Oh. Well in that case, I do apologise for not picking up on that one. ..so we're back to the argument that all that sets NFS apart from basically every other open world car game being the "outlaw aspect"? In which case, the question then becomes for how much longer that'll be exclusive to NFS and thus can continue to be a main selling point of the franchise as a whole. I'm not holding out a lot of hope in it, but Kylotonn is supposedly bringing out a new Test Drive Unlimited game some time soon-ish. The TL;DR version of those games is that it's basically Horizon, but with cops. Add the way Kylotonn generally handles "sequels", continue this thought on your own, and then ask yourself where that'd leave NFS. Define "sandbox-ish". Because depending on how you do that, I have a feeling I can make a pretty convincing argument that Payback is too, in which case that doesn't really work as an argument. 1: In exactly which ways would you say Payback offers "a greater opportunity to create a unique ride suited to their personality"? 2: Yes, but 2015 was limited in basically every imaginable way. Remember how all but the most cliché tuner cars had all but about three bumpers + copy-paste wings available? I feel like this is a highly subjective critique, as well as it is a matter of the direction each game is taking with regards to customisation. But even then, surprise third combatant, The Crew 2, has just about as much customisation on a car-by-car basis as Payback - if not more, in some instances. Aside from the green goo under your car. And yes, that's a reference to something. Because you yourself bring it up, which character, in the Ghost games (and we're not counting the cheap Black-Box-returnees!) is your favorite character, and why? What do they do that makes them more than just a two-dimensional cardboard cutout? What character development do they go through to make them more of a character at the end than they were at the beginning? What relationship do they have to the protagonist? How often do they appear in the game? How many story-telling clichés do they fulfill? What, if anything, makes them a truly memorable character? Now, listen: I'm not directly against this. In some ways, I would agree that finding a balance and sticking to it could work wonders. I'm just saying there are *a lot* of things they need to pick up on in order for that to be somewhat successful. Ghost Games have seemingly discovered this as well, given that they've seemingly decided the best course of action is to reboot their own reboot. I feel like that says a whole lot more than any of us ever can. ..you know how AAA publishers are the poorest people in the world and we're supposed to feel sympathy for them, right? *One* piece of the pie just won't pay the electric bills. Now, they've recently discovered that the more they sell, the more money they make. The more money they make, the more blow and hookers they can have for the next shareholder meeting. Why do you think Payback went so all-in (pun intended) on predatory gambling mechanics that they actually included a slot machine? TDU2s Casino is proud of just how blatantly obvious that one was. Part of the problem in NFS' case stems from Ghost simply not being able to release at an annual rate. That may sound like a sin on Ghost, but it isn't. Annual release schedules for a game the size of NFS is what ended up nearly killing Black Box, before Unicronic Arts decided to show mercy on them and put them out of their misery. It's called "crunch". Look it up. Either way, this is where the genius of two development teams alternating releases comes in: it'll not only minimise the crunch, but it'll - as I said earlier - also allow them to cater for both fanbases, in the way both "special snowflakes" want it to, *and* it'll allow EA to take *two* slices of the pie. As I demonstrated in an earlier post, there clearly is a market for both styles. The problem with doing a middle-grounds-hybrid kind of thing is that there's just so many other games a lot like it - but better in many significant ways.