EA breaks up Need For Speed

The constantly wonky world of Need For Speed is to be split into three distinctly styled games, SHIFT, Nitro and World Online.

We've never shied away from Need For Speed, every year we give it another chance and every year we feel let down, we'll agree that Wii and DS aren't really the natural choice for driving sims, but EA keep on churning them out year after year. Every release seems to be a mish-mash of game that tries to suit all the platforms, EA have finally recognised this and have split the development three ways, here's the low down:

Need for Speed NITRO (Working Title) – Autumn 2009
Developed by EA Montreal, Need for Speed NITRO for Wii™ and Nintendo DS™ will have players of all skill levels hooked from the moment they get into the action, while arcade racing fans will be exhilarated by the deep and challenging gameplay. EA Montreal has already established a strong track record of developing for these platforms and will bring their unique creativity and innovation to the Need for Speed franchise.

Gamers can build up their boost as they drift and drag behind their opponents and use it strategically to change the course of the race, but watch out for the cops! Offering a fresh and unique visual style, the game features a variety of licensed cars which can be fully customized to let the game reflect the player’s taste and personality. This evolutionary take on arcade racing, bringing back the best features found in Need for Speed games, comes exclusively to the Nintendo platforms this fall.

Need for Speed SHIFT – Autumn 2009
Shift into high gear! Designed to deliver a true driver’s experience that reflects contemporary motorsports, Need for Speed SHIFT is built by racers for racers. Need for Speed SHIFT delivers an authentic and immersive driving experience developed by Slightly Mad Studios in collaboration with executive producer Michael Mann at Black Box and senior vice president Patrick Soderlund at EA Games Europe. Slightly Mad Studios includes developers and designers that worked on the critically acclaimed games GT Legends and GTR 2. Need for Speed SHIFT replicates the true feeling of racing high-end performance cars like never before. Players are thrust into the heart of the action with immersive and exciting features including a stunningly realistic first-person cockpit view camera and an all-new crash mechanic, providing an unrivalled sensation of the speed and feeling of racing a car on the extreme edge of control.

Need for Speed SHIFT will be released on PS3, Xbox 360, PSP and PC in fall 2009.

Need for Speed World Online – Winter 2009 in North America, (Summer 2009 in Asia)
Co-developed by Black Box and EA Singapore, Need for Speed World Online takes the race into the largest open world in the history of Need for Speed - designed exclusively for the PC. Beginning in Asia, this Play 4 Free action racing game will give Need for Speed fans access to licensed cars, parts and multiple game modes. Players will prove their racing supremacy through the sophisticated online matchmaking features and fully customize their profile and their ride.

Once again, we'll wait and see how this turns out, it's a positive move from EA, let's just hope the Nintendo versions are worth the wait - because they probably won't be.