Total Video Games have posted an interview about Need for Speed: Shift
TVG: Mass-market driving games are traditionally nitros-boosted arcade racers like Burnout or obsessive car-collectives like Gran Turismo and Forza; Need for Speed: Shift has a different feel to it given the previous games in the series, so what elements do you feel make it stand out the most?You can read the full interview here.
For us it's very much the core of what we call the 'driver experience'. It's very much the focus of making the game really feel as though you're in the cockpit of a racing car with g-forces affecting the camera or the hud depending on what view you're in. Lots of little things like at high speeds the cockpit will blur out, the depth-of-field changes so you can focus more on the track ahead of you, the camera shakes at high speed, little changes in the animations of the way the driver holds the steering wheel. Lots of small little details that go towards make up this real driver experience.
Oh and crashes as well, can't forget crashes. We want to make crashes a scary experience for the player, something that you don't want to encounter rather than just 'yeah I'll just bounce off the wall, I'll just rip of a wing mirror and it doesn't really matter'. There's lots of visual effects going on there to try and disorientate the player, not to affect the way they play the game, but just to cause this fear of crashing like you would have in real life.