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While we all sit around waiting for EA to deliver the Need For Speed: Underground remaster that may never come, trust modders to take the initiative. An incredible new mod has given the 17-year-old game a massive visual upgrade in a number of departments, and the results are absolutely stunning.
Need For Speed: Underground Redux first surfaced in 2017, courtesy of modder AMTxDRxRL. That initial mod was reportedly in development for around six months, and introduced a number of notable visual improvements, including enhanced textures and improved lighting effects. Now, the mod is back in action once again, and has been improved even further thanks to ray tracing techniques.
Another modder who goes by Stre1itzia opted to build on AMTxDRxRL's impressive and dedicated work. Porting the original Redux mod to the latest version of Reshade, they added new ray traced shaders that made for a properly impressive improvement. They shared their results in a video, which you can see for yourself below.
Of course, while the results you can see above are certainly shiny and oh-so beautiful, the game's overall performance has taken a predictably substantial hit as a result. The game's performance is roughly three-times lower than running it would be with the standard version of Redux, though there's every chance this could optimised further down the line.
Until such time as EA realises all we really want in life is a double pack remaster of Need For Speed: Underground and its sequel, this mod will more than do. Thanks to AMTxDRxRL for creating such an incredible mod in the first place, and to Stre1itzia for building on it with such style.
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As for the official future of the Need For Speed franchise? EA recently shifted development of the series back to Burnout studio Criterion Games. The UK-based studio had previously played a support role on Need For Speed, with Ghost Games taking lead on the last couple of titles. Criterion is now taking charge, while Ghost Games scales down.
"Ghost Games have helped to bring some great Need for Speed experiences to our players," EA's said in a statement at the time. "Consistently delivering that at AAA levels means we need teams with diverse skills in locations where we can continually support them and bring in new team members to join."
"Despite our best efforts to establish an independent development group in Gothenburg over several years, it's become clear that the breadth of talent we need to maintain a full AAA studio is just not available to us there. Criterion can also provide the consistent leadership that we need to continue creating and delivering new Need for Speed experiences for a long time to come."
Need For Speed hasn't exactly been the most popular franchise out there in recent years. Clearly EA is hoping a change in leadership will help restore the series to former glories. I'd argue that a good place to start with that is by releasing an Underground remaster and reminding everyone exactly what Need For Speed used to be.
Featured Image Credit: EA
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