Need for Speed Unbound promises to blend highly-realistic cars with 'the freshest street art'

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A day after a screenshot leak (opens in new tab) spoiled the surprise, Electronic Arts has officially unveiled Need for Speed Unbound, a new addition to the long-running racing series coming in December that promises to blend "elements of the freshest street art with the most realistic looking cars in Need for Speed history."

I was a little iffy on Need for Speed Unbound's look when I first saw the leaked screens, but the trailer has me a lot closer to buying in. Keeping the cars as realistic as possible (at least visually) while surrounding them with highly-stylized characters and decidedly-unrealistic visuals is definitely an interesting approach to the genre: At the very least, it's a distinct break from the all-out hyper-realism that racing sims typically pursue.  

The campaign, unfortunately, sounds a little less than innovative: "A robbery at a family auto-shop tears two friends apart and marks the rise from rookie to top racer on a journey to win the ultimate street race and reclaim the priceless car that was stolen." I mean, that's basically just a plot from one of the early Fast and Furious movies, right?

Multiplayer will also be a big part of Unbound, as players "connect with the online street racing community in underground meetups" and tear-ass through the city of Lakeshore in an online freeroam mode. Naturally, there will be cops.

A$AP Rocky, who will feature prominently in the Need for Speed Unbound soundtrack—that's his new track in the trailer, called Shittin Me—will also be in the game as part of a brand-new event in which you'll have to "prove your skills... in style." Speaking of which, there will of course be all sorts of customization options up for grabs, for both your car and your driver, although there's no indication of how they'll be earned or what sort of monetization scheme (if any) Unbound will employ.

Need for Speed Unbound is set to launch on December 2 and will be available for PC on Steam (opens in new tab), Epic (opens in new tab), and Origin (opens in new tab). For a closer look at what's in store, including some Lakeshore points of interest and a full list of in-game cars, head over to ea.com (opens in new tab).

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.