Developer Criterion is making a new Need for Speed – that’s great news! It’s also great news because the game’s open-world approach means it’s basically Burnout Paradise 2; but a rose by any other name, right? Need for Speed: Most Wanted sounds as if it will basically blend together 2010’s Hot Pursuit with 2008’s Burnout Paradise, which is an instant win in our books because both of those titles were fantastic.
More information on the upcoming racer has begun trickling out, this time highlighting the new way Criterion is handling car unlocks. In the past, you’d have to complete race events or beat specific opponents to unlock cars in the Need for Speed games. Anyone who has played a racing game will be familiar with the mechanic. In Most Wanted, however, unlocks will make use of the game’s inherent open-world situation.
Basically, as you’re tearing around the streets of fictional Fairhaven City, you’ll need to keep a look out for new cars. Once you spot a car that you’ve yet to unlock, you can hit a button and begin using it straight away. Alternatively you can tag its location on your map and then come back and fetch it later. It’s a novel approach to expanding your list of vehicles, and it promotes players exploring the expansive setting.
In total, there are 40 cars to collect in this manner. The more you use each of the cars, the more upgrades you’ll be able to unlock. What’s more, each of the cars will have specific race events tied to it, kind of like the manufacturer events found in the recent Forza 4.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted will include a full suite of online features, with the excellent Autolog once again lying at the heart of the multiplayer experience. Clever social features are being implemented, such as Fairhaven’s speed cameras snapping pictures of you as you whizz past them; your speed will then be sent to that specific camera in your friends’ games.
Furthermore, dotted around Fairhaven will be various billboards for you to ramp your car through (as in Burnout Paradise). The further your jump as you smash through the billboard, the higher your online boasting rights. If you hold the record on your friends list for that specific billboard, then your face will appear on the billboard in your friends’ games.
Gamescom 2012 kicks off in Cologne next week; we’re hoping to see more of Need for Speed: Most Wanted while we’re there. Keep an eye on the website!