need for Speed: Shift is scheduled for release on September 22, but stay tuned for more on Shift in our continuing coverage of E3 2009.