Need for Speed Payback Wishlist
Need for Speed has been one of my favourite racing franchises for as long as I can remember, with several of the games in the franchise such as the Underground series, Most Wanted (2005) and Carbon, being my all-time favourites. The Need for Speed games that came during the last generation however didn't have the same effect, as while there were some fun games, they just didn't compare like those four games did back on the PS2. Need for Speed (2015) however changed my mind on the Need for Speed franchise, a franchise for several years after Black Box closed that I once thought was almost doomed to fail, going down a road where the focus was more on cop-racer weapon battles with each entry lacking proper car customization that made the series so great.
Need for Speed (2015) was the first time in almost 7 years that customization was brought back, along with a broad and diverse car list, cop chases that didn't rely on weapon power-ups and a progressive storyline with you working your way up the street racing scene in a low end car to dominate Ventura Bay. Need for Speed (2015) was in many ways a spiritual continuation of the Underground games, with its crazy customization and night setting. However, it was also a game with many issues and with Need for Speed Payback comes redemption, a chance for Ghost to fix the issues of the previous game and add more content (I mean, that's what sequels do, right?).
The biggest and most important aspect of a Need for Speed game is the car list. Need for Speed (2015) already had a vast variety of cars to choose from; whether it be fan-favourite JDM tuners or the latest line of expensive exotics, there was something for everything. The car list was small, but was the perfect amount at the same time. Need for Speed is not the type of racing game to have hundreds of cars, although 2015 did need more cars added to the lineup to appeal to a wider audience. From the trailer reveal of Need for Speed Payback, as well as various social media posts after E3, there are currently over 30 new cars confirmed for the game, which is already more than half the car list of Need for Speed (2015). Many of which are new, fan request cars such as the Nissan 350z and the 69 Dodge Charger, as well as a ton of cars you'd never expect to see such as the Ford Raptor and an old Volkswagen Beetle
Considering not all the cars in the game have been officially revealed yet, with I imagine plenty from Need for Speed (2015) returning, I'd still love to see the Mazda RX8, Audi R8, 2018 Camaro ZL1, Lamborghini Gallardo, Nissan R33 GT-R, '69 Camaro SS, '70 Dodge Challenger, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, Subaru WRX STI, Acura NSX, and Ferrari 488 GTB, to name a few, show up in the game. THERE ARE TONS OF CARS GHOST CAN ADD TO THE ROSTER!
Customization has already been confirmed to play as strong a role as ever in Payback and future titles, which has definitely been evident from all the E3 gameplay, and I'd love to see customization extend to more than just cars. The ability to customize the garage you'll be spending most of your time in customizing your rides in would make for an awesome bonus to show depth. Yes, this may not seem like a typical request, and if I'm honest it's quite a big ask for something so small, but imagine as you progress through the game's single player narrative or reach a certain Driver Level that not only do you unlock decals, body part options and performance upgrades, but options to modify your garage
The garage has always remained a static environment in Need for Speed games, serving the purpose of only being a lobby/menu where you go when you enter the game or need a break from the open world, to buy cars, buy upgrades for said cars, modify them and take them out into the world to show off or to race. Tons of people in the community love to personalize and make things feel their own, its human nature, and if Ghost really want to go all out on customization for the NFS community, it would be awesome if as the game progressed players could also spend their money on upgrades for their garage which could essentially let you increase the amount of cars stored in your garage, add a dyno to test your cars performance, and a bunch of smaller upgrades eg. changing the garages colour scheme, interior style, framed pictures that you've taken from the in-game photo mode etc.
Need for Speed (2015) aimed to make customization as authentic and realistic as possible, and that will still be the case with Need for Speed Payback, only this time they plan to add more parts designed by Ghost themselves. This was the case in the E3 build for the Volkswagen Beetle, as real world aftermarket parts for that car wouldn't exist, so Ghost created an in-game brand called "The Alchemist" to serve as a brand for older cars lacking real world parts, along with Need for Speed branded parts too. However this time I believe ALL cars should have parts in each category, even if manufacturers such as Ferrari and Pagani (if not affected by licensing) have at least two in each category. Two part categories missing from Need for Speed (2015) that I'd like to see in Payback are Roof Scoops and Neons. Neons were supposed to be added into Need for Speed (2015), with Morohoshi's Diablo SV being the initial tease for them but ultimately never came, so hopefully they've made their way into Payback.
Confirmed back in May, Payback will have separate Single Player and Multiplayer components, meaning that Single Player (of course) can be paused and playable offline. The separation between the two is perfect, meaning Ghost can focus on building a world in Single Player that can be more in-depth than Need for Speed (2015) considering the world only needs to process what one person is doing and not eight simultaneously. During an earnings call earlier in the year, EA CEO Andrew Wilson stated Payback features "ambitious and more competitive online gameplay", with a public survey about multiplayer sent out in early 2016 to gauge interest in what people think about new multiplayer features being added to Need for Speed (2015). These features included; Speedlists (similar to Most Wanted 2012), Global Leaderboards, Multiplayer Rankings, a High Stakes game mode, Skill values reflecting your W/L ratio, and more. All of these features from this survey I'd love to see implemented into Need for Speed Payback's multiplayer.
The Crew and Forza Horizon have plenty of fun game modes and challenges to play besides your typical races, so it would be great to see Need for Speed do the same and reintroduce Speedlist challenges from Most Wanted 2012, as well as party game modes like Infected and King of the Hill. Cop chases have always been a staple of the Need for Speed name, so another good party game which could be added is a casual cops vs robbers mode similar to what was added in Burnout Paradise, where the cops and robbers need to deliver an item to their base each round and the first to a certain amount wins (JUST NO PURSUIT TECH OKAY PLEASE IF YOU DO, GHOST!). Another thing the Forza Horizon series has done is online car meets, which is essentially a lobby system to matchmake with players and start game modes, as well as view other players cars and custom paintjobs. A lobby system like this would be a perfect fit for Need for Speed Payback's multiplayer.
One of the best things from Most Wanted 2012's multiplayer that could make a return in Payback's multiplayer (besides Speedlist challenges) was customizable license plate backgrounds. Of course, Need for Speed (2015) had customizable license plates and so will Payback, but for multiplayer it would great if they were more like Need for Speed's version of Battlefield's dog tags. Dog tags in Battlefield multiplayer are earned by completing various in-game challenges, with exclusive dog tags awarded to those owning Battlefield Premium, completing community event challenges, testing alpha and beta versions of the game and even being a developer who worked on the game. Adding this system into Payback through the form of license plates make for an awesome addition, motivating players to want to unlock as many as possible and give players bragging rights for completing certain tasks.
Need for Speed (2015) had a leveling system which unfortunately was capped at level 70, Payback should incorporate this leveling system in its multiplayer but add a prestige system, allowing players to continuously level up and grow their online rank and could tie into the custom plates by giving you certain plates each time you prestige as well as a gold license frame.
Sharing is caring as they say, and one of the biggest issues with Need for Speed (2015) was the inability to save and share tunes for your cars. The custom wraps you designed for a car were able to be shared online and downloaded by all players of the game, but not the tuning setup you designed. Adding the ability to share tunes would definitely help players struggling to do certain events with their car if they don't know how to get the correct balance of what they need, whether it be drift or grip. In addition, the ability to be able to sell your car online in a marketplace would make for a great dynamic, some thing games such as Forza Horizon and Midnight Club: Los Angeles have also done. The value of your car could also be determined by online statistics, such as your W/L ratio, how many pursuits you've escaped with this car and how much bounty the car has racked up.
Wagers have been seemingly confirmed for Need for Speed Payback, stating players can double down and place bets on their performance, either winning big or losing it all. Games such as Grand Theft Auto V do this, allowing players to bet in-game money on who they think will most likely win a certain event. Wagering cars has been absent from Need for Speed for a long time, and has yet to be done in a Need for Speed game with online multiplayer. If wagering is available in the game, then I'd like to see all online races have a betting system in place for players to throw down extra cash, and dedicated events specially for pink slips and betting, where winner takes all. However if it's too complex to implement into multiplayer, pink slips should definitely play a part in the single player.
The way you purchase cars and parts should be different, and would make it unique if Need for Speed Payback included two different game mechanics when it came to purchasing your next vehicle or upgrade - an online purchasing app to buy them straight from your garage and dealerships/ part shops out in the open world. Each dealership should have certain car types or manufacturers only eg. Muscle only, Ferrari only, Exotics only etc., and the same with part shops having different stores for body mods and performance mods. Buying cars online could cost a certain tax percentage more, creating more of an incentive to drive to the dealerships, but wouldn't alienate and force people into doing so. Weekly live events could include making cars cheaper at X Dealership for Y Days, or vise versa purchasing cars in your garage online.
Need for Speed has always been about it's fast, intense cop chases, and while the previous Ghost-made NFS games were on different ends of the police chase spectrum, they've found the perfect balance between the two. However, there are things I'd like them to bring over from Rivals and 2015 which I feel would add to the experience. The best thing, in my opinion, about Need for Speed (2015)'s pursuits were its roadblocks. It was the first time in NFS history where going through a roadblock slowed your car down significantly as opposed to older games flying through them as if you hit paper. The heat level 5 roadblocks were the best, creating concrete roadblocks blocking off streets causing you to be trapped and take another route. Both these types of roadblocks should definitely return for Payback's pursuits.
Rivals had a risk/reward system, meaning everything you did would earn your speed points and if you didn't bank them at your safe house before crashing out or being busted, you would earn nothing. A system similar to this would add to the intensity of the pursuits, for example the bounty racked up during pursuits earns cash bonuses at certain milestones, but get busted and you'll earn nothing, a strike will be added to your car and if your car ends up impounded, the total bounty racked up in that car is what's required to buy it back. Need for Speed and other EA titles now run on DICE's own Frostbite engine, originally designed for Battlefield but modified. Considering destruction is a hallmark of the what the Frostbite engine was designed to do in Battlefield games, it would be great to see destructibility carry over to Need for Speed Payback in the form of pursuit breakers finally making a return.
Need for Speed (2015) handled DLC very well by doing regular, free content updates every few months, adding new vehicles, car parts, events, decals, requested features and more. However, as everything was free with no way for Ghost to make profit on what they were adding, the content update cycle ended relatively early and they focused on investing more on adding requested content and features into the next game, Payback. I'd like to see a good balance with Payback's DLC support of both free and paid for content, perhaps doing map expansions and adding more cars, with the map expansion itself free so all players can enjoy it, but any content such as cars, new decals, body mods, story events etc. requiring the map expansion to be purchased. DriveClub did DLC support the best out of any racer this generation by focusing on that balance, adding new features, tracks and a monthly car for free while still creating an incentive to buy their paid cars and tours (which was also sold at an affordable price).
Overall, theres plenty Ghost can add to Need for Speed Payback. Considering it releases in four months time, it's hard to expect everything on my list to make it's way into the final game if its not already, which is fine. The one thing I admire about Ghost is how passionately they listen to fan feedback and take inspiration from other racing games, which is completely evident with the jump from Rivals to where we are now with Payback. Need for Speed (2015) set the ground work, Payback is the next big leap to perfect Need for Speed and make it as great as it used to be in it's glory days.