Rumors were truthified at today's EA press conference: Criterion Games is "reimagining" 2005's Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The new game and its confusing lack of a number will be released in North America on October 30th and in Europe on November 1st. Hop inside to see the announcement trailer.
Unlike Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, which Criterion previously developed, Most Wanted is an open-world game with an urban setting. Extreme lawlessness and Burnout-style destruction porn are, as always, a big draw, but the strongest message EA and Criterion are sending is about connecting players. The Autolog tracking system is back as Autolog 2.0 (how come it gets a number?), and "social competition" is the goal.
“This is Most Wanted for a new generation of players," said Executive Producer Matt Webster in today's statement. "We've brought everything we know about racing, chasing and exploration and smashed them together in a highly connected open world automotive experience."
Your actions in the game world will accrue "Speed Points" that bump you up on the Most Wanted list, so we can finally quantify how much more desirable we are than our friends. Additionally, Criterion is taking a new approach to multiplayer: rather than queueing up in lobbies, you'll "seamlessly enter an online world," choose your car, and take part in events. We're not sure exactly how the event "PlayList" will work, but it's apparently "online driving as we've never seen it."
So, Need for Speed is returning to its roots -- or, at least, to the ninth game in its massive tree of sequels and spin-offs, which is probably somewhere near the roots. My hopes are high. Hot Pursuit was a good time, and I'm all for the promise of an open world crash-fest which indulges my competitive nature.
Have a look at the just-updated official site for bullet-points and pictures of cars going fast.