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The new Need for Speed won’t be an always-online game

Cops and customization are also on the docket

Need for Speed 2017 - motel
The first image from 2017’s Need for Speed game.
Ghost Games/Electronic Arts
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

This year’s Need for Speed game will bring back some of the franchise’s most well-known features, and at least one that fans have been clamoring for: the ability to play offline.

“You will be able to play through a single player experience completely offline,” developer Ghost Games said today in a post on the series’ website.

Ghost’s wording — “a single player experience” — is vague enough to leave the studio some wiggle room on what exactly players will be able to do offline. But at the very least, they will be able to pause the game. Andrew Wilson, CEO of Need for Speed publisher Electronic Arts, previously said competitive online play would be a major focus for the game.

The two most recent entries in the franchise, 2013’s Need for Speed Rivals and the 2015 reboot Need for Speed, were always-online games: You needed to be connected to the internet in order to play, and you couldn’t pause the action. Critics and fans lambasted Ghost Games and EA for that decision, and it’s an encouraging sign that the studio is going public with the offline option for 2017’s Need for Speed title today — weeks before actually revealing the game.

Ghost Games also laid out a few other elements of this year’s Need for Speed game, whose name EA has not yet announced. The studio confirmed that car customization, one of the high points of 2015’s Need for Speed, will stick around: “It’s not going away and it will play as strong a role as ever as we move forward into the next game and beyond.” In addition, cops will return to the fray this year, and Ghost hinted that the game will have a widely varied open world.

“Whether you’re checking out your freshly customized ride or smoking the competition in an event up in the canyons, you’re going to want a world that not only looks beautiful, but offers you the space in which to do the things you want,” said Ghost Games. “We’re dialing up the action and allowing you to tear up the tarmac, and dirt, to your heart's content.”

The previous two entries in the Need for Speed series were also open-world games. But this is an area in which other driving franchises have been outdoing Need for Speed for years — consider Microsoft’s gorgeous Forza Horizon titles or Ubisoft’s The Crew.

Whatever the upcoming Need for Speed game is called, it will be released this year. Ghost Games will provide more details between now and EA Play, Electronic Arts’ pre-E3 showcase, in mid-June — likely on June 2, if the image above is any indication.

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