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The Pre-Release period for Need for Speed: Heat included multiple hints during earning reports and rumours prior to its official announcement on August 14, 2019, as well as leading to its release on November 8, 2019.

Trailer Leak (Aug 14, 2019)

NFSHE TrailerLeak Image2
Prior to the premiere of the reveal trailer for Need for Speed: Heat, users were able to grab three images, that were thumbnails generated by YouTube, and revealed the Polestar 1 and the name.[1]

The images were regenerated multiple times prior to the reveal trailer's release, alongside the resolution of the reveal trailer increasing as it was converted by YouTube.

Countdown Timer (Aug 11, 2019)

On August 11, 2019, a countdown timer appeared on the official Need for Speed website, and multiple social media account for the series hid or delisted promotional content from previously released games.

The official website showed only the 'NFS' logo and a timer counting down to 2pm (BST) / 6am (PDT) / 1pm (UTC) on August 14, 2019.[2]

EA Live Show 2019

A rumour with regards to Electronic Arts' presence at the 2019 Gamescom trade fair gained traction following a post on fifplay.com.[3] The post outlined a schedule of international times for a live show hosted by Electronic Arts and is speculated in the article to have a strong FIFA 20 presence.[4]

The show takes place on August 20th, during the first day of the trade show in Cologne, which is not open to the public until the following day. The show will take place eleven days ahead of the 25th anniversary of Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed, which was released for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer on August 31, 1994.

On July 20, 2019, it was hinted at, as part of a published document concerning EA's first quarter fiscal of 2020, that Need for Speed would be shown at Gamescom 2019.[5]

Need for Speed: Heat (July 30, 2019)

On July 30, 2019, a listing for a Need for Speed game releasing in 2019 appeared as part of Gameware's store listing. The listing titled the game as "Need for Speed Heat", had an ambiguous 2019 release, featured placeholder artwork from Need for Speed: No Limits, and was available for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

The listing was removed a few days after first appearing on the Austrian website.[6]

Under The Hood: Turning Up The Heat (May 29, 2019)

An Under The Hood article titled "Turning Up The Heat" was published by Ben Walke to the official EA Answers forum for Need for Speed on May 29, 2019.[7]

The article outlines that another entry in the Need for Speed series will be released in 2019, but that the game will also not be shown at Electronic Arts' own EA Play 2019 event, in which they showcase their upcoming games and additional content releases for the future.

You can also probably guess where this is going, but for those who haven’t– a new Need for Speed game will be releasing later in 2019!
— Ben Walke, Global Community Engagement Manager
Are you going to hear more about the next NFS title? Yes. Is it being released this year? Yes. Will we be doing anything in June? No. It’s as simple as that, but we wanted to give you a heads up before you started asking “where are you?” Our goal is to deliver a truly memorable high-speed entry into the 25 years of NFS, rather than a series of promotional events. The game matters most – a sentiment we bet you share with us.
— Ben Walke, Global Community Engagement Manager

Also stated, is that the 2019 entry in the series will feature cars and customisation as the "beating heart" of the games, going as far as to outline them as pivotal elements and part of the foundation making up the series. Being two important elements, the article also highlights that other aspects of the series add to "help create that unique NFS feeling" and will be an aspect Ghost is "injecting straight into our next project."

Cars naturally top the list. You could say that the cars and customization of NFS are the beating heart of what we do. Without either of these, NFS fails to exist as we know it. These two elements play a pivotal role in the series and are two aspects that we consider to be foundational, meaning they aren’t going anywhere because NFS wouldn’t exist without them.

But NFS is also the culmination of many different aspects, and there’s a special essence that appears when all these aspects come together at a very high quality, an essence that helps create that unique NFS feeling. You could say this essence is our DNA, and it’s exactly what we’re injecting straight into our next project.
— Ben Walke, Global Community Engagement Manager

Suggested Reveal

Ending the article, it's pointed out that the game's reveal won't take place for some time later in the year, and that "the next time we talk, we’ll be packing our bags and heading south for the full unveiling," suggesting that Need for Speed (2019) will be shown at the 2019 Gamescom trade fair in Cologne, Germany, as it is south of Ghost Games' Gothenburg studio in Sweden.

Are you going to hear more about the next NFS title? Yes. Is it being released this year? Yes. Will we be doing anything in June? No. It’s as simple as that, but we wanted to give you a heads up before you started asking “where are you?” Our goal is to deliver a truly memorable high-speed entry into the 25 years of NFS, rather than a series of promotional events. The game matters most – a sentiment we bet you share with us.

With that, know that we’re here, we’re building an amazing game that we can’t wait to show off, and the next time we talk, we’ll be packing our bags and heading south for the full unveiling. We’ll see you then.
— Ben Walke, Global Community Engagement Manager

Gamescom, held in Cologne, Germany, takes place from Wednesday, August 21, 2019 to Saturday, August 24, 2019, a week prior to the 25th anniversary for Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed on the Panasonic 3DO, which was released on August 31, 1994 in the United States.

EA Play 2019 (May 29, 2019)

Event

The 2019 EA Play event was reduced to a single weekend of streaming and fan fest content on Saturday, June 8, 2019 and Sunday, June 9, 2019. Attendees could purchase tickets to the event and experience the games being presented at the show for themselves.[8]

The schedule of live streamed content for those not attending the event was revealed on May 29, 2019, and did not include a Need for Speed game. It did include Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Apex Legends, Battlefield V, EA Sports FIFA, Madden NFL, and The Sims 4.

Announcement (Mar 7, 2019)

The 2019 EA Play event was announced on March 7, 2019, and will be held from June 7, 2019 to June 9, 2019 at the Hollywood Palladium on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.

The three day event will forgo a press conference seen at the previous events in favour of multiple live streams of upcoming games and the teams developing them.

Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8 will feature live streams from developers showcasing new games, with a fan festival being held all weekend on Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10 for players to experience multiple games during the EA Play event.

Various games will also be showcased live from the EA Play event by selected content creators at the Creator's Cave in the Hollywood Palladium.

No schedule, list of featured games, or appearances were included with the initial announcement, with the exception that tickets for the event would be made available for purchase in April.

Financial Results

Q1 FY20 (Jul 30, 2019)

On July 30, 2019, Electronic Arts released a report of their first fiscal quarter of 2020, which ended the same day. The report outlined an upward trend in EA's stock price, a total revenue of more than $1.2 billion ($1,200,000,000), and net bookings representing 76% of their business.

It was noted in a document of prepared remarks, that Need for Speed would make an appearance at Gamescom 2019.

We’ll take the wraps off our new Need for Speed game heading into Gamescom in a few weeks.
— Andrew Wilson, CEO & Director[9]

Q4 FY19 (May 7, 2019)

On May 7, 2019, Electronic Arts released a report of their fourth fiscal quarter of 2019, which ended on March 31, 2019. The report highlighted the publisher being "overjoyed" with the performance of Apex Legends and negotiations to bring the game to China, as well as mobile devices.

We are in advanced negotiations to bring Apex Legends to China and to mobile, and we will update you on time frames when those negotiations are concluded. We're self-publishing Apex Legends in Korea.
— Blake J. Jorgensen, COO & CFO[10]

It was later outlined in the report that the 2019 release of Need for Speed will involve street racing, police, and the conflict between the two as has been a major element of the franchise.

It was also stated in the same report that Electronic Arts projects the 2019 release to sell around 4 million units, which was noted to be inline with previous releases in the series; Need for Speed: Payback, Need for Speed (2015), and Need for Speed: Rivals.

Need for Speed returns to consoles and PC this year, revitalizing the street race versus cops fantasy at the core of the franchise.
— Andrew Wilson, CEO & Director
The new Need for Speed title, we expect to sell around 4 million units, in line with the past performance of the franchise.
— Blake J. Jorgensen, COO & CFO

Q3 FY19 (Feb 5, 2019)

On February 5, 2019, Electronic Arts released a report of their third fiscal quarter of 2019, which ended on December 31, 2018. The report highlighted a disappointing quarter, but also a focus on research and development, as well as improvements to release executions for their games and a commitment to "games as a service".

Q3 was a difficult quarter for Electronic Arts and we did not perform to our expectations. We are now applying the strengths of our company to sharpen our execution and focus on delivering great new games and long-term live services for our players.
— Andrew Wilson, CEO[11]
Elsewhere in the business, we’re making adjustments to improve execution and we’re refocusing R&D.
— Blake Jorgensen, COO and CFO

The report later outlined franchises currently in development and a planned release window of Fall 2019 for various games including a new Need for Speed game.

Looking forward, we’re delighted to launch Anthem, our new IP, to grow Apex Legends and related Titanfall experiences, to deliver new Plants vs. Zombies and Need for Speed titles, and to add Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to our sports titles in the fall
— Blake Jorgensen, COO and CFO

References

  1. Article: techspot.com (2019) EA's next installment in the NFS series is called Need for Speed Heat - Leaked images surface ahead of the official reveal. Available at: https://www.techspot.com/news/81437-ea-next-installment-nfs-series-called-need-speed.html
  2. Article: pushsquare.com (2019) Countdown Clock Suggests Need for Speed Reveal Coming Later This Week - It's go time. Available at: http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2019/08/countdown_clock_suggests_need_for_speed_reveal_coming_later_this_week
  3. Article: fifplay.com (2019) FIFA 20 at gamescom 2019. Available at: https://www.fifplay.com/fifa-20-at-gamescom-2019/
  4. Article: pushsquare.com (2019) Rumour: EA Is Hosting a Press Conference at Gamescom 2019 - Need for Speed reveal, surely? Available at: http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2019/07/rumour_ea_is_hosting_a_press_conference_at_gamescom_2019
  5. Article: eurogamer.net (2019) EA will bring this year's unannounced Need for Speed to Gamescom. Available at: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019-07-31-ea-will-bring-this-years-need-for-speed-to-gamescom
  6. Article: uk.ign.com (2019) Need For Speed Heat Leaked By Austrian Retailer. Available at: https://uk.ign.com/articles/2019/07/30/need-for-speed-heat-leaked-by-austrian-retailer
  7. Article: answers.ea.com (2019) Under the Hood: Turning up the Heat. Available at: https://answers.ea.com/t5/Game-Information/Under-the-Hood-Turning-up-the-Heat/m-p/7901965
  8. Article: www.ea.com (2019) About EA Play 2019. Available at: https://www.ea.com/eaplay2019
  9. Article: Ir.ea.com (2019) Prepared Remarks - Q1 Fiscal 2020. Available at: https://s22.q4cdn.com/894350492/files/doc_financials/2020/q1/Q1-FY20-Prepared-Remarks.pdf
  10. Article: Ir.ea.com (2019) Electronic Arts Reports Q4 FY19 Financial Results. Available at: https://s22.q4cdn.com/894350492/files/doc_financials/2020/q1/Q1-FY20-Prepared-Remarks.pdf
  11. Article: Ir.ea.com (2019) Electronic Arts Reports Q3 FY19 Financial Results. Available at: https://ir.ea.com/press-releases/press-release-details/2019/Electronic-Arts-Reports-Q3-FY19-Financial-Results/default.aspx
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