In an interview with CVG, EA senior VP Patrick Soderlund stated that the upcoming sequel Need for Speed: Shift 2 is not only a direct competitor to racing sim big boy Gran Turismo 5, but also offers more in terms of gameplay and experience.
“…if you compare Shift and Gran Turismo, I actually do see Shift as a direct competitor to Gran Turismo for sure,” Soderlund stated. “I think they have a very sterile, almost car collecting type of product where that’s mainly what we do and I think we can offer something different.”
He went on to add, “Our idea is that if we can offer the most authentic driving experience and portray what it feels like being inside a race car, then I think that’s where we can excel and where we absolutely will beat them. That I know for sure.”
I don’t quite know how popular the Need for Speed: Shift series is, but I don’t think it’s irrational to say that Gran Turismo has a helluva lot more brand recognition. Considering that even excellent racing games can drown in mediocre sales due to terrible marketing and lack of exposure, I certainly hope Soderlund doesn’t have to eat crow. Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed will be available in Spring 2011.