We previously covered the Need for Speed Heat gameplay trailer, so we had to try it for ourselves! We also had a few minutes with producer John Wikberg to answer questions about the game.
We asked about the differences in design between Need for Speed Payback to Heat. Wikberg talks about the concept of Day and Night, which gives the player a choice of mode that they want to play. Daytime he considers the calmer side of the game, focusing on sanctioned races, closed courses with minimal distractions where you can focus purely on your driving skill.
Nighttime is where the intensity ramps up, the world opening up to you to a world of illicit street racing. Traffic will be in your way, cops will chase you. As you Heat up, the cops will give more attention on to you. Night is about being successful enough to return to the garage to rack up that Heat and REP for rewards and levels.
The game effectively provides you with two different ways to play. The racing world is your oyster.
You can see how many cops are chasing you, so it’s easier to keep track when you’re actually in the clear. You’ll be warned of reinforcements as well. Any contact with a cop looks like it can start the “busting” timer, so be quick! The cop cars have their health bars, and damaging them enough will throw them off your trail. If you do get caught, you’ll lose some cash and rep. You can still earn a pity amount of rep even after getting caught, but you’d lose out more than you gain.
Something new with Heat is the Need For Speed Studio app. We asked Wikberg about the decision behind introducing a third party app. He talks about the expanded customization options, and that the team wanted to bring that to players outside of the game. Players will be able to save the cars they pimped out, and then import them into the game when it launches. It’s meant to be a tool to engage players even as they aren’t playing Heat. Wikberg provides an example of himself using the app as a way to set goals for himself in the game, to get a car he hasn’t gotten yet in the game, he’d be able to customize it through the app first. He calls it a fantastic opportunity as the app allows players to relax and fiddle with the cars.
To dive deeper into Night mode, Wikberg says the idea of it was to “prove yourself in races”, so you go out and participate. In these illicit street races, you get your rep and earn Heat. The cops will be out to intercept all racers, you, other players or the AI. You’d want to have a really successful Night run, so Wikberg asks, “How long do you dare to push it?” The player will have to decide the risk they want to take. Ending the Night well means you can rake in massive rewards, but if you haven’t done well, the rewards won’t be as handsome. “You might get in over your head,” Wikberg says, regarding the risk. Naturally, the more powerful car you have, the easier time you’d have dealing with the cops, which then makes it easier to push the Heat even higher.
In regards to future downloadable content, lootboxes are not on the table. Plans are currently for car pack DLCs, with more information to be revealed closer to launch. The car list for the game is already available on the game’s website, so interested players can check it out. Wikberg sounds especially pleased about the return of Ferarri to the NFS lineup, saying the brand is so iconic and inspirational. He also adds the car list is bigger than before, and encourages readers to have a look for themselves.
With the third party NFS Heat Studio app, it would seem that Heat has increased its focus on customization options. Wikberg explains the concept of the street racing fantasy that the Need for Speed franchise has worked to deliver. Visual options have expanded, the producer pointing out the colour picker having more precision now. There’s also the engine swap which Wikberg is quite amused by. He gives the example of giving a normally slow car a beastly engine to make it a surprise super car killer. Exhaust customization has been added, so you can even change the way it sounds. Not only that, your avatar character has also received a similar dizzying array of customization options. From the hats to the shoes, you’ll be able to see your personalized avatar and ride in cutscenes.
You can check out the style of others when you play online too. Join a server and race against others, or party up if you want. NFS Heat has a fully offline single player, and if you’re online, you can still do the same campaign, with the same rewards. There is a crew feature which requires online, which doesn’t require people to be on the same server. Your crew can craft its own identity, and members can earn benefits as the crew levels up. Compete against your fellow crew members on the time trials leaderboards and see their ghost cars so that you know what you’re up against.
To close out, Wikberg hopes that Malaysian players will enjoy Need for Speed Heat and have a lot of fun with it. He plugs the NFSH Studio app once again for you guys to get the feel of the customization and have fun. See you online!