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Tuesday, December 16 12:01 EST

EA Releases Need for Speed: Backseat Driver

By Nikolaj Borg

Redwood City, CA - Following the success of Need for Speed: Underground (NFS:U), EA Games has released NFS: Backseat Driver (NFS:BSD).

Need for Speed: Backseat DriverEA aims to broaden its demographic from young males to older females. "Adult gaming is on the rise, and with this game, we hope to tap into the gold vein of suburban homemakers," explained Simon Bollinger.

Unlike ordinary driving games where the player controls the car with a game pad or steering wheel, BSD-players use voice command to control the car. With Logitech, EA has developed a new controller for the game: a headrest with force-feedback and a built-in microphone.

Sandy Wilson of Schaumburg loved the new controller, “It’s comfortable and I love the color scheme they’ve chosen. Look at this adorable... HEY, WATCH OUT FOR THAT BIKE! Where was I?"

Players guide drivers through different maps, like picturesque suburbs, hectic downtown traffic and finding a parking spot at the mall. To complete missions, players must not only warn the driver about imminent dangers, but also spot openings in traffic. Players can earn Bonus points by making remarks about other drivers and gossiping about pedestrians. A wide range of different drivers, including the busy husband, a foreign cabdriver and teenage children are included in the game.

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EA developers are completing the multiplayer version of the game, where up to four players share a ride and fight for the attention of the driver. Other game types include standard races to be first at the sale at the mall.

EA plans to release expansion packs for the game to bring focus back to their original young male demographic. The first will allow players to act as psychopathic murderers taking the drivers hostage. Another will be a fraternity edition in which the passenger must keep the drunken driver awake and check out young women while getting drunker and drunker throughout the game.

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