Um, The Game? Need For Speed: Shift Trailers

Look! A bit of game!

For a while the Need For Speed games became something… we weren’t paying much attention to. Then Shift was announced, and everyone sat up to take notice. Why? Because it’s being made by Slightly Mad Studios, a team made up of people responsible for the stunning GT Legends and GTR games. Jim writes much about it here. So a crop of new trailers appear, and I think, hooray! Then I watch them and I shake my pretty head.

EA, a word. What you’ve done here is you’ve released four trailers promoting your game, which feature approximately five seconds of game footage, identical in each one, and then interviews with proper racecar drivers accompanied by real world footage.

That’s all fine. That all sets things up. But that’s where you then kick in your game footage to wow us with how it recreates all these important features described by the drivers. They teach us about the role of drift, you then show us drift in your game. Because otherwise… um… you know – the game?

So here they are, and there’s nothing wrong with them if you want to hear professionals drivers talking about aspects of the sport. But don’t expect to learn a single thing about a racing game we’re all rather looking forward to.


  1. LewieP says:

    A worse crime is what the vast majority of trailers seem to do there days – use in game assets, in engine, but not showing actual gameplay. Shooting everything from cinematic angles that you will never see the game from, and editing it all together so that you can’t really tell what is going on.

    See mirror’s edge for an example of how to do a good trailer – make a game that is new, interesting, and exciting to look at, and all you need to do is show chunks of actual gameplay to impress people.

  2. Count Zero says:

    Too bad the NFS games have been catering to 13 year olds for the past decade or so. While I spend an absurd amount of time with NFS3 when I was a kid, the last good NFS game I played was Porsche years ago… The hype for this one is similar to that of ProStreet where they promised a more realistic experience with damage and circuit races and then delivered an installment that was sub par in every way.

  3. piphil says:

    I seem to remember a trailer for GTR that was similar to the above, mostly talking to drivers rather than showing in-game footage. Maybe this is just how Slightly Mad Studios roll?

  4. Sweedums says:

    This whole “Drivers Experience” they keep babbling on about is EXACTLY what Codemasters were going on about before they released GRID… now i absolutely adore GRID but I dont really see any reason for all that stuff they were saying about the “drivers experience”… other than having a a helmet cam…. if that is as far as this game goes i might as well stick with GRID…

  5. distended says:

    Trailers don’t have to show lots of game footage – they are advertisements, not instructional videos.

    What’s wrong with teasing the audience a bit?

  6. Rei Onryou says:

    Thank you John for saving minutes of my life.

  7. DarthInsinuate says:

    Bah, who needs trailers at all? The only thing that matters is what it’s like when I’m actually playing Need for Speed: GRID.

    Also, it seems like they’ve put that car on backwards in the third video.

  8. Heliocentric says:

    If that was a slip, it was a good one. Its called shift.

  9. Heliocentric says:

    Why do people capitalise grid, its not like it means anything.

  10. autogunner says:

    I still cannot get past the 2nd tier grid races, so will not be purchasing another racing game until grid is beaten. burnout paradise doesn’t count.

  11. Rob says:

    That’s all well and good, but often simply putting out gameplay footage does not make a very interesting trailer at all. It’s a way of demonstrating how a game plays, but it’s a GOOD THING to entice people and make them think they want to play it before they find out how it plays.

    I find it’s often the same people that complain about “gameplay” trailers who bemoan the fact that gaming isn’t taken seriously alongside other media. When have you ever seen a film trailer which just shows one single scene for five minutes, with no editing?

  12. Pstonie says:

    Odds are this will be continuing the recent NFS tradition: Garbage.

    Can’t be long now before they completely give up on innovation and start “remastering” and reselling the old NFS games.

  13. neems says:

    @autogunner –

    Um, have you tried playing on easy? Grid really isn’t all that hard (except for the Le Mans 24 hour race, screw that).

  14. Munin says:

    Rob: I don’t think that is an entirely accurate comparison. A better one would be a film trailer full of scenes that don’t show up in the actual movie.

    You know, there can be both – the hype and the actual gameplay footage. But if you need to hype your game with other stuff because you fear gameplay footage alone is not enough to make people want to play it, then you might have a problem.

  15. Sajmn says:

    Maybe they feel the gameplay isn’t ready to be shown, or they are saving it for a date closer to release. This way the hype spike will be closer to release and generate more sales.

  16. Psychopomp says:

    God damnit, John.


    link to

  17. Phil says:

    NFS was about Street Racing, and it was good.. Getting chased by the cops etc. Most Wanted was so amazingly fun to play.

    And now this shit.

  18. Ziv says:

    people idolize most wanted but I came back to playing it a couple of weeks ago and it kinda sucked, it feels like I’m driving a car made out of lead-there is no way to knock off your opponents, there is no reason to slow down and avoid the walls. there isn’t this awesome feeling you get in american GRiD races where the track is too narrow for the cars and everyone is bumping into each other. And this is why NFS:MW sucks (kinda) it isn’t tense. You can’t flip over your car if you go on a sidewalk too fast, you can’t make other drivers blow up their cars by pushing them into a bus station, you can’t get your car barely scraped and then saving it in the last minute and you can’t worry about crashing your car. In games like GRiD I’m a very cautious driver but when I try to do that in MW people just get by me.

  19. fugo says:

    why are you all obsessed with GRID? i thought that was an semi arcade borefest. forza series are the greatest racing games ever, even if they are xbox only.

  20. Heliocentric says:

    Go play the grid demo with an analogue controller (wheel or pad) and then say that and then i’ll listen.

  21. Heliocentric says:

    Btw grid has time rewind. Alongside braid grid taught me that games without time rewind (even if only when you die) should have it. Full stop.

  22. Novotny says:

    Go play rFactor, and then tell me Grid is not an arcade game.

    I have both.

  23. Heliocentric says:

    Time, rewind.

  24. Bremze says:

    @fugo: Ololol, you say is boring and not realistic and then you say people should play ? Go play rFactor, LFS, GT Legends, GTR 2 if you want realism.

  25. Bremze says:

    Ololol, you say Grid is boring and not realistic and then you say people should play Forza ? Go play rFactor, LFS, GT Legends, GTR 2 if you want realism.

  26. Vinraith says:

    I miss pre-“street culture” NFS. Hot Pursuit 2 was brilliant, as were most of the earlier games in the series. Most Wanted was ok, but once they started with the FMV and forcing a plot into a racing game it was all down hill from there.

  27. BrokenSymmetry says:

    Why is nobody talking about NFS:Shift itself? Everything I’ve seen from it (and read from people who actually played it) points to it being a racer very similar to PGR, with a much better in-car experience. I’m looking forward to it greatly.

  28. Mo says:

    The assumption that Shift will be shit because all the recent NFS games were shit is a wrong one to make. It’s worth doing a tiny bit of reading up on it or heck, even reading John’s post, before dismissing the game entirely.

    And yeah, a trailer with 5 seconds of in-game footage is the equivalent of those movie trailers which just show you a bunch of explosions. Need moar substance plz.

  29. Vinraith says:

    A return to form for the NFS series would be lovely, but I don’t know that I particularly want a sim game. NFS was originally about, well, speed above all else. Sim racers are generally more about technical, precise driving. That’s well and good, but there are a real proverty of good arcade racers with a strong sense of speed. In fact, in the wake of the NFS series going to shit, the only one I can think of is Burnout.

  30. A-Scale says:

    Thanks Psychopomp, I didn’t want to have to say it myself.

  31. DerangedStoat says:

    With all the focus of drifting they have in these, I am quite sure that Shift will not be a proper sim in the vein of GTR2 and the like.
    Drifting properly is hard and probably one of the least accessible forms of motorsport, anyone can power-on oversteer out of a corner, but drifting properly requires quite a bit of finesse, and would require a lot more feedback than most controllers, even force feedback wheels can give you.

    Don’t get me wrong, drifting in GRiD was fantastic fun, but it was in no way a simulation of the feat.

    I think the reason that most people keep comparing Shift to GRiD is because they expect Shift to be very similar in terms of simulation.

  32. Richard Beer says:

    I have to say Shift looks pretty awesome if you’re after some realistic seat-of-the-pants stuff rather than the almost cartoony usual NFS fare. Although I think I would miss the police chases if I bought it.

    You are, however, bang on about the trailers, John, which is a real shame. They’ve been produced beautifully. Someone who really knows their stuff has made simple race footage into a really artistic few minutes. But where’s the in-game footage to parallel it? The 5 or so seconds we do have would suggest that it’s there. Missed opportunity IMHO.

  33. Pstonie says:

    My favourite drifting in a game was Carbon (where you could even do a clutch kick), until I tried the no-assist drifting in GT5 Prologue. It’s difficult to say the least, especially with a normal controller. But that just makes it more satisfying when you finally get it right. After that assisted drifting feels like a broken game.

    If you took all the best bits of Carbon and Most Wanted you’d have something that would really make the demise of the franchise something worth lamenting.

  34. Clippit says:

    LOL. this is retarded, seriously. what really rubs me up the wrong way with these videos is the sheer pretentiousness of it. absolutely nothing is left unsaid, unexploited for maximum drama. it’s so typically american and it makes me wince. racing cars is not about “l LIKE TO GO FAST” or “BASICALLY, IT’S SUPER SUPER FAST”. even drifting, retarded as it is, isn’t as retarded as they’re making it out to be. proper racing and stupid drifting both revolve around driving a car in an aggressive manner, with just enough maturity not to SLAM INTO A HUGE ROCK OH MY GOD SO FUCKIN’ EXTREME!
    i’m going to have to have a lie down now…

    ps: this is exciting motor racing, and it doesn’t involve dumb stupid americans, hektik spoilaz, or gratuitous editing – link to

  35. Pstonie says:

    You got some issues Stan, I think you need some counseling. To help your ass from bouncing off the walls when you get down some.

    On another note, yes that appears to be some good racing action you posted. There are games available that provide that flavour, if that’s the only thing you’re into.

  36. Patricia says:

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  37. r4 says:

    I like to drift my car every where. Not only in drift race, I am doing drifting in race events also. I like to do this. Good videos to see, it gave me some more idea about drift.