Today EA announced that Black Box’s PC exclusive free-to-play MMO racer Need for Speed World will launch sometime this summer.
According to the press release: “Need for Speed World brings together best in class action racing with an unparalleled social experience. For the first time in a racing game, players will be able to compete against any one of their friends, family or pick from thousands of top ranked players to challenge in intense online battles and police pursuits across 150 miles of sprawling open world. Need for Speed World takes the well known and popular cities from Need for Speed Most Wanted and Need for Speed Carbon to create the biggest, most exciting race world ever released in the Need for Speed universe.”
Producer John Doyle stated, “We have expanded Need for Speed’s classic adrenaline fueled racing with an all-new power up system and deep RPG style progression to create a truly massive, socially-connected white-knuckle Need for Speed experience.”
For those of you who are interested, EA has just kicked off the English closed beta. In order to get your hands on it, head over to world.needforspeed.com and submit an application. As with all closed betas there are a limited number of spots, so don’t be surprised if you don’t get in.
Personally, I’m curious to see how Black Box handles an MMO racing game. Other developers have tried this genre before (Motor City Online, Project Torque) but they never really were that successful. I think that as long as there is a good RPG element to keep gamers hooked (aka leveling system that provides distinct advantages) Need for Speed World will be able to hold its own.
What do you guys think? Is the concept of an MMO racer dead before it hits the tracks, or is there some promise to this premise?