EA has officially revealed Need for Speed Unbound, the next underground street racer in the long-running series, which will be coming to PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC on 2nd December 2022.
The first thing that stands out about the game is the visual style. There’s certainly a push for photorealism in many aspects, but it’s overlaid with grungy graffiti artwork at times and characters have a cartoon-like cel shaded appearance – this was described as being “anime” by insider reports earlier this year.
Alongside the art, the soundtrack will also stand out, featuring hip-hop star A$AP Rocky, who will be a character in the game, and with the soundtrack provided by people signed up to his creative agency, AWGE.
The game will take you to Lakeshore, a fictionalised version of Chicago, with the expected blend of street racing, cop chases, and car buying, upgrading and tuning. The aim is to work your way through weekly qualifiers to reach The Grand, the ultimate street racing challenge in Lakeshore.
Need for Speed Unbound has been in development since 2019 at the revitalised Criterion Games – this studio’s made a real return as Need for Speed Heat’s lukewarm reception led EA to downsize their Sweden-based Ghost Games studio and fold the UK-based side of the team back into Criterion Games.
Back in 2020, EA then teased the new generation of tech that would power Need for Speed and a few other titles in development, but Criterion was then shifted over to assist in the final year of development for Battlefield 2042, putting their Need for Speed project on hold.
Then, earlier this year, it was announced that Codemasters Cheshire is now be a part of Criterion Games, the studio which can trace its lineage back through the EA Codemasters acquisition in 2021 to its original form as Evolution Studios at Sony, where they made MotorStorm and Driveclub.