If you were planning on assembling your sim rig and pulling that racing wheel out of the closet in anticipation of Need For Speed Heat’s release next month, then we have some bad news. The latest instalment of the NFS franchise won’t offer support for wheel peripherals, at least not at launch.
As reported by Norwegian site ulvespill.net, NFS senior game designer Yoni Rabinowitz confirmed without elaborating that “we don’t have any wheel support for the launch”.
That’s not exactly without precedent. Need For Speed 2015 launched without wheel support either, and its 2017 follow-up, Need For Speed Payback, only brought wheel support after a running update – largely brought about after negative user feedback.
However, given the team behind Need For Speed Heat has gone to great lengths to tweak the handling model to address concerns about the cartoonishly bad vehicle dynamics of the past two games, not allowing gamers to exploit that improvement with a wheel peripheral seems odd.
In its development blog, the Ghost Driving Experience Team has promised numerous approaches to addressing the biggest point of criticism of both NFS 2015 and Payback. The language is convoluted and doesn’t always make sense to those of us who understand how an actual car works, but read on for our key takeaways.
The team at Ghost explicitly mention the much-critiqued “brake-to-drift” effect; where in recent titles players have been forced to take every corner sideways – and had the experience dumbed down to a simple ‘stab brake, turn, mash accelerator’ process – even in front-drive cars like the starter Civic.
READ MORE: Need For Speed Heat full car list revealed
If you’ve used the ‘slide’ button on Mario Kart, you’ll know the feeling well…
In response, Ghost have worked over the drifting mechanics with particular attention to steering input, differential tuning, clutch, brake bias and the tyre model.
Throttle inputs will now have a tangible effect on oversteer situations (rejoice!), and you can even initiate drifts with only throttle and steering inputs. Ham-fisted inputs won’t be forgiven either, and you will spin out should you be too liberal with the go-fast pedal.
The fixed “archetype” system of building your cars in NFS: Payback has also been binned, in favour of a more free-flowing and versatile way of tuning your car. Three distinct categories (suspension, differential and tyres) are able to be adjusted individually, and will shift your car’s handling style between Race, Drift, Offroad or Road-oriented characteristics.
Ghost also welcomely state that different vehicles’ drivetrains, be they FWD, RWD, or AWD; will have a greater effect on how they react to inputs and “handling styles”.
Overall; Ghost are promising more freedom for players to more finely tune their cars “towards a more realistic grip handling or drift handling” tendency, whichever the player should choose.
The team at Ghost are confident that they’ve created a “Race handling style that is faster in corners, satisfying and feels amazing” whilst conversely “creating a new way of initiating drift with multiple layers of mastery”.
Whether the team at Ghost have succeeded is yet to be seen. We’ll remain quietly confident; as this isn’t the first time we’ve been excited about the promise of improved in-game vehicle dynamics.
Stay tuned to Whichcar.com.au as we’ll have our full review once the game is launched on November 8.