Games Inbox: Is Need For Speed a dead franchise?

The Tuesday Inbox is appalled at the death threats against Game Freak, as a reader gets his dream Waxworks remake.

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NFS Cold
I would probably believe that Lucasfilm are the ones keeping back reviews of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, if it wasn’t for the fact that EA were involved and have done the same thing with their last two games. There was only a few reviews out for Plants Vs. Zombies the other week and Need For Speed was even worst on Friday, so there’s a bit of a pattern going on here.

Clearly EA and other big publishers, particularly Activision, see reviews as more trouble than they’re worth and would much rather just have streamers and YouTubers talk about them less critically than risk anyone offer any kind of useful buying advice to us lowly consumers.

I’m glad to see it didn’t work though, Need For Speed has been a flop, again, and surely that has got to be it for the franchise. I was surprised it got another game after the reboot, let along another after that. When you think about how some games have gone decades without a sequel and EA are just pumping these games out that nobody wants forever.

The only thing that stops me from actively celebrating another dead franchise is that of course there are people’s jobs involved. I know Criterion got split off from Ghost Games and everything got a bit complicated but everyone should’ve been moved off Need For Speed years ago and put onto something interesting, or at least lucrative. I mean surely a Star Wars Pod Racer game would’ve sold more than this, if it has to be a racer they’re working on?

A part of me almost expects to hear about NFS Cold or something next year, but surely this is it, the end for Need For Speed and hopefully the point at which EA decides to get a grip of itself.
PS: When is your review, GC?

GC: It should be up later today.


Spoiler: he uses the Force
Am I right in thinking there is to be no trial of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on EA Access.

I renewed my access this year partly for the 10% discount on EA games, but also partly due to the game trials, if they are going to stop allowing game trials for games I may not be on EA Access for much longer. Looked online but can’t find a definitive answer.
thagcgamer2014 (PSN ID)

GC: Neither could we, but we don’t think there’s one. Although it’s probably because of Lucasfilm wanting to keep the plot secret rather than anything else.


Remake magic
Just read your article about Waxworks and wanted to share the news that there is a Waxworks remake in the works by Went2Play. It will release in Steam Early Access on November 12th, if it won’t get delayed.

Kind regards from Germany,
Jörn Wunderlich

GC: Wow, and to think we described it as the least likely remake ever. The reader will be over the moon. Does it count as Inbox magic if it was Reader’s Feature though?


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Family investment
I only joined the current generation last Christmas with a PlayStation 4 and one controller. Despite complaints about the lack of couch co-op or offline multiplayer on the PlayStation 3, my family and I enjoyed games such as Lara Croft And The Guardian of Light, Fat Princess, Rayman Legends, Split/Second, Rocket League, Call Of Duty, Killzone 3, F.E.A.R. 3, and Dungeon Siege 3.

We also played Borderlands 2, LittleBigPlanet Karting, and Diablo but not much as my offspring weren’t too keen on those, and sadly they don’t like PES/FIFA or sports-based games at all. Prior to the PlayStation 3 we played various classics such as Lego on the PlayStation 2 but of course they are older now (18 and 16).

I’d love to tempt them back into family gaming with some new stuff and I’m wondering if there are enough good and original couch co-op games on PlayStation 4 to justify the cost of a second PlayStation 4 controller? (£45, wow, maybe a Black Friday PlayStation 4 bundle would be a better idea?).

Based on a little googling I’ve pondered Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition (maybe too ‘involved’ for us?), A Way Out (only a 6/10 review) and Guacamelee! 2 (too hard?). Or would it be better and cheaper to carry on with PlayStation 3 games we haven’t really tackled, such as Resident Evil 5 and the two-player in Beyond: Two Souls, or just enjoy old favourites on the Wii/U and GameCube?

Your thoughts and recommendations will be gratefully received and carefully considered. Especially those that don’t cost much! (I bought all of the games I listed for less than £10 and some for less than £5). Thanks.
David ‘Daley’ Thompson

GC: It’s impossible for anyone else to say whether you should spend the money, but there are many fun co-op games on the PlayStation 4, such as Love In A Dangerous Spacetime, Overcooked, Spelunky, and Diablo 3. We wouldn’t advise playing anything of Beyond: Two Souls though, except for keepie-uppies with the disc.


Unanimous approval
My suggestion for a Weekend Hot Topic is that with Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 both being rebooted would you welcome a reboot of the third game Resident Evil 3: Nemesis for the next generation?

Also, what would you like to see be included in a Resident Evil 3 reboot and what particular additions would you like to see include? Also, do you want to see co-op or do you think it should still remain single-player?
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

GC: There’s really not enough mileage in that for a Hot Topic, especially as the remake is all but certain anyway. Although apart from that, would anyone say they didn’t want it?


Lone nut
I think if you’re issuing death threats to the people that make Pokémon that’s probably the point at which you want to have a word with yourself. I mean, seriously? Death threats? Pokémon? And it was death threats in the plural too, so presumably not just one lone nut.

That Reader’s Feature at the weekend had it right. Gamers are getting out of control, where the smallest dissatisfaction leads to screams of a boycott at best and death threats at worst. It’s no surprise that in the real word the rise of fascism continues and all we have to fight it is the worst generation of politicians in centuries.

Gaming may be trivial but the anger and anti-social reactions it fosters are not. That’s not the fault of the games themselves, I should say, but social media and the general state of online discussion. It’s more or less the same for other media and fan circles, but being more media savvy games do seem to be at the leading edge of anti-social behaviour.


Critical advice
The weekend feature by Ashton about gamers being the worst part of gaming was spot on.

The second to last paragraph in particular reminded me of something that happened to me a couple of years back. I commented on a Guardian article on Facebook about Anita Sarkeesian, where I mentioned that I didn’t understand the hatred for her as most of her points are valid. Cue plenty of hateful comments that were directed to me under my comment. I then got a private message on Facebook from a fake account, calling me all sorts. I eventually got this person to admit they were a virgin and they started asking me for advice on getting a girlfriend!

In the case of men who go after Anita, I suspect video games are their only escape from the pressures of trying to get a girlfriend and so when a woman is critical of sexist aspects of games it triggers them further and makes them lash out. At least that’s my armchair psychology explanation. Pathetic behaviour but all too predictable.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Get what you deserve
Well, that’s Death Stranding out now and receiving mixed reviews, which is to be expected considering how bizarre the game is. What I didn’t expect though was the sheer hatred aimed at the game and its creator, Hideo Kojima.

I get the complaints that the game is just a ‘glorified walking simulator’ and that Kojima – and Death Stranding as a whole – are a bit pretentious but I’ve seen so many genuinely nasty comments on social media hoping the game fails miserably and Kojima’s company closes down, and I just don’t get why.

Even if folk aren’t keen on him or the game, you’d think they’d be over the moon that in this day and age of lazy, half-baked, microtransaction- packed nonsense being spurted out en masse, people would be over the moon for a big budget game that tries something different. A game without microtransactions and with a lot of genuine love and care having been put into it. But no, gamers gonna gamer it seems.

I tried to chalk it up to a one-off but noticed the utterly despicable way gamers are also treating the developers of the latest Pokémon game. Its situations like these that make me wonder if the community doesn’t deserve the likes of Fallout 76 or the latest Ghost Recon.

GC: If there’s anything the history of entertainment teaches us it’s that most people don’t want something different and resent others for suggesting their tastes might be unsophisticated. Not that we’re suggesting Death Stranding isn’t pretentious.


Inbox also-rans
GC, I wonder what percentage of gamers make their purchases from review scores as opposed to those that don’t?

GC: That’s something we’ll never know, much like accurate sales figures for video games.

Not written in for a while but I spotted a comment in Monday’s inbox that made me look twice… Your Metal Gear Solid 5 review seemed pretty unequivocal in its summary of the best one ever. Has timed changed your minds?

GC: That was over four years ago now and we find ourselves looking back at the third one with much more affection. Although a lot of the times the fifth one barely feels like Metal Gear so it’s not really a fair comparison.

Just a reminder to say to any reader who is buying or interested in the Life Is Strange graphic novels, volume 2 is out soon on Tuesday, 19th November. I enjoyed volume 1, so looking forward to volume 2.
Andrew J.

TrueAchievements have provided an update on the Skate trademark from EA and it looks like it is still in existence. Thought you might want to update your story.

GC: Thanks, we did!


This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader NL, who asks what is the best video game sequel you’ve ever played?

As a flipside to last week’s Hot Topic about the worst sequels, what do you feel has been the best? Was is it a major overhaul for the series, a return to its roots, or simply a minor upgrade that nevertheless made it the best there’s ever been?

What sequel has been most effective at reinventing a series or rejuvenating interest in what may have been an ailing franchise? To be clear, anything counts as long as it can be generally counted as an official sequel, follow-up, or reboot.

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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