Car Wot Goes Quicktime: NFS The Run

By Jim Rossignol on September 27th, 2011 at 12:45 pm.

Exclusive Porsche!
Need For Speed: The Run, EA’s attempt to blend racing with scripted action, continues to intrigue me with the latest trailer. It doesn’t really show off that much in-game action, instead opting to set up the story in which the protagonist, Jack, finds himself forced into a $25m-prize race from San Francisco to New York. The trailer seems to hint a few of the events that might take place along the way, such as avalanches and fights with cops. It’s going to be genuinely fascinating to see how people react to this hybrid approach.


We know that the game is running in DICE’s Frostbite 2 engine, so there’s no doubt that the action stuff will be solid, even if it is punctuated by quicktime sequences. Whether these action bits will blend suitably with the racing is hard to see right now, but if they pull it off then it could be a vital step toward story-telling and other mainstream devices for racing. Apparently the racing itself is similar to Hot Pursuit, but not as arcade in terms of handling. That sounds about right to me.

The game is out November 15th in North America and November 18th in the EU.

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38 Comments »

  1. Pemptus says:

    Nobody cares about some John McAction doing somersaults in a NFS game, I mean good lord!

  2. LuNatic says:

    I really used to like this series. Emphasis on used to :S

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I’m quite impressed with how it managed to go off the road on both sides at once. Shift is too po-faced (but keeps the ridiculous swooshy Michael Bay feel, and in the first one even some of the dudebro drivel) and NFS seems to involve as little actual racing now as possible, and both manage to steer well clear of the sweet spot.

      I bought the last two off that Steam sale, and after having a bash at both ended up just reinstalling Carbon. I wish they’d just make another one like that. But with less dudebro.

  3. DanPryce says:

    The premise of the game really excites me. I think this might end up being the best rental ever.

  4. Gnoupi says:

    It can be a good idea to add more variety to a racing game, adding action bits.
    So I’m curious how it will turn out.

    Of course, it depends mainly on how these action scenes (including the avalanche bit) will be controlled. If this is only to have “quicktime cutscenes”, then it’s useless.

  5. HeavyHarris says:

    What would make this game truly great was if you could actually race across the continent. I mean we know it’s going to be broken up into levels but just imagine if you could actually sit there and race every last mile of even one route (let’s forget about a ton of routes cause that’s a whole other can of bread.) Now that’d be something worth playing.

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    shoptroll says:

    So basically, EA got their hands on some drafts of the scripts from Drive and decided to make money off it?

    Oddly enough, I’d probably play a game based on The Cannonball Run but this one fails to grab me.

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    yandexx says:

    The post image reminds me that still, the best Need For Speed game ever was Porsche Unleashed.

  8. Kollega says:

    Sometime before the announcement of The Run, i wondered what it would be like if a racing game with the “OMGOMGOMGOMGAWESOME” scripting of Call of Duty was made – would it be any good? I still wonder about that. We’ll see if i get it myself, but at least i will be reading the reviews.

    • Urthman says:

      I agree that I’d really like to see a studio try something like Call of Duty or Mass Effect in which the guns are replaced by Cars Wot Go Fast. Maybe it would be racing, maybe it would be driving obstacle courses, maybe it would involve finding secrets like the billboards in Burnout Paradise, maybe it would have vehicular combat. But I’d like to see somebody try a Cars and Conversation or Driving and Dramatic Set Pieces game.

  9. Kleppy says:

    The last couple of Need For Speed games were really, really solid, so I’m excited for this. Thank god the PC has NFS games otherwise I’d just might be forced to get a console to get my driving fix.

  10. zontax says:

    I just want my Need for speed: underground 3 please.

    • Kaltano says:

      Indeed Underground 2 was the best of the NFS series, and both underground games were among the very few racing games I enjoyed.

    • terry says:

      This. Taking your shitty second-hand clunker and modifying the crap out of it to eventually become some sort of daft neon-lit whaletailed spaceship was immensely satisfying to me. If they remade the old game Street Rod 2 in an open world city I’d be all over that.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      I remember, as a kid, hating Underground. I mean, where was my usual assortment of McLarens and Pinninfarinas? Why would I bother driving incredibly gaudy posers’ cars? Cars that I can see on the road everyday, instead of something crazy, like a Maserti Birdcage 75th?

      Anyway, even though now I can see the merits of Underground (still hate it though. I mean, a Hummer H2? Seriously? Wanker.) the last great NFS was Most Wanted, clearly.

      (No NFS11, you wouldn’t let me make a car jump, just shuddup and sit in a corner.)

      Also, am I the only one excited to see that Shelby Daytona Cobra, the Porsche 911 993, the BMW E30 M3 and the new Lambo Aventador and Pagani Huayra?

      No one else?

  11. bonjovi says:

    I think that it is a common wisdom, that the best NFS game was Porsche one. not because it was limited to Porsche, but in spite of it.

    Why don’t’ they make a game that is successor of that one? I don’t care if it’s limited to only one manufacturer.

    • Nalano says:

      This. So much this. And the reason is because Porsche Unleashed was the last game they cared about the cars and not the stupid 2 Fast 2 Furious bullshit subculture.

  12. Berzee says:

    “the protagonist, Jack”

    aaaand I stopped reading

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      c-Row says:

      “I don’t care about whether or not it will include rubbish Quicktime events or the racing will be fun – a protagonist with a perfectly common name? DO NOT WANT!”

      Can’t be long before software piracy is blamed on the colour of the protagonist’s clothes. “I would have bought a copy if it wasn’t for that black leather jacket. Urgh!”

    • godgoo says:

      I read somewhere that the plot is actually based on the true story of Jack ‘Jackson’ Jones, one of America’s most successful car thiefs and getaway drivers, famous for surviving multiple car accidents including head-on collisions without losing his grip on the wheel or ever filling out his insurance details.

      Does that make you feel better about it?

    • Berzee says:

      That makes me feel tremendously better. =) I thought it was going to be “Far Cry 1 Jack” again.

      I don’t actually play racing games though. I just like to complain about names. =P

      @c-row — it’s just that choosing a perfectly common name (without any clear reason for it, which I have now that I heard about Jack Jones) makes me afraid that a lot of other choices in the development will be similarly common. In other words I don’t mind a guy named Jack if he’s a good character, but a disproportionate number of the Jacks I have seen have been poor characters. Maybe I’ve had bad experiences, ever since Far Cry.

  13. doubledope says:

    If it would have me race from coast to coast in 1 long journey where no levels would brake up the action. Multiple ways to get there with scripted events and scripted but not linear events (like the ‘random’ encounters in Red Dead Redemption) and the only way to find out if I was the fastest after an hour long journey I might be interested. But I assume it will be nothing like that. I might play it though, just to find out how sad it will make me.

  14. LGM says:

    This title is looking less and less like the game I thought it was going to be. When I first heard about it, it seemed like a “Cannonball Run” type thing, but now it just seems like another NFS game, and with quicktime events no less.

    Personally I thought last year’s Hot Pursuit pretty much sucked. It was just so cookie cutter. This new one may have a few things going for it, but I’m guessing the quicktime events aren’t one of them. Quicktime in a racing game? No thank you. You can give me a bit of slo mo or something, but no quicktime.

    Also, why is there not a Cannonball Run game? If ever there was a movie that could seamlessly transition into a game, it’s that one.

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    Joshua says:

    I genuinely hope they add some stuff that might make it worth playing a second time (in case it turns out good).

  16. Salastradius says:

    Meh, if they want to put something other than drive supercars, they should do it in FPS style. At least they please the mainstream…

  17. ShineDog says:

    I’ve never played a racing game that wasn’t elevated by including some personality and flavour. It’s a genre that can be incredibly dry, even in super amped up arcadey games. I’ll give any game that makes racing less sterile a chance, even if they seem to be going a little overboard on QTEs here.

    On that note, Buy Driver San Francisco, that game’s bloody great.

    • Salastradius says:

      I do agree that some personality can elevate a game. But in those trailers in particular the racing would be spoiled by some trial and error in a long and flamboyant cinematic.

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      Llewyn says:

      I’ve never played a racing game worth playing that needed any of that. If it’s not good enough to want to play it on the strength of the racing action, why bother at all?

    • ShineDog says:

      God, how I disagree with that opinion.
      In most racing games, I play as a car. I am a car. My rival is another car. I pick a race from a list of races and then I am a car. I get that if the car is all that matters to you then that is all you want.

      Fuck that noise. I don’t want to play a car. My fantasy is not to be a car.

      I want to be a fucking race car driver. It’s a big difference. I don’t want to battle against another car, I want to see that Jeff Douchebag is racing now, I want to know that Jeff is the guy that always tries to shunt you going round a corner, or that Bob Niceguy always yields the corner. I want stories and rivalries and atmosphere, I don’t want to be a car. Having a little investment in a race just makes it far more exciting. When Shitty french guy came to my trailer door and bitched me out in Race Driver, it just made passing him in the next race more fun.

      Similarly, I don’t want to be a plane. Far too many plane games these days cast you as a plane. Briefing. Kill planes. briefing. Kill planes. Fuck that, I want to be Nathan Zachary, leader of the Fortune Hunters, because dueling with my archnemesis Lucas Miles is a far more exciting fight than Generic Bossplane #6 (Referencing a fucking11 year old game here because no one has done a dogfighting game as well as fucking Crimson Skies. Jesus.)

      I don’t want to be a spaceship. I want to be captain of a spaceship. I don’t want to be a gun, I want to be a soldier. Theres a reason why Street Fighter characters aren’t all robots and shout at each other before a fight, or why Batmans thugs gloat and cower. This sort of thing makes games more fun. Not mechanically of course, but most games are not pure mechanics, and I don’t think racing games should be either.

      Now, sure, I don’t think that putting QTEs in the middle of a race is exactly the way to go, but I’d like to see SOMETHING. Hot Pursuit last year was great, but man did it feel sterile. Sgt Cross and the characters from the old NFS games were pretty badly done, but by the end of HP I kind of missed them.

      For a good driving game example, Driver SF is absolutely elevated above its station by the fact that it’s full of fun characters in a weird situation. It turned what could have been a really dry game into something absolutely charming.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Weird, when I play a racing sim I’m not a car. I’m a driver. Trying to go faster than some other guy. That’s racing. I wish developers would stop trying to add story/atmosphere/whatever and simply get the racing right. Slightly Mad tried to bring out the excitement inherent in driving a car on the limit with the Shift games, and EA basically made them dumb them down because actually making people learn a difficult skill in order to play a game is forbidden. The predictable end result, as always, were games that appealed to no one.

      Anyway, I wish this game didn’t look terrible from the gameplay videos I’ve seen. I’d love a proper Cannonall Run type game.

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      Llewyn says:

      Ah, I understand the difference now. You don’t want to be a racing driver at all, you want to be a character in a crappy action movie. You’re welcome to that.

  18. CaspianRoach says:

    White shaven male protagonist named Jack. Dear god, could they make him even more bland?

  19. phanteh says:

    Wow, check out the Porches! Aren’t they nifty!

    I’d better get rid of the ‘ole 360 I use to play Forza…

    Actually no, I’m going to buy Forza 4 and hope that this game crashes and burns.

  20. Navagon says:

    The constant cutscenes that are plaguing so many games are bad enough. but to put QTEs in those cutscenes just adds insult to injury.

  21. Sigvatr says:

    “Wot” sounds completely over the head to Americans. Damn you Brits and your scones!

  22. fooga44 says:

    I really wish they’d remake porsche unleashed or a sequel to it. That game was a gem IMHO.

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    Ham Solo says:

    But you still need driving skills, don’t you?