Putting the brakes on its annual release schedule was the best way for Need For Speed to avoid stagnating again, a former developer of the series has said.
Project CARS creative director Andy Tudor, whose team at Slightly Mad Studios created Need For Speed: Shift as part of EA’s attempts to reinvigorate the long-running brand in 2009.
Tudor supported EA’s decision to target a 2015 release for the next instalment in its flagship racing series. This will be the first year without a Need For Speed since 1996.
“That’s probably for good reason,” said Tudor. “The last one was pretty good, and if you kept bringing one out every year, you end up burning the team out. That’s what happened with the previous games, which is why we were given the chance to help reboot it.
“The key is to keep innovating. You can’t just bring another Need For Speed every single year. You need something brand new.”
He went on to claim it is “financial suicide” to develop games in today’s market without getting consumers involved, whether that’s through Steam Early Access or other forms of alpha and beta testing.
Slightly Mad’s own upcoming racer, Project CARS, was funded by what the studio calls the World of Mass Development platform, its own crowdfunding solution that also sees backers and testers influence the ongoing development of the game.
“You’ve got to have the gamers behind you,” Tudor said. “They’ve certainly given us a level of confidence that what we’re making is something people actually want to play. Because it would be financial suicide to bring out a game that we think is good but actually people think we’re missing this feature or that feature, or it isn’t good enough.”