It just keeps getting better for fans of the Need For Speed brand. The somewhat underwhelming, Aaron Paul-led feature film proved enough of a hit to guarantee a follow-up - co-financed by Chinese production companies - and now after a brief hiatus, the video game series that started it all is in for a reboot as well.
The decision to put the once-annual series on hold just in time for the brand to leap to live-action seemed an odd one, but the first teaser trailer and details claim that the time off has been put to good use. And with the Fast & Furious series continuing to prove a billion-dollar property for Universal, it's no surprise the Need For Speed reboot is headed back to the streets.
To say that the property's place in the world of gaming, and car culture in general has been waning would be an understatement. Once the go-to franchise for high octane racing, the arrival of numerous competitors saw publisher EA turn the franchise into an annual cash-in, dividing even the most devoted fans as more 'sophisticated' franchises like Gran Turismo and Forza began to catch up. But in games, as in film, no studio is willing to pass up the chance to reinvent a well-known property.
The Need For Speed film was an attempt to do just that, relying on practical stunts and veteran drivers to return some realism to the genre (now dominated by more CG than ever before). Things didn't go quite according to plan, but EA isn't backing down.
Some could say that EA's commitment to practical racing on film was a moral victory (with Furious 7 throwing any semblance of reality out the window), and regardless of the outcome, the publisher and developer Ghost Games seem to be taking a similar approach for the game's reboot.
Appealing to the car enthusiasts that practice video game levels of customization on their own rides, Need For Speed's dedication to an "authentic" experience is clearly the game's top selling point. The game promises a narrative to pull players through the experience, but it's unknown if EA will call upon Aaron Paul to fuse their game and films (or if such a move would be for the best).
Fuelled by EA's own car culture community, Speedhunters, Need for Speed will deliver an experience that's grounded in authentic car culture by diving into the rich world of past, present and emergent trends of the urban car scene. This collaboration with Speedhunters in the research and development of the game means the level of detail and real-world authenticity will envelop gamers in an exciting world to discover and enjoy in a way that only Need for Speed can deliver.
Only time will tell if Need For Speed's future is bright or dimming, since it's difficult even now to call the film a failure or success. There is surely enough love for motoring to make more than one cross-media franchise a hit, but the competition seems to be growing by the year. And the time until Universal realizes a well-made Fast & Furious game series could be another cash cow is getting closer by the day...
Need for Speed launches in Fall 2015 for PC , PS4 and Xbox One.