Need For Speed Heat Producer: “Loot Boxes Don’t Fit in Our Game”

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We’re only a few weeks away from the release of Ghost Games’ Need For Speed Heat, and yet we only know so much about the game. In a new interview, producer John Wikberg and lead game designer Yoni Rabinowitz give an idea of how Ghost sees Heat relative to other Need For Speed titles, including in its monetization approach. The developers say loot boxes won’t make a return from Need For Speed Payback, but aren’t saying much about other DLC strategies.

Speaking with James Batchelor of GamesIndustry.biz, Wikberg says neither loot boxes “or any microtransactions of that sort” will appear in Need For Speed Heat. “We looked at this game, and what’s right for this game, so it’s our decision,” explains Wikberg. “Loot boxes don’t fit in our game. We don’t want it, it doesn’t make the game better, so this is our decision to take.”

Loot boxes were embedded in the gameplay loop of 2017’s Need For Speed Payback. Through races, players could earn randomized Shipments that doled out Speed Cards, vital stat boosters for car tuning and customization. Shipments could also be purchased through Payback’s storefront. Though Ghost Games says it intended for those purchases to be time savers only, EA and Ghost reconfigured Payback’s loot system in the wake of the Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot box controversy. Rabinowitz acknowledges that Ghost also “kind of leaned into” Payback’s Las Vegas setting through the inclusion of a slot machine loot mechanic for creating better Speed Cards.

Batchelor notes that Ghost Games is leaving open the possibility of DLC car packs, but has otherwise kept plans for post-launch support and other forms of monetization to itself.

In other aspects of its design, Heat is leaning heavily towards player choice. Heat will let players customize their character in addition to their cars and will allow players to choose whether they’re driving during the day or at night. Depending on the time of day, there’ll be a different selection of sanctioned and illegal races available, and the police patrolling Heat’s Miami-inspired open world will behave differently depending on the time of day and how aggressively the player is driving. If you’re going all Fast and Furious through the streets of Palm City, the cops should follow your lead.

Need for Speed Heat is releasing on November 8 for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It’ll launch a bit earlier for Origin Access and EA Access members on November 5. For more on Need For Speed Heat, check out USG’s guide to everything else we’ve learned about it so far.

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