Territory brings cool confidence to the urban racing franchise. With plans to reboot this seminal franchise, Ghost Games came to us wanting a fresh pair of eyes to collaborate on the design of the 2015 relaunch of the game.
With player feedback in mind, the art department felt it was time to build on the success of the Underground series, which really celebrated the culture and attitude of street racing. The new game was to feature a fresh edgy urban aesthetic and enhanced features that make the most of the game’s extravagant customisation, stable of muscle cars, performance tuning, cop chases and night racing.
With a multitask brief that included user experience, interface design of menu and HUD systems, and the use of design and animation, we began our work with some serious gameplay.
Informed by player research and in partnership with the art team, we looked at user journeys in the functionality of the menu systems; how they moved, breathed and how they felt to the user. In reviewing the whole process in terms of how functionality marries with design and animation, we suggested design concepts for the visual language, the UI and UX that stayed true to the brand and the gamers. The team also improved the information architecture and ensured smooth flow of information and a more contemporary approach to menu design.
The final design adds unique graphic moments that enhance the rich and gritty urban feel with an image led front end that conveys the emotional values of the game and a HUD that clarifies and refines the information displays.
Our team instinctively loved the game's gutsy feel and gritty edge and our aim was to reflect that in design and user experience. With a driving game like Need For Speed, the biggest challenge is that the menu conventions includes standard information and behaviours, and as a designer it is essential to balance the desire to do something fresh and new with gameplay expectations. Respect for the gamer means that new information systems have to add practical and emotional value to a busy HUD environment otherwise it gets in the way of competitive gameplay.