Need For Speed Payback’s Nissan Skyline 2000 GTR should have rolled out in December’s update as part of the new Abandoned Cars feature, but was delayed due to a bug. This wasn’t met with much understanding, and the developers have addressed the community’s ire, calling out inappropriate behavior, and responding to claims that the game is dead by assuring fans that “the active player base is healthy.”
Global Manager of Community Engagement, Ben “F8RGE” Walke took to Reddit to address multiple topics. The first of the Reddit posts is a hefty one, and while it recognises players’ passion, it goes on to say that “there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed, and some of the abuse that I’ve seen hurled around over the last 24hours or so is shocking.”
Walke wrote at length about the treatment of Ghost Games by the community at large, saying he believes that “the wider gaming community does have a problem with how people react and communicate at times. Don’t get me wrong, the gaming community is also one full of joy, fun, kindness and friendship. It can be amazing, but at the same time, everyone has their part to do to ensure that…well..people behave like civilized human beings.”
“There’s also been loads of misconceptions being thrown around,” he added, the first of those being that the game is dead.
“First up, the game is not ‘dead’. There are plenty of people playing the game. ‘But tell us the sales figures’ you claim. Let’s be honest, games are a business, just like any other form of entertainment. We have financial rules in place due to us being a publicly trading company. If sales numbers are to be announced, they’ll be announced in the correct, and professional way. Either way, the active player base is healthy.”
He continued by explaining that announcements are made when the team is able to talk freely on those topics, and while dates are subject to change, players are not being ignored.
However, Walke does admit that communication “is an area that I feel we will always be looking to improve…It is however important to note that communication does flow both ways. If we pop our heads up from within the trenches and you see nothing but gunfire, you’re going to quickly duck back down. That’s probably a bit of an extreme analogy but you should get my point.”
Touching on the subject of the delayed Nissan Skyline, he said, “To clarify, I said it in another post, but yes, we should have communicated around the Skyline earlier to ease expectations. Would it have solved the problem? Most likely not, I still feel we would have got the same level of abuse, shouting and rage. Moving forward we’ll be doing our best to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
“We’re also looking at ways we can communicate and interact with our community. I don’t have anything else to share on that yet, but it is something that’s being worked on.”
Walke conceded that the Ghost team recognises the community isn’t happy and are working towards a resolution, but for now, he has asked that the community behave respectfully when giving feedback.
“Yes, the Skyline got moved. Yes, it’ll arrive when the next update arrives. The next update is due soon,” he wrote. Despite trying to open a reasonable and measured discourse, some community members felt justified in their behaviour.
“How to avoid to get insulted, rule #1: don’t betray poeple [sic] by promoting things which aren’t included in the product on release date when people buy the full price,” read one reply.
Walke waded back in a few hours later to say that “we don’t want hugs and this post was not made to garner sympathy. I just wanted to raise awareness about some of the topics that I covered. I do think abuse and the manner in which people give feedback is something that can be worked on. But then, this isn’t just relevant to NFS, it’s a gaming wide issue.”
Following the Battlefront 2 backlash, Need For Speed Payback’s progression system was altered and a number of changes have already been implemented thanks to constructive player feedback.
He stressed that they don’t want “100% fall-in-line, only positive feedback…But it’s how that feedback is given that is critical. After all, we can’t read minds and even ‘this sucks’ doesn’t leave us with much to work with.”