I just read a preview of Need for Speed: Carbon and a few things caught my attention, for better and worse. The things I'm not intrigued by are controlling "turf" and "tricking out my ride" and all that petty superficial social nonsense. I buy racing games to race. I want to spend my time on the road, not in the garage or the real estate office.
The idea of new road hazards—battling in a canyon and on the edges of cliffs—has some potential. I just hope it amounts to something more than simply incorporating Burnout's popular crash modeling and physics.
But what really got me thinking was the idea of your "crew." There weren't many specifics on how these other drivers will materialize and behave in the game, but they do have their own cars and modifications, implying they may have a little pride in their rides, and will defend that pride.
This is where it gets interesting, and where the idea of genre blending could make the game a lot cooler. Two of my favorite genres are squad-based tactical shooters and racing. So why not put them together? Rip up the road in teams, barking CB strategies to coordinate bumping this guy out on a corner, or blocking the passing lane. Team strategy in a racing game? It's worth a shot.
Genre blending has come and gone before, between the invention of new technologies or specific genres that changed the way we play. Mixing Doom with chess gave us ideas like S.W.A.T. and Rainbow Six, and in the other direction moved turn-based strategy games like Panzer General into the realm of faster-paced real-time strategy games like Command and Conquer and WarCraft. Then the squad-based action idea was moved into the cockpit with Microprose's excellent Gunship on the PS1. The Grand Theft Auto series is probably the best-known example of mixing genres.