NFS is one of my all time favorite arcade/sim ultra lite franchises.
To me, Pro Street was an abomination fueled by liberal donations from advertisers and Import Tuner.
Someone previously mentioned Motor City Online's parts availability and more in-depth ability to configure the performance of your car. This would be an excellent idea to move forward in to the next iteration.
I say set it in the Most Wanted universe but give it a twist. Make it about one guy trying to avoid the cops on a cross continent tour. This will bring back the old school feel of more open and variegated areas while still keeping the ability to do a bit of street racing for cash to buy a new sled or upgrade the one you've got.
More importantly, BALANCE YOUR GOD DAMNED CAR LIST! Carbon and Pro Street were the absolute worst at this. Your mom's Civic isn't going to be able to out run an Enzo through the Rockies. Stop jerking off to rice boy fantasies and give some respect to US and European automakers who have made some damn fine cars. Even the demographic that used to be in to rice has grown up and are buying new Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers, Vettes, BMWs, Merceds-Benz and Porsches. Especially since they stopped flipping burgers at McDonald's, got real jobs and can now afford real cars.
Is EA stupid enough to believe that only 14-17 year old males buy the NFS franchise? Pro Street turned me off because I couldn't give a shit less about DJ Underground in Mom's Basement calling out how awesome the piece of shit I brought to the track was. Dude's a fuckin' DJ for Christ's sake, what the Hell is he going to know about what's under my hood or any other hood there?
I'm running in "pro" events...without a pit crew? Hell. I don't even have someone to do profile adjustments based on performance analysis from my most recent runs? This is "Pro Street"? Maybe we need to define that for EA.
Then, of course, there's NFS: Carbon; the West Side Story of automobiles. I kept looking for Natalie Wood's corpse to come crawling out of that same alley they showed in damn near EVERY cutscene to groan "Quit beating a dead horse". Also, what's with the smirking punk in the Audi? You think some young early twenty something or other is going to have the scratch to not only buy a prototype car but support an entire racing team? Hey EA, have your devs spend more time out in sanctioned race events and less time watching Initial D, ok?
NFS: MW was a great, logical step up from NFS: High Stakes and then it was all pissed away.
"Just take a look around you, what do you see? Pain, suffering, and misery." -Black Sabbath, Killing Yourself to Live.
“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” -Jean-Jacques Rousseau