'Need for Speed Payback' puts players on the road to revenge this November

EA has officially unveiled Need for Speed Payback, the latest installment in the venerable racing series. Rumors have been circulating that the game would be set in Las Vegas, but it’s now been revealed that it will actually take place in a fictionalized version of the city dubbed Fortune Valley.

Players will step into the shoes of three characters, who are reunited by a common goal — gaining a measure of revenge against a powerful cartel known as The House. The organization controls the city’s casinos, criminals, and cops, so Fortune Valley can be a very dangerous place for anyone that isn’t on good terms with its top brass.

The three protagonists of Need for Speed Payback seem to offer a hint at its diverse gameplay. Tyler is described as a racer, Mac is billed as a showman, and Jess takes on the role of wheelman, which suggests that players will be tasked with driving with style, and serving as a getaway driver, as well as competing in standard racers.

“Need for Speed returns this year to challenge what players expect from racing games,” said Marcus Nilsson, the game’s executive producer. “We’re still delivering everything our fans love about the franchise — the deepest customization, an impressive roster of cars, intense races and open world pursuits — but with Need for Speed Payback, we’re bringing together all those elements in an all-new blockbuster driving experience.”

It certainly seems that Ghost Games is attempting to steer Need for Speed in a slightly different direction. The increased focus on a “blockbuster” narrative is likely inspired by the enormous popularity of the Fast & Furious movies.

However, these changes won’t resonate with fans unless the gameplay stands up to the series’ best. Nilsson’s reference to in-depth car customization bodes well, but strong driving mechanics and a large amount of content are imperative.

Need for Speed Payback launches across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 10.