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EA To Scrap Black Box, Need For Speed Franchise Finished?

The Need for Speed series has been around for...well, seemingly forever. Although it's not quite the stellar blockbuster and prime attraction it once was, it remains a solid franchise that typically delivers entertaining installments. However, there is a chance now that Need for Speed: Undercover will be the last NFS title you'll ever see...

According to AutoGaming (referencing globeandmail), EA has said their Black Box division, responsible for the NFS games, will eventually be shut down. EA has already opted to cancel the construction of their new studio in Vancouver, and with Undercover failing to crack into the top 20 on November's NPD sales charts, EA may have to make a painful decision. In addition, there are more whispers that any NFS titles they may have been working on have been canceled as well. Said an EA spokesman: "These are challenging times, theyre uncertain times for our industry and across the board..." The spokesman also revealed that more staff cuts were on the way, although he didn't get into specifics. Now, none of this can be considered official - it's more of a "just what we heard" type of thing - but just don't expect to see another NFS game for a while. Perhaps it's just taking a little vacation; when the economy clears up and things start rolling in the right direction for EA again, the series may make a triumphant return. But for now, things aren't looking so good.

There are a few long-running series out there that need to die in our opinion, but we're not so sure that Need for Speed is one of them. It may have fallen off in terms of quality and sales recently, but nowhere near to the level of something like Sonic. In some ways, it just seems wrong to eliminate NFS from the future of gaming...

Related Game(s): Need for Speed: Undercover

12/13/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (57 posts)

eLLeJuss
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 11:48:44 AM
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well.. i was never a fan of nfs anyweiZ.. i prefer midnight club XD..

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John Shoemaker
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 12:15:01 PM
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Thank God, playing a racing game with the 350Z in it was painful enough..j/k

This kinda sucks. If EA would have put more effort into the NFS series and gave more time then a year between installments, they would have had a better series then they do now. Not saying it was always bad, just when they started with the whole Underground thing.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 12:28:10 PM

"Thank God, playing a racing game with the 350Z in it was painful enough..j/k"

Ha. ;)

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tramp
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 12:30:13 PM
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whats wrong with 350z's??i love them

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Strifewind
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 4:08:10 PM

Inside joke involving Ben. ;)

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BeezleDrop
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 12:52:26 PM
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NFS was so great on the PSOne days....

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shadowpal2
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 12:55:00 PM
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350Z's are nice...but overrated in my opinion. Feel kind of bad that Need for speed is finally coming to an end. You know at first it was like one of the big racing games. But when Gran Turismo and Midnight Club came....it was just gone. Oh well...don't buy the last NFS either way - considering it sucked.

4.0/10 - IGN god that's sad.

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Naga
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 12:58:08 PM
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Welcome to Hell Blackbox home to bullfrog

Skyline R34 V-spec FTW!!

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crapreviews
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 1:23:01 PM
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i've never played NFS and doubt i ever would. Always saw it as a cheap rip off of midnight club

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Akuma07
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 11:04:02 PM

HAHAHA

cheap rip off? mate im pretty sure NFS has been around loooooooong before midnight club.

the underground series was the best in my opinion. mainly the 1st one. most wanted was good. but no ps3 version sucked.

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ceedot
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 6:31:40 AM

midnight club was shit till 3, and that copied nfs underground. I think underground was the first modify-cars game.

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crapreviews
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 8:44:15 AM

i always thought midnight club came first. well that goes to show just how crappy i think the NFS series is that i dont even remember that it supposedly came out first.

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replica4718
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 10:56:58 PM

Midnight Club was before NFS Underground, but the NFS series itself was out years before Midnight Club.

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Skatejimmy5
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 1:23:03 PM
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Need for Speed isn't as great as Gran Turismo nor Burnout in my opinion. I can live without it.

Wait, Black Box are responsible for Skate as well, what will happen to that? :( I'd hate to see my favorite franchise die.

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Vivi_Gamer
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 1:41:48 PM
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Never cared for it, Urban racing fails, actually, Urban fails in general....

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GamerKid123
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 2:16:41 PM
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Noooooo....
i love NFS, EA how could you?!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 2:28:57 PM
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We've seen this before, another division will pick up the franchise after a much needed respite (And after the Gran Turismo explosion dies down and the debris is swept up (could be 3 years).

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Geobaldi
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 3:36:57 PM
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I don't know why people say it's a cheap rip-off of Midnight Club when NFS debuted a full 6 years before Midnight Club did. If anything MC is a ripoff of that. And in a way it's also a ripoff of Midtown Madness which came out the year before MC. It's not as big a loss to me as to other people, only really liked the Hot Pursuit games, but it's a shame to see it go. Was a time when someone said ''racing game,'' NFS was the first name that popped into your head. Well that and Test Drive lol.

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Strifewind
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 4:13:26 PM

Let's just face it... the gaming market is saturated with racing titles, much like it is with FPS titles now. With the economy and the steady downfall of sales numbers and quality of the NFS titles, EA had to cut the line sooner or later...

PLUS, the whole "urban racing fling" was at its peak soon after the turn of the century. Now it's pretty much dead. Remember Fast and Furious? ... yeah.

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FallenClyro
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 5:54:15 PM

Too right about the whole 'urban' setting. I was so sick of it after NFS:Carbon's TERRIBLE 'white-gangster' acting. Burnout is much more fast paced and 'WHOO! Lets burn some rubber and take people down MUAHAHA!' kind of game which is why I loved it!

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Fane1024
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 3:57:04 PM
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So maybe releasing an iteration every year ISN'T such a good idea.

ActiBlizzard, take note.

Last edited by Fane1024 on 12/13/2008 3:57:46 PM

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Strifewind
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 4:15:50 PM

I feel the same way. Take your time on a game title, put some effort into it, make it unique, and make it outshine the competition. Don't simply add a few features and cars here and there, up the graphics a notch and expect everything to take off like a rocket. It doesn't work that way... not for too long at least.

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 5:22:57 PM
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Hopefully this means EA is going to let Burnout be the king of their racing game series. They always made Burnout play second fiddle to NFS, even though it's been the better game by far over the last 3 or 4 iterations.

I wouldn't be surprised if they give Criterion the Need for Speed name and just let them make Need For Speed: Burnout to take advantage of the sheer selling power of that brand name.

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FallenClyro
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 5:51:13 PM
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I lost faith in the Need for Speed series after Carbon, not surprised it isn't selling well. If I was going to buy another racing game it would be the new Midnight Club but I'm more than Happy with Burnout atm :)

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Cuetes
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 5:58:53 PM
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NFS has been on a downward spiral for a while, I remember back in the day though, you would of found it hard to find a better arcade style racer. Its always been one of my favorites (any gamer will tell you it was the egg that birth the birdz you kiddies eat up today: MC, burnout and countless others.) but its problem came when it tried to settle itself in the popular ( fast and furious ) and not what made the game great in the first place (exotic fast cars fying at insane speeds). It will be a loss to our beloved hobby if this is canned. Im sure something will replace it, thats the beauty of gaming.

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Skillz
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 8:09:52 PM
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After Hot Pursuit 2 for PS2 the series went down the drain. Now skate. that's a whole other thing. I would hate for EA to shut down a franchise that just started especially a so far great one.

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jlch777
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 8:37:48 PM
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i lost hope in this franchise too.
they dont seem to care for the quality of the game,instead they release a poor game every year.

I always complaint about the poor framerate that it suffers. always the same from NFSU to Undercover.

When you see games like GT or Burnout with a rock solid framerate you just want to see a NFS game in the hands of PD or Criterion.

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tigga1369
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 9:00:47 PM
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this sux...
we are stuck with the gran turismo crap whiuc has sucked from day one... but they are pulling nfs??
not fair

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 9:36:05 PM

You think GT is crap?

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Xanavi23
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 8:26:03 AM

You're not intelligent.

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jlch777
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 9:42:04 PM
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did you just said that GT sucks?

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Geobaldi
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 10:25:21 PM
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Not everybody likes Gran Turismo, me included. Lots of people prefer arcade racers like Burnout over the more realistic ones. It's all a matter of tastes.

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Akuma07
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 11:06:59 PM
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im more then happy to see Racedriver:GRiD take its place.
best racing game to grace the console since underground 2.

and its made by Aussie's which makes it even better =]
a smalltime aussie dev was able to create a game that rivals most major dev's and in most cases beat them.

best drifting i've ever seen in a game too.

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daus26
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 11:19:57 PM
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I hve mixed feelings on this. The past few franchise was a total fail in my opnion, but I've yet to see their true potential. The only nfs I like best are hot pursuit 2 for its fast n exotic feel n nfs underground 2 for having the most insane n complete customization of the whole franchise. If they took the greatness of these two n maybe take more than a year in development time, they can actually hve a solid nfs game.

Oh yea, maybe they can try listening to the long time fans? I hear a lot saying they like the overall feel of hot pursuit 2, but they never even consider it, n instead made a racing game with yellowish pavement n corny story??? Did the fans want this?

Bty, yes, Gran Turismo will trigger a nuclear bomb indeed!

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isaya85
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 12:01:55 AM
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After NFS hotpursuit 2 it was over for the franchise that was the best of the bunch they need to go back to that and make a third

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slayerkillemall
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 12:43:42 AM
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i bought nfs underground played it for about 20 mins and didnt like it . have never bothered with nfs after that.

i agree with most of you that after nfs hot pursuit 2 nfs went downhill imo thats what nfs has been all about the need for speed and getting chased by cops was wild . big plus.
I still own/play/love, nfs hot pursuit ps1,and hot pursuit 2 ps2.
EA should go back to its roots.
it would be sad to see it go.

@tigga 1369: just because you dont like a game does not mean it sucks! saying that is inconsiderate to others, i really dont like midnight club but thought dub edition which i own was good.,GTA is the greatest SIMULATION
racing game you can buy/play without going racing in real life.

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somethingrandom
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 1:23:54 PM

Did you just say that Grand Theft Auto is the best simulation racing game you can buy/play without going racing in real life?!?!!

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Deleted User
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 2:17:45 AM
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This is horrible. The original was my first game for PS1.

I had high hopes for the series coming back. I think we can all agree that the last few were not exactly top class.

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knobby585
Wednesday, December 17, 2008 @ 4:04:28 PM

i have to agree with you on this one. The first NFS i bought was NFS: UNDERGROUND on the XBOX(prob the greatest one of the series). Then when CARBON and PROSTREET came out...meh, okay, but one other that was really close to UNDERGROUND(my opinion) was MOST WANTED. I have yet to buy the newest and maybe last NFS ever... IF they just spent more time on the game, it would def be a bigger hit.

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Zorigo
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 6:04:12 AM
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i'm caring a little cos the games are good. but there are others to spawn from the death of this old one. new series, which are better.

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Enfildate
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 6:29:51 AM
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i thought underground 2 was the best nfs. Is it similar to midnight club?

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ceedot
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 6:30:22 AM
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Good, the next NFS games are going to be a dissapointment. Just move them on to another better part who can do something like hot persuit 2 was in it's day.

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N a S a H
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 7:52:49 AM
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That's disappointing. My friend will be crushed if this is true.

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Xanavi23
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 8:28:12 AM
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NFS used to be very good. Most Wanted was a pretty good game but since that one, they have gone majorly downhill. To Me, its EAs fault, they kept putting out crap after crap after crap. Instead of making less NFS games but making each game BETTER. Also their stupid idea of charging arms and legs for content was very stupid. GT gives us our cars for free and they're rendered better and with a much higher polygon count.

EA IN GENERAL needs to stop making crap.

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shaydey77
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 10:48:00 AM
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NFS Burnout definitely. Basically real cars and cops. Burnout used to have cop chases too. Happy days!!I can always dream...

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 3:25:12 PM

I played the cop chases in Burnout: Legends wasn't it essentially Marked Man from paradise? Change the hunter cars to cops and you're done.

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 3:15:45 PM
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Need for Speed is not going anywhere, folks. Yes, they are ending Black Box as a studio, but that's because they've turned into talentless drones who are probably the only developer EA has that hasn't made a great multiplatform game.

Look at the advances other EA developers have made in multiplatform titles. Black Box is THREE NFS games into the next-generation and they still can't get their game engines right. Good riddance. I have a feeling Criterion will likely end up working/contributing to the new NFS game one way or another.

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Doogie86
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 3:19:42 PM

I agree.

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 3:22:07 PM

Not quite correct. Skate was a great multi-platform game. I think the real problem is that they are unwilling to overhall the tone of the series. Everybody hates street racers stop making a game filled with so many of these ass holes. That's why I can't stand Midnight Club or NFS the tone and "story" is just stupid.

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Xanavi23
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 9:21:01 PM

Or Shadow, make a street racing game with REAL people who don't act like high school popularity contest losers. Sure no one likes to lose a race but NFS story takes it out of context. Or keep territorial a-holes but make them real?

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phade2blaq
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 5:06:17 PM
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I enjoyed playing the original NFS on the 3DO ! Back then if I'm not mistaken I believe "Road and Track" sponsored the game. Good ol days !

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slayerkillemall
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 7:16:00 PM
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oops i meant Gran Turismo....

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LightShow
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 10:47:11 PM
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With NFS and Burnout working under the same publisher, and the devs for NFS being canned, I'm not so sure EA will continue work on NFS when it has a super-solid racer under their umbrella.

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TH3G4MEMASTER
Monday, December 15, 2008 @ 10:39:59 AM
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i love nfs and i hope black box doesnt shut down and also midnight club isnt very good it doesnt even has damage

I hOpE Nfs DOEsNt ShUt DOwN!:(

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TH3G4MEMASTER
Monday, December 15, 2008 @ 10:40:02 AM
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i love nfs and i hope black box doesnt shut down and also midnight club isnt very good it doesnt even has damage

I hOpE Nfs DOEsNt ShUt DOwN!:(

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TH3G4MEMASTER
Monday, December 15, 2008 @ 10:41:33 AM
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NFSUC is only quite crap but on ps3 its the best and most realistic and responsive nfs ever !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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cadpig
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 @ 8:32:41 AM
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I was never a fan of the need for speed series. It won't be missed. The bar has been raised. Hopefully, the artists, the animators and other production staff...will find new jobs or move to other studios.

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