Need for Speed Open-World "Full Reboot" Hitting PS4, Xbox One, and PC This Fall

Ghost Games announces first details about its new racing game; more info coming at E3.


This year's Need for Speed game is a "full reboot" of the iconic racing series, and is due to launch this fall for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, developer Ghost Games announced today, following numerous teases. Ghost isn't sharing much in the way of specifics about the game (look for more at E3, general manager Marcus Nilsson tells GameSpot), but the studio has shared a teaser trailer.

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What we do now know are high-level points about the new Need for Speed game. First, the game (which is inspired by the Underground series but doesn't have a name yet) will be an open-world, day-to-night racer featuring "deep customization," car culture by way of a partnership with EA's own Speedhunters, and even an "immersive narrative" that Ghost says will pull players through the game.

We recently had a chance to speak with Nilsson about the new Need for Speed game. Among other things, he talked about how an extra year of development benefited the game, the pressure he feels working on such an iconic series, and why story--yes, story--will play a major role in the new title.

The extra year

2014 was the first year in a decade that EA did not release a new, core Need for Speed game. Ghost used the extra development time to think about what the franchise really stands for, and that took time.

"Need for Speed needs to understand what it really is," Nilsson told GameSpot. "What are the core values of the brand, what are the types of experiences that we want to give to gamers? And sometimes it can be hard to do that when you have different development teams in different parts of the world. So the theory, or the strategy, for us was to become the owners of Need for Speed."


After Ghost was finished with Xbox One and PS4 launch title Need for Speed Rivals, the studio formulated an idea for a "very specific game."

"To build that specific game, we needed time and needed to understand from fans: what is the type of game you want us to build?" Nilsson said. "So what we've been doing in this year off is we've been trying to understand what people think Need for Speed should be standing for."

The end result of spending an extra year on development is a better overall product, Nilsson says.

"What people get from this year that we didn't ship a game, is they get a game that delivers on all the core tenets of what Need for Speed should be. And they get that in a very high quality form," he explained.


Need for Speed is one of the most iconic video game franchises in all of gaming. It's been around for two decades and even recently spawned a major blockbuster starring Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul. Given the weight of working on such a massive media property, you might think Nilsson was feeling some pressure.

"Not really, if I'm perfectly honest with you. Need for Speed, ten years ago, sold a lot more copies than it sells now," Nilsson said. "Which means we have a lot of room to move up. We have a global, known brand; it's strong. But I think we have a lot of upside for this franchise based upon getting our details and information and features in order. I don't feel pressure by it. I feel humbled to be associated with it."

The missing piece: story

Need for Speed games are known for their white knuckle action and lovely visuals, not usually story. But the new Need for Speed, surprisingly, will place a major emphasis on narrative. Nilsson says more details on the game's "innovative" story will be revealed later, but he shared some thoughts on how a strong story could make all the difference in helping revitalize the Need for Speed brand.

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"We are taking a very innovative approach to how we tell a story. That's actually probably as much as I can say at this time," Nilsson explained. "If you just go back three years with Need for Speed: The Run, there were stories in Need for Speed. Absolutely not the best executed stories. But we had stories. And I think a missing piece from the last games we had has been narrative. I think we can deliver a better game to our fans if we connect to them emotionally through story."

Online/social features

Nilsson also stressed that the new Need for Speed will advance the seamless online mode from Rivals, AllDrive, offering players a range of new tools to help them start playing with friends and groups.

"We're doing a lot more with that now," Nilsson said about the new Need for Speed's online mode.

In the single-player story, other people can enter your game and interact with you. "So it creates a very almost distraction-based gameplay for you as you play in this world," he said.

Standing out in an increasingly crowded racing genre

"Quite clearly, there's more interest in the genre. I've seen some numbers from the industry saying it's growing again. I quite frankly think that as we move to new consoles, new games try new ways...even if it's just pushing graphics, or pushing more polygons, or better physics in the cars," Nilsson said. "You can give more to the user on these more powerful hardware consoles. Having said that, I think each game will have to find its niche and it's more about quality execution than ever. So you need to be able to deliver really high quality, because of the competition we now have, which is far more than just games. TV, Facebook, whatever it is. But I am very happy to see more energy and interest in the racing genre."

Ghost Games, based in Sweden, is a subsidiary of EA. More information about the game will be announced during EA's E3 briefing, which is scheduled for Monday, June 15, at 1 PM PDT

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Avatar image for hotrider12

This year's Need for Speed game is a "full reboot"

more like reboot crapfest.

Avatar image for sithalo

i dont see why they contiue to claim the next game is a reboot. theres nothing to reboot... theres no sweeping story that lasts from one to the next that got over convuluted or needed to be rebooted for retcon perpouses...

the next game wont be a reboot. its just going to be the next game with the N4S title in a long line of games.

Avatar image for jknifeza

This is going to be epic...Just call it Underground 3...can't wait!!!!

Avatar image for gledr

trailer sucks. And i could care less about nfs unless it has split screen.

Avatar image for saladfingers

NFS Underground 3, with a huge open world, large variety of cars, online mode to drive around and race other people in the streets or just hang out and show off your cars, and perhaps a decent story. Anyone would be excited about that?

Don't know about the rest, but I gave up after NFSU 2. It just kept being repetitive and feature starved ever since.

Avatar image for hyksiu

Riders on the storm. Killer on the road. ...

Avatar image for DatDarkOne

Just give me manual tranny option and I'll be happy. Anything less than that in a racing game is just not worth it.

Avatar image for jasonmzk

I need arrows on the race course. That's all.

Avatar image for balintcsikos

Gimme the deepest customization I can imagine and this will be my first pre-order

Avatar image for gledr

@balintcsikos: they made it and its called the crew.

Avatar image for nio9345

@gledr@balintcsikos: And they failed misserably on every possible level.

Avatar image for hammr25

Hopefully it's nothing like Need for Speed: The Run because that game was awful.

Avatar image for frredomofspeech

Rivals was probably the last NFS game my current PC can handle

Avatar image for ranjanpradhan

nfs rivals is the best. I hope this will be even better

Avatar image for zrex2metagor

@ranjanpradhan: ................................

Avatar image for strothers101

I just want porsche back in my forza

Avatar image for 9629626631

Will the NFS developers and Gamespot see these below comments................?

Avatar image for 9629626631

If you are going to create a new NFS series please make the car handling controls like in old NFS MW and game effects like in burnout paradise. I love the car in depth custumization tooo. Please don't waste our time or your time if you are going to create games like rivals and new Most wanted. ...... Guys when i was in college i have my own NFS MW team to compete local players, after 6+ years later still i remeber the map where to go from city to highway road. we all hate what you guys doing now and spoiling NFS name and its F**** car handling controls. Hope the developers ask for feedback from big NFS players so that developers can get to know what they are doing wrong and how they are spoiling NFS.

Things need to change:

Need Car control like NFS MW - OLD - silky smooth like good old school

Nice online and multiplayer
Solid map like MW - old

Depth Car customization
Nice story
effects like Burnout paradise - crashing and high speed effects




I don't remember in one NFS rivals or latest MW the key binding is total bullshit and deleted the entire game in 10 min after playing it...y u guys locking key binding of our own.. total waste of money and time.

Avatar image for BludshedX

Gamespot, I believe you made a few spelling errors in this article. "Rehash" is spelt with a HASH not a BOOT. The only boot is the one being shoved up gamers arses when they give their money to EA.

Avatar image for Infinite_713

Need for Speed Most Wanted. I had it on Gamecube and it was amazing. The remake, I have it on XBOX 360 and it is simply phenomenal! They took elements from Burnout and implemented them but keeping the same objective as the original. I have NFS Rivals, I don't like it. Also, I'm not into simulated racing games...mainly because I don't have a racing wheel because they're expensive. They have cheaper ones but they don't really have good reviews on Amazon:(

Avatar image for dpclark

The only NFS game I had was Porsche Unleashed.

Avatar image for Purpledust

NFS Rivals is my favorite car game on x1

Avatar image for zrex2metagor

@Purpledust: you need to play more car racing games then, clearly

Avatar image for CFritzRun

As a game store owner, I can't tell you how many people come in wanting the 2005 Most Wanted. In fact, basically all of my NFS sales come from PS2/early last gen. The reason? Everyone is mad that the customization became watered down to the point where it was basically "wuts ur fav coloure? lol".

The old NFS games straddled this excellent middle-ground between being a game for street-racing enthusiasts and casual players. Personally, I'm not a fan but I respect what they used to (and still could) be. There's a gap in that market that nobody else has managed to fill properly so hopefully this year off gave them a better perspective than, "We need more story!"

Avatar image for xyphe

@CFritzRun: Underground 2, lets be honest.

Avatar image for micbudda

I hated Rivals, its one of the worst racing games in video games history.
Never been a fan of the whole "pick a car and race" type of games, racing games need depth otherwise they get boring.
This however, excites me. As a fan of the tuner culture and a follower of the Speedhunters blog, this is a definate buy for me aslong as it has good handling and a few 90s japanese cars.

Avatar image for Raditz5

Mustangs are kind of blah once you own one for a while. Not sure how much Ford is paying to have the car plastered everywhere.

I don't need to buy this game to drive a Mustang, I have a 2012 5.0 less than 50 feet away and the car is very common among average income Americans.......Corvette Z06 on the other hand.....

Avatar image for strothers101

Is also a piece of trash?

Avatar image for rolla020980

OK, so make this Underground 3, then If Rockstar can make a Midnight Club I will be good to go for arcade racers. I am about finished with the Horizon 2 campaign mode anyways.

I will always wish for a Burnout, but I guess EA doesn't want to make a boatload of money since we all know we would buy it...

Avatar image for BludshedX

@rolla020980: "... EA doesn't want to make a boatload of money.."

Never thought I'd hear that!

Avatar image for Metallic_Blade

"Rebooted" Yeah, Right, more like "Bastardized to hell and back." I'm not even going to bother if this will be developed by Criterion Games again. This will be a mediocre title yet again.

If they really wanted to make a reboot (a proper one) it would have to include:

-All cars have cockpit views [NFS I-V, Shift)

- Car showcase (narrations, history, specs, INTERIOR showcase of the actual car) [NFS I-V]

- How about we can pick our tracks in single player again?! Also Time of Day/Weather settings. [NFS I-V]

- Soundtrack by Rom Prisco [I-VI]

- Split-screen races.

But knowing EA, they will never listen.

Avatar image for T-ESI

@Metallic_Blade: +Tuning, engine swaps. Wish they could bring back ALL the cars from previous NFS games. At least all the way back from Underground

Avatar image for muzza93

And car customization

Avatar image for xenocraigmorph

@muzza93: A deep customization has been confirmed, if it lives up and beyond NFS Underground 2, this game will be worth every penny. I am hoping Ghost and Speedhunters really go back to that series; underground 3 (more likely titled Underground) will be perfect if they go down that road.

Avatar image for xyphe

@xenocraigmorph@muzza93: My god, how I miss Underground 2 with it's customization! I gave up on NFS games soon after that one.

Avatar image for 4kgamer_lmxxx

The minority can disagree all they want, but Most Wanted (2005) was and still is the best NFS game to date. That's the plain truth!

Avatar image for balintcsikos

@4kgamer_lmxxx: Don't forget Underground 2 please:) The customization was(\is?) the best I've ever seen in a game

Avatar image for zrex2metagor

@4kgamer_lmxxx: its a minority that no one cares about. NFS MW was and still is the game that defines NFS. They should rename the 2012 version to NFS Least Wanted

Avatar image for ballashotcaller

@4kgamer_lmxxx: most wanted was the best

Avatar image for hotrider12


Hotpursuit 2, Underground was the best still is. those 2 i still play to this day.

Avatar image for 9629626631

@ballashotcaller@4kgamer_lmxxx: Please don't remeber NFS mostwanted or else i will start playing it once again :-(

Avatar image for megakick

I want a Need For Speed UNDERGROUND. How many Forza Horizon and Driveclub do we need?

Avatar image for cody20

OH! one more thing. Please don't make this like the movie. I'm sorry, but no Mustang of any sort will be racing with the likes of Koenigseggs, Bugattis, or Zondas, I don't care how much the 'stang has been upgraded.

Avatar image for micbudda

@cody20: << LINK REMOVED >>

Avatar image for MODNAR11

@cody20: You can make any car go as fast as you like if you put enough money into it, my friend. Just look at GT racing.

Avatar image for cody20

What I'd really like to see with this game is a driving experience similar to Forza (varying levels of simulation based on preference) with the ridiculous customization options of NFS Underground 2. We've only ever gotten one or the other. And please...PLEASE make me earn my cars and upgrades. Start me off with a Civic SI and make me earn my way to a Subaru WRX STI, then up to a Porsche 911 etc. A+ if you can build on Forza Horizon 2's open world abilities.

Avatar image for xXxIRyanxXx

How about EA makes Burnout Paradise 2 instead, I would much rather play that then a Need for Speed like 5 games past its prime.

Avatar image for Rattlesnake_8

Hopefully they don't mess this up like they have a lot of their titles since the previous Underground games. I seem to be in the minority who prefer Underground 1 over 2 and I prefer racing on tracks than in an open world city but I still am eager to see how this one turns out.