Need For Speed. It’s the racing genre’s equivalent of The Simpsons: beloved upon its inception and unbeatable in its prime, only to lose the magic long ago, to the point where there have been far more middle years than good ones. Inconsistency huhs been the one constant, although the reverence for those early days will never go away. Criterion Games will try to recapture it with the upcoming installment — the 25th in the series’ almost 30-year run. It’ll be revealed this Thursday at 11 am ETand the official site has been updated with a teaser.
Officially we know very little about the next one NFS. Unofficially, though, we may know quite a bit. It’s been said to be named Need For Speed: Unbound — not to be confused with the oft-maligned Ridge Racer Unbounded. Last week, Tom Henderson reported via Insider Gaming that the upcoming title’s reveal was “imminent.”
Henderson also shared that an anonymous source tipped him to a December 2 release date, less than two months from now. The game purportedly features an art style that melds realistic-looking car models with comic book-inspired environments and characterssomething that leaked footage has corroborated.
Fans on Reddit are scrounging for any piece of information they can get. They’ve deduced that the modified Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 present in leaked key art looks a lot like one owned by rapper A$AP Rocky. They also caught publisher Electronic Arts changing the cover art for the last several NFS games to mimic Unbound’s slime green-and-gray aestheticwhich is a weird move.
The teases and leaks have accompanied a rebrand for the series, with a new logo that keeps it simple: NFS, in extra bold, extra wide block type. It doesn’t quite have the impact of the solid chrome, action movie-aping logos of the franchise’s early days, but it’s better than that weird “n” thing with the arrow, that never made much sense to me except on that one BMW Z4 GT3, where it looked awesome.
To say that this is the “last chance” for Need For Speed would be a bit melodramatic, considering this series has ebbed and flowed in quality for well over a decade, no matter which development studio was at the helm. I thoroughly enjoyed 2019’s NFS Heat — I actually had way more fun with it than the last two Forza Horizon entries — but that one seemed to slip under everyone’s radar. Unbound’s art style has proven controversial already, so something tells me this reboot will garner much more attention, good and bad.