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  • Writer's pictureH.J.

Is Need for Speed: Heat more than just a Racing Title?

Join H.J., host of The Level Infinite Show as he discusses the diverse characteristics of Need for Speed: Heat and the spotlight it shines on representation and social justice!

Need for Speed: Heat was released in 2019 and has been characterized by some as being one of the top-tier games in the Need for Speed franchise. It boasts a huge map size and amazing graphical quality. With all that being said, playing the game caused me to look not just inside the game, but in the world around me as well.

The cops…well they’re aggressive to say the least, in fact, that aggressiveness might be what Need for Speed was trying to convey. I’ve played the game and I noticed a common theme throughout the gameplay, that the character protagonists were all very diverse and that their representation ranged from LGBTQ+ to minorities of all colors and backgrounds. What stands out to me most of all, is that this could be Need for Speed and EA’s way of portraying the conflict between some minorities and the police and drawing attention to the issue of over-policing and prejudice against people of color.

I like to think Lt. Danny Shaw of the Palm City Bay police department in Need for Speed: Heat is kind of the good guy here, however, well…he’s not. His overactive state and quickness to react when it’s unnecessary draw attention to the issue of those who use overly excessive force in policing. For example, when he chased down and caught one of Anna’s partners in the opening race, he brutally kicked him and threatened to kill him by drowning him in the water with his car. That is until one of the good officers, an African American detective steps in and threatens to expose Mercer and Shaw if they didn’t let him go to “send a message”.

Another thing I will point out is I love this game because it draws attention to social justice issues and policing, and I think it’s a great time for the industry to start getting involved to help minority communities. The aggressiveness of the police is not only to draw attention to social issues but to make the game fun as well. I have escaped multiple heat level 5 pursuits in this game, and let me tell you, it is amazing. I love how the story concludes with some decent end-game content, but I wish they could have added more. In addition to this one last thing, I will point out, is that we heard Anna referenced as being gay, but we never got to see an ending on what that would look like. I’m excited to see what the next few games have to offer, and I recommend playing this game.

If you are interested in reaching out to me for comments or questions or if you would like to join the discussion, follow or contact me on:

Twitter: @GSquad_Podcast


About the author:

H.J. is the host of The Level Infinite show. He started his show at the age of 18 in January 2021 and has experience in podcasting as a hobby. He also enjoys playing games as a hobby and is a student at Pitt Community College studying for his degree in Information Technology. Now at the age of 20, he aims to improve the world through his podcast and insight into the topics that matter most.

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