Electronic Arts’ Need for Speed Unbound is out in December and recently received its first official trailer. Though its art style is going for a more animated approach (as seen with the cel-shaded characters), the racing appears as intense as in any previous game. But how does multiplayer work? Speaking to IGN, creative director Kieran Crimmins noted that it’s “as low friction as possible.”
When selecting multiplayer, you can travel throughout the city and meet up with friends. You’ll also find players “pinging off race requests and playlist requests, and you can seamlessly join any one of those events at any time.” A Banner system is also included to show off achievements and photos.
Along with fully customizing one’s character, car customization provides many different body kits and wraps. You can expect vehicles to have their tiers a la Forza Horizon, but there will be “loads of really high-end prestige brands” and “thousands of thousands” of tuning combinations. The total number of cars is unknown, but Crimmins said there would be a “lot.”
The animated art style may make one think this is an arcade racer. However, Unbound offers the “deepest driving system and the best handling” that the developer has implemented yet. The physics system is also new, “super sophisticated” and “comparable to other big driving sims.” Of course, various assist options will be available, but each vehicle will feel different.
As Criterion GM Matt Webster notes, “I think players are going to feel the difference and be able to – across a broad range of vehicle types – feeling the difference between a nimble, small European car or a big American muscle car or a hypercar…And then when they get into more specifics of adjusting how that car handles by modifying it to suit their preferences. That shows you the level of breadth and depth that we’re able to uncover with that tech.
As noticed by many, A$AP Rocky isn’t just providing a new track for the game but also makes an appearance. He’s the leader for the Takeover Scene mode, which sees players working together to control Lakeshore. Crimmins says that Rocky’s brand fits well with the general vibe of Unbound.
“I mean A$AP’s kind of a trendsetter in both fashion and music, and he’s also a bit of a rebel, and that is kind of part of the Need for Speed vibe,” Crimmins says. “So it made sense to put him in the game and have a game mode that represented what he was about and also give a cool event for players to play as well.”
With Unbound out in less than two months, you’d think there would be a closed beta or demo. Interestingly, despite insider Tom Henderson reporting closed playtests starting next week, EA and Criterion aren’t planning for either. No details on monetization (like a battle pass) yet, but there will be free post-launch content updates. These will add “new features, experiences, content drops, and more.” More details will be revealed “soon,” so stay tuned.
Need for Speed Unbound is out on December 2nd for Xbox Series X/S, PS5, and PC. It’s confirmed to deliver 4K/60 FPS visuals along with a new campaign structure.