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Absolutely everything you’ll want to know about ‘Need for Speed Payback’

Latest 'Need for Speed Payback' trailer goes all-in on story

Need for Speed Payback: Official Story Trailer
The Need for Speed series has spent the last two years in the garage, but Electronic Arts’ street-racing series looks like it’s about to hit the gas again. Developer Ghost Games is behind the wheel, and the next game, officially titled Need for Speed Payback, will get on the road this November.

There are a few details floating around for Need for Speed Payback, including the game’s setting, characters, story, and some of its available vehicles. At EA’s first E3 event (read up on everything happening at E3 2017), we got a sneak peek at the death-defying action featured in Payback, as well as a taste of just how cinematic and over-the-top some of those action sequences can get, and EA gave us more information on the game and its characters in the following months. Here’s everything we know about Need for Speed Payback so far.

It won’t require an internet connection

Probably the biggest and most important tidbit from Ghost Games’ May announcement is that Payback won’t require an online connection to play. Both Need for Speed: Rivals and the 2015 Need for Speed reboot included an always-online requirement, which meant that, even playing alone, players had to connect the games to the internet. That’s not the case in Need for Speed Payback — Ghost Games says the title will include a full single-player campaign, and you will be able to pause it while you play.

We’ll drive around an open world as three different characters

As with the previous two games in the series, Need for Speed Payback will take players into an open world. This time around, it’s the seedy criminal underbelly of Fortune Valley.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The game’s campaign will revolve around three characters: Tyler, Mac, and Jess. Each of the three drivers has his or her own specialty — “the racer,” “the showman,” and “the wheelman,” respectively. It appears that they will control their cars differently.

EA described Tyler Ramirez as a “natural-born racer,” originally from the poor area of Silver Rock and driven by his need to get revenge against The House organization.

Sean “Mac” McAlister, meanwhile, is the group’s free spirit, whose optimism and love for racing has kept them going. He’s also a trash talker and an off-road specialist for particularly illegal racing encounters.

Jess Miller comes from a much different background. Born into a rich family that had ties to the mob itself, she broke away and initially had plans to become a police officer before finding her calling as a “driver for hire.”

Other characters include Rav Chaudry, the group’s mechanic who has taken over an abandoned military base and turned it into his workshop.

In the E3 trailer we got a good look at just how much we’ll be able to tear up the road. The new cinematic action and car battles featured in the trailer illustrate that this isn’t just another Need for Speed game.

Yes, you can customize your car

Need for Speed Payback Official Customization Trailer

Cars will be fully customizable in Need for Speed Payback, though Electronic Arts hasn’t provided concrete details. There will be five different car classes to choose from: Race, Drift, Off-Road, Drag, and “Runner.”

This idea is similar to the customization features in Microsoft’s Forza: Horizon series, but Payback looks to take it a step further as you upgrade junkers and turn them into completely different vehicles. Electronic Arts promises that “every individual car part” can be changed and modified in Payback, giving players more customization and personalization options than ever before.

In the game’s announcement, the publisher said that “players can truly craft a personalized and unique ride, or spend hours finding and tuning an abandoned derelict into a supercar.”

Those who pre-order the game will gain access to five customized cars on day one, which can also be found in the Deluxe Edition.

  • Nissan 350Z 2008
  • Chevrolet Camaro SS 1967
  • Dodge Charger R/T 1969
  • Ford F-150 Raptor 2016
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 2016

The game’s first trailer also shows off a Pagani Huayra BC — the car retails for about $2.5 million, so we wouldn’t expect to get this right off the bat.

At EA Play 2017, we watched as the game’s car director tricked out an old derelict VW Bug with a candy-apple red paint job and custom-stance tuning. We have yet to see all the customization options available, but from what we can tell, it looks like deep customization is every bit a part of the new Need for Speed as the bone-crushing action and car battles are.

Police chases and heists are the star of the show

Like the well-received games Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Payback will put police chases front and center. The game will feature “heist missions” and “high-stakes car battles,” with set-pieces that look like they were pulled right out of the Fast & Furious movies. In the game’s first trailer, we see a character leap out of a speeding car onto a nearby truck. Elsewhere, a pickup truck zips through the desert in a scene that resembles Forza Horizon 3.

Need for Speed Payback Official Reveal Trailer

Details on the game’s villain, a “nefarious cartel” called The House, are slim right now, but we do have a few bits of information about the organization’s key players. The House controls the casinos and police force of Fortune Valley, which could lead to some interesting police chases. All three protagonists are united in their goal for revenge on The House.

One member of The House, Lina Navarro, was a childhood friend of Tyler, but her ambition and desire to win above all else put her at odds with the group. She is a top street racer in her own right, and appears to be working for the head of the casino scene in Silver Rock: a man named Marcus Weir.

We’ve also gotten a glimpse at the new heist mechanics and car battles, along with a quick look at how the narrative can transform the game’s racing mechanics. After fighting off the House’s enforcers, Tyler drives up beside a semi-truck while Jess jumps aboard. After a near-fatal crash, Jess rockets out of the semi-truck driving a shiny new supercar, and the player’s perspective shifts.

It’s just one example, but it’s a good look at what we can expect out of the new Need for Speed — cinematic action and a whole lot of it.

Deluxe Edition offers extra bonuses

The Need for Speed Payback Deluxe Edition will be available for $80 and includes three days of early access to the game, a story mission pack, a “Platinum Car” pack, as well as an exclusive license plate, color, and leaderboard icon. All in-game purchases will also be available with a 10-percent discount.

The Platinum Car pack includes five different vehicles: the Chevrolet Camaro SS 1967, Dodge Charger R/T 1969, Ford F-150 Raptor 2016, Nissan 350Z 2008, and Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 2016. It also includes an “exclusive platinum blue underglow and tire smoke vanity items.”

When can we play it?

Need for Speed Payback will be available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC November 10. If you have EA Access on Xbox One or Origin Access on PC, you can start playing the game November 2, with all progress carrying over to the full game at launch.

Update: Added information related to characters and story.

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Phil Hornshaw
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Phil Hornshaw is an author, freelance writer and journalist living in Los Angeles. He is the co-author of The Space Hero's…
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