Back in March 2016, following the release of the Need for Speed reboot at the tail end of 2015, EA announced that the series would no longer being getting new releases every year. Instead, it stated that a new racer would come sometime in 2017, and today EA and developer Ghost Games made good on that promise. "We’re happy to announce that by the end of 2017 you will be playing a new Need for Speed game," the studio said on its blog. "We’ll have a lot more details to share as we get closer to EA Play in June. In the meantime, we can share a few details about various aspects of Need for Speed, what they mean to you, to us as developers, and to the franchise as a whole." EA Play is scheduled to run from June 10-12 in Los Angeles this year, but it's notable that the promo image Ghost is sharing notes June 2 – so we'll no doubt be seeing more details (including a final name) on that date.
The details in question focus on two key areas of the series, namely customization and police pursuits. "Rest assured that we're committed to customization having a home within the Need for Speed series," the studio stated. "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 what could be interpreted as a response to the tremendous affection that players have for Playground Games' Xbox One-exclusive open-world racer Forza Horizon 3, Ghost shared that it is focusing on making the next Need for Speed's world beautiful and full of things to do – with a new emphasis on off-road racing. "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. We’re dialing up the action and allowing you to tear up the tarmac, and dirt, to your heart's content."
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 – an internet connection was required in order to play, and because of that you couldn’t pause the action. Fans harshly criticized EA for that, and it's encouraging that the studio is already openly acknowledging the problem. "When release day rolls around for the next Need for Speed, you will be able to play through a single player experience completely offline," Ghost said. "Before you ask, and we know you will, this does mean you will be able to pause the game."