ea-black-box posts

Need For Speed The Run to use Battlefield 3's Frostbite 2 engine

After a trailer for the game made its way to the internet on Thursday, Electronic Arts has officially announced its plans for Need For Speed The Run, the next game in the long running driving game series. The game is being developed by EA's Black Box studio and will use the Frostbite 2 engine for its graphical basis. That's the same graphics engine that's being used for Battlefield 3.

The game's premise keeps the racers vs cops theme that Criterion broke back for Need For Speed Hot Pursuit. However this time the game centers on The Run, a highly illegal cross-country race from San Francisco to New York City. Players will have to "weave through dense urban centers, rocket down icy mountain passes and navigate narrow canyons at breakneck speeds" while also evading the cops. The game is due out on November 15.

Need For Speed to continue annual release of "arcade" version

The next Need For Speed game is due out in two week with the release of Need For Speed Hot Pursuit but publisher Electronic Arts already has plans for the next installment of the "arcade" division of its long time racing franchise. In a chat with Eurogamer today, EA's Patrick Soderlund said that the game would be developed by its Canada-based Black Box studio but no other details were announced. Criterion's next project after completing Need For Speed Hoit Pursuit has not yet been announced.

And what about Need For Speed Shift, the racing simulation game that was released in the fall of 2009? Soderlund stated, " ... when the market permits and when we feel ready, we'll come up with Shift versions as well." Need For Speed Shift 2 had been previously announced as coming out in the first quarter of 2011 but there's been no recent updates as to the status of that game.

Need For Speed World launches July 20

The summer months are usually dead in terms of new PC games but this year it looks like things will be a bit different. StarCraft II is already set for a July 27 release and today Electronic Arts announced that their free-to-play racing MMO Need For Speed World will officially launch on July 20.

As we reported on Wednesday, the game can be downloaded and played for free up to a point but the driver's progression stops at level 10. In order to go to higher levels players will have to pony up $19.99 for a Starter Pack that will also have extras like a one week head start on the game's official launch date, an exclusive vehicle (depending on what retailer you buy it from) and more.

Two new Need For Speed PC games announced


Remember those rumors earlier this year that EA might shut down the Need For Speed franchise? Yeah, those were way off the mark. In a bit of a surprise, Electronic Arts has announced their plans to release not one but three upcoming games in their Need For Speed driving series for 2009, including two for the PC. The last entry in the series, Need For Speed Undercover, got slammed by critics and was not a sales success when it was released last fall. This fall EA will release Need For Speed: Shift for the PC and other platforms and the PC-only game Need For Speed World Online.

Need For Speed: Shift is being developed by a new UK company called Slightly Mad Studios (with help from EA Black Box) Its team helped to develop the racing sim games GTR and GTR 2 for SimBin. With that background you can expect Need For Speed: Shift to be more of a simulation game than an arcade racer. According to EA's press release, "Players are thrust into the heart of the action with immersive and exciting features including a stunningly realistic first-person cockpit view camera and an all-new crash mechanic, providing an unrivaled sensation of the speed and feeling of racing a car on the extreme edge of control." The above early screenshot gives you an idea of the visual style they are trying to create.

Rumors: EA lets go of 200 people at Black Box studio

The hammer appears to be finally falling over at the Vancouver based EA Black Box dev studio. After published rumors a few weeks ago suggested that the Need For Speed studio would consolidate with Electronic Arts' other Vancouver based studio, Gamasutra is reporting through unnamed sources that EA has now let go of up to 200 people at Black Box.

That means the studio has less than half of its team left (it had had 350 people at last count). While it has developed other games for EA, the studio's big franchise was the Need For Speed racing series. The latest installment, Need For Speed Undercover, got slammed by critics and apparently was not a sales success. EA planned to reveal more details on its planned job cuts at its next scheduled quarterly financial results in early February.

EA to now lay off 1,000 team members


Earlier this month, Electronic Arts announced that it would have to cut the number of its employees more than the 6 percent it had announced back in October. This morning EA got more specific, saying it will now lay off 10 percent of its work force. This means that 1,000 EA staff members will lose their jobs by the end of March 31.

In addition, EA said it would close or consolidate at least nine of its development and publishing offices.Only one was actually named; EA Black Box in Vancouver, developers of the Need For Speed series. As previously rumored the EA Black Box team will now be moved to EA's other Vancouver based studio. EA expects to take a charge of $55-65 million because of all of these layoffs and closings but also says it will save $120 million annually as a result.

Rumor: Has the Need For Speed series come to an end?


Electronic Arts' latest version of their long running Need For Speed racing series, Need For Speed Undercover, has gotten poor reviews and also apparently not been selling nearly as well as previous titles in the franchise. So its not a shock to hear rumors that financially troubled EA may be retiring the Need For Speed series.

The Electric Underground web site is reporting through unnamed sources that EA has "cancelled the development of new titles in the once popular racing series." For the past several years EA's Black Box studio in Vancouver has handled the development of the Need For Speed series. It was recently revealed that EA has decided not to move ahead with plans for a new Vancouver dev studio because of the publisher's recent economic woes.

EA pulls out of launching new Vancouver dev studio


Electronic Arts has been feeling the economic pinch this year as profits are down for the large game publisher. Now our sister site GameDaily is reporting that a planned new EA development studio in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is now on hold, most likely because of its current financial troubles.

EA already has two dev studios in the Vancouver area; one developed the FIFA soccer games (one of the few EA Sports titles still being made for the PC) while the other, EA Black Box, is home to the Need for Speed series. The new studio was planned to be a 20,000 square foot facility but the office space that was going to be used has now been given to another tenant.

Download: Need for Speed Undercover HD Texture Pack Mod


This High Definition Texture Pack mod for Need for Speed Undercover was developed by An7hraX, and improves the graphics by making them crisper, reducing the bloom effects and fixing up the HDR lighting. Be aware that the mod changes some of the DirectX 9 files, so programs like Punkbuster may misinterpret it as a cheat in online play. Continue reading for installation instructions. For more information and comparative screenshots, check out the post thread on NFS-Planet.

Download Need for Speed Undercover HD Texture Pack Mod (224 MB)
Download Texmod (required for installation) (582 KB)
Check out all Need for Speed Undercover downloads

Need for Speed Undercover trailer takes it personal


The second in a series of Need for Speed Undercover trailers takes on the style of a documentary interview with a police officer and why he joined the Tri-City police. It looks like Undercover might use a stronger story element than seen in previous releases of the racing game. Need for Speed Undercover is currently scheduled to release November 18, 2008.

Download the Need for Speed Undercover HD Teaser Trailer #1 (4 MB)
Download the Need for Speed Undercover HD Teaser Trailer #2 (31 MB)
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