Collecting cars, building them up, grinding out credits and collecting more cars is a big part of the experience outside of the racing. It's an experience that Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed is aiming to avoid. Well, certainly if lead designer Andy Tudor has anything to do with it.
[Gran Turismo and Forza] are on pedestals at the moment. When were thinking about what we want to do in this game, its not a numbers game, Tudor told Eurogamer. Were not going to add a thousand irrelevant cars. Both those games, to me, are almost like encyclopedias. Youve got a thousand cars, a thousand tracks, whatever, and basically the game is about earning cash to get another car, earning cash to get another car. Its like a grind. Its almost like stamp collecting.
Thats not where the fun is. The fun is behind the wheel, feeling youre on the edge, pushing it to the limit, putting in the cars that are relevant and cool to drive, allowing you to completely customize those from factory to the works level we had in Shift 1, and giving you the chance to then play against your friends in a social way. Taking Autolog, which is present in Hot Pursuit, to the next level, adding more features and making the core gameplay really fun as opposed to just adding five variations of the 1986 Toyota Corolla or something like that.
Tudor reckons that the average player only collects around 10-15 cars, picking a car from each tier or category, and an ultimate dream car.
Then, generally, people fill out the rest with cars they want to try out, like a Dodge Challenger, that they may not have access to, he said. So people have 10-15 cars anyway. They certainly dont fill their garage up with every single car there is in the game all 500 of them."
While that's all very nice, we think Tudor is underselling the reason Gran Turismo and Forza are popular. It's not just the range of cars, it's the way they're implemented into challenges that require massively different driving skills. That's the reason Sony and Microsoft's flag-ship racers are genre leaders, and Tudor's not doing Shift 2 any favours drawing the comparison. Even if 95% of people only drive 10-15 cars, isn't it worth giving everyone a choice of what those cars are? And isn't it even better giving the 5% of completionist hours of content to unearth?
Sometimes less is more. Sometimes more is more.