EA Black Box's Need for Speed Undercover didn't exactly cruise into the winner's circle upon its release for all currently relevant platforms in November, given that it received at its best moderately positive reviews on the Xbox 360 and PC. To get the series back on track, EA said in January that it would be overhauling its approach with the title, busting the series into three products: a traditional Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP, and PC installment; a Wii/DS edition; and a PC-only, free-to-play online game.
Today, EA announced that the first of those Need for Speed breakout projects, Shift, will arrive for the Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, and PC on September 22 in North America, preceded by the European rollout on September 17. Eschewing the campy aesthetic of Undercover, Shift will focus more on the experience of driving, oriented around first-person, in-cockpit perspective racing.
According to EA, Shift features more vehicles than any other installment in the Need for Speed franchise, explicitly calling out the Pagani Zonda F, Porsche 911 GT2, and Lotus Elise as drivable rides. The racer will also feature a number of real-world tracks, including the UK's Brands Hatch course.
Need for Speed Shift for consoles and the PC is in development at Slightly Mad Studios, in collaboration with EA's recently downsized Black Box studio. Although it may be Slightly Mad's debut effort, the studio consists of developers and designers who have experience on GT Legends and GTR2. NFS Shift on the PSP is being crafted at EA's Bright Light Studios.