Need for Speed 2019 Wishlist Series: The Gameplay


A new Need for Speed game is set to be released later this year, with EA first announcing back in February that a new console/PC title from Ghost Games will release in 2019, followed up by an official announcement in May that the title will not be revealed during E3 (with hints towards a Gamescom reveal in August).

This year marks a monumental milestone for the Need for Speed franchise as it celebrates its 25th anniversary, something Ghost knows all too well that they need to get right with Need for Speed 2019 – a game that is said to not only embrace the past but pave the way for the next era of games.

With Gamescom a little under a month away, we thought now would be the best time to start getting the hype train rolling with our Need for Speed 2019 Wishlist Series – where over the next few days and weeks we’ll be releasing detailed lists focusing on certain aspects of NFS 2019, starting with the Gameplay Features!


Ghost have overseen the Need for Speed franchise ever since 2013’s Need for Speed Rivals, however each title has taken a different approach – with Rivals focusing on frenetic Hot Pursuit action, 2015 rebooting the series back to its Underground roots and Payback taking the franchise into a Fast & Furious style blockbuster direction.

While the recent Need for Speed reboots haven’t been the most well-received from critics and fans, Ghost still strives to deliver what fans want and takes community feedback seriously. Need for Speed Payback for example addressed many complaints from 2015, adding a time of day system, an improved handling model and the ability to play offline. However, Ghost also made changes which were huge steps back as to what Need for Speed means as a series, with the removal of free roam cops and a forced card upgrades system.

For Need for Speed 2019 to be the success Ghost needs it to be, it needs to nail down the solid direction that it established with 2015 and incorporate elements that made Payback and Rivals good, but also embrace what other games such as Forza Horizon 4 and The Crew 2 are doing. Here are some of the things I hope to see:


Remove Brake-to-Drift and Improve Handling:

Undoubtedly the biggest issue with the Ghost developed Need for Speed titles is its handling model, which has been using a modified Criterion-era handling model since their collaboration with them on Rivals. Need for Speed 2015 was notorious for its poor handling and physics model, and while Payback helped fix it and added more weight to cars, it’s still far from perfect.

Ghost explained in a Reddit post last year behind the reasoning for the studio continuing to implement this handling model, however if Need for Speed 2019 is looking to be the start of the next era of titles, I feel it’s time for an almost 10 year old handling model to be overhauled, or at the very least majorly refined.

Remove the boost you get from drifting from the current handling model and make grip an actual viable choice for players who wish to focus on speed and acceleration, and don’t wish to drift around corners with the slight tap of the throttle!


Free Roam Cops:

One of the biggest complaints with Need for Speed Payback was its removal of cops in the open world, meaning that no matter what law-infringing actions you do, no cops were around to hunt you down for it. Pursuits were instead confined to linear routes with Bait Crates which had to be manually activated (provided you could find a Bait Crate), detracting from the entire pursuit experience that fans have come to expect from a Need for Speed game.

This change NEEDS to be reverted with Need for Speed 2019 and NEEDS to bring back its traditional heat level system with it, which was absent from Bait Crates as it was all based on your cars overall level, with cop AI as aggressive and strategic as the ones you would find in Payback.

Selectable Time of Day (Day/Night):

Need for Speed 2015 was set entirely at night time, with some areas of the map being set at different times of the night, while Payback featured a dynamic 24/7 time of day system. Because of this, Payback suffered a lot visually, looking drastically worse than 2015 and featured no weather effects resulting in a dry, bland open world with no atmosphere. A fixed time of day system would work much better, where you can choose what time of day you want it to be and is locked to that time (similar to games like Burnout Paradise or Marvel’s Spider-Man).

That way Ghost can focus on creating high fidelity environments and textures that the Frostbite Engine is known for and not have to worry about ensuring they can work dynamically, while also reintroducing certain weather effects such as rain from Need for Speed 2015 and perhaps even snow and stormy weather from Need for Speed Rivals.


Remove Speed Card upgrade system:

Another big change introduced with Payback was the Speed Card upgrade system, which essentially tried to turn the game into an RPG akin to games like The Division and Destiny. While I initially liked the idea of this system, it fell flat with many people and was highly controversial, though it did have some good aspects to it.

I’m hoping Ghost return to the traditional car upgrading methodology with Need for Speed 2019, but incorporate something similar for those that plan investing a lot of time into 2019’s endgame in online multiplayer and PvP – perhaps like Perks from Forza Horizon or Icon Points from The Crew 2 which help improve a cars overall performance.

Remove Multiple Car Class System:

Payback introduced car classes to the series, with five specialized dealerships selling vehicles in Race, Drift, Drag, Off-road and Runner. While this was a good concept, it was also very restrictive, as certain vehicles would only be available for certain classes, and if you wanted to use a vehicle for more than just one class you were required to buy multiple versions of it.

I found this to be a hassle and personally doesn’t fit the mantra of “Play your way, make it your own” that Ghost have established with their rebooted take on Need for Speed. Cars in 2019 should be unified, so you only have to purchase one car from a dealer and then can be TUNED into a drift/drag car depending on what upgrades you decide to buy.


More Risk/Reward Gameplay (Pink Slips/Impounds):

One aspect Ghost introduced with Rivals was its risk/reward mechanic of going out and earning speed points, your main currency to purchase upgrades and customization options, which could be lost if they weren’t banked and were taken down by the police. A risk/reward mechanic resurfaced in Payback with the addition of Side Bets, however most were very easy to complete and their punishment for failing was very minor.

I’d love to see more risk/reward mechanics like this for Need for Speed 2019, but perhaps in the form of Pink Slips and Impounds which fans have been asking for for YEARS. Cops could also be tougher at night and penalize you more if you were busted. Gameplay mechanics that won’t extremely frustrate players, but ones that wield beneficial rewards to entice them.

Photo Mode Improvements and Cinematic/Drone Mode:

Compared to other photo modes in the racing game space, Need for Speed’s is very basic, with a small selection of filters and effects. An improved photo mode is something I and many of the avid car photographers in the NFS community have been wanting for a long time, and is something I hope Ghost have considered with 2019. Even new features as basic as motion blur and a day of time slider would suffice!

Continuing from this, NFS games are ripe with content creators such as CROWNED and JvyPennant who create beautiful cinematics with modified cameras in Frostbite, and that should be something NFS 2019 should try embrace for everyone - with a dedicated cinematic mode akin to The Crew 2 and Forza Horizon’s drone mode.


Meaningful Progression and Collectibles (Exclusive Rewards):

In most games, the only reward collecting all the collectibles yield is a shiny new trophy or achievement added to your collection. In Payback, you’d collect 100 gambler coins and not earn anything from it besides a trophy, and I’d love to see Need for Speed 2019 change up the norm and add something meaningful with its collectibles, especially when games like Forza Horizon 4 are rewarding you for almost everything you do.

One way Need for Speed 2019 could do this is, much like Forza, have tracked progression paths you can view in the stats menu which reward you for completing them. For example: Complete the campaign and you’ll unlock an exclusive decal in the livery editor, reach max rep level and you’ll earn an exclusive gold license frame, complete all online challenges (like Burnout Paradise’s freeburn challenges) and you’ll earn the iconic BMW M3 GTR with the proper sounds etc.


Theres plenty of things that make up the core gameplay of Need for Speed, and I’m sure there’s a ton I’ve left off of here that I’ll no doubt think of later, but these are some of the more important ones especially based off the negatives from Need for Speed Payback and Need for Speed (2015).

This is just the start, be sure to check out our other in-depth Need for Speed 2019 wishlist articles releasing over the next few days and weeks, and follow us over on Twitter to stay up to date!

More Need for Speed 2019 Wishlist Posts:

  • Need for Speed 2019 Wishlist : Live Service and Post-Launch Support (COMING SOON)

  • Need for Speed 2019 Wishlist : Online Multiplayer (COMING SOON)

  • Need for Speed 2019 Wishlist : Cars and Customization (COMING SOON)

  • Need for Speed 2019 Wishlist : Soundtrack and Atmosphere (COMING SOON)