Need for Speed: Heat (opens in new tab) is apparently avoiding one of its predecessor's mistakes and, thankfully, will be free of loot boxes, the scourge of progression systems.
Like Star Wars: Battlefront 2, Need for Speed: Payback put its loot box system front and centre, essentially making you use it to upgrade your cars. After the backlash against Battlefront 2, changes were made so more rep and cash were doled out by races, making loot boxes less essential. They weren't removed, though.
Heat won't have any loot boxes, according to EA community manager Ben Walke. He confirmed their absence on Reddit (opens in new tab). "There are no lootboxes in NFS Heat and there won't be," he told a sceptical Reddit user.
Walke also touched on Heat's post-launch plans, which include DLC car packs and a time-saving pack that will be released this year and will reveal all the collectables on the map. That, however, is all EA is currently planning.
These time-saving packs always seem pretty cheeky, though, like an acknowledgement that, yes, this all a bit grindy and boring and maybe if you throw them a few bucks you'll be allowed to skip it. I'm ashamed to admit I spent money on a map so I could find resources that I could then spend on loot boxes in Assassin's Creed Odyssey. No amount of showering will make me feel clean again.
This probably isn't quite the beginning of the end for loot boxes, but their grip on games seems to be getting looser. While publishers like EA and organisations like the ESA argue that loot boxes aren't gambling, some concessions have at least been made. From next year, for instance, Microsoft, EA and Ubisoft will start sharing loot box odds (opens in new tab) across all of their games. Others, like THQ Nordic, have no plans to use them at all.
Cheers, VG24/7 (opens in new tab).