Everything you need to know about Need for Speed Unbound 

Thomas Harrison-Lord
At last, the Need for Speed racing game franchise returns this year for the first time since 2019. Here are the key Unbound details.
Everything you need to know about Need for Speed Unbound 

It’s here, the first all-new Need for Speed game in three years, Need for Speed Unbound will launch in 2022 featuring a slew of modifiable cars, night-time races, cop chases and A$AP Rocky. 

Let’s dive into every detail we know so far, following the reveal trailer and initial information blast. 

What is Need for Speed Unbound? 

Need for Speed Unbound is a new racing game, published by Electronic Arts, that sees you driving, tuning and modifying cars within an open-world environment. 

Who created Need for Speed Unbound? 

Need for Speed Unbound is created by Criterion Games, an EA studio based in Guildford, United Kingdom. This was thanks in part to an expanded team, with the former Codemasters Cheshire team, who created DIRT 5, now part of Criterion. 

The PS5 now supports variable refresh rate, includes DIRT 5 support
The DIRT 5 team joined Criterion to help create Need for Speed Unbound

What’s the main goal? 

The aim of Need for Speed Unbound is to complete races and driving challenges, plus avoid the police, to reach The Grand. 

The Grand is the game’s end goal, the ‘ultimate street racing challenge’ within the fictional Lakeshore location. 

Where is it set? 

Ah yes, Lakeshore is a new open-world city-based location, shrouded in darkness and skyscrapers. While it’s fictional, it reminds us of the gritty Chicago streets of Illinois, USA. It also happens that Chicago is located near the Great Kaes in the real-world.

Throughout the environment, you will earn Safehouses, and stand-out areas include a car factory, a mountain road (Kennedy Drive) and an L-Train.

Need for Speed Unbound Lakeside map

Can I modify and tune cars in Need for Speed Unbound? 

Yes, absolutely, this is a core component of a modern-day Need for Speed game. So far, we’ve seen a Nissan Silvia go from relatively stock, transforming into a wide-body street racer. 

Parts that look to be changeable include fender flares, side skirts, splitters, wheels, tyres, bumpers, wings and headlight tints. Stickers on windows are also possible, alongside the design of car wraps.

It’s not just car customisation…

Yes, clothing can be altered too. This is something EA implemented in the motorsport game F1 22 earlier this year, with official apparel unlockable and applicable to your character.

Driving Effects are also part of the mix, which reminds us of the Rocket Boost unlocks and design tweaks within Rocket League.

Oh yes, and win poses for your character are also unlockable. Another element like EA Sport’s F1 22 podium emotes…

Need for Speed Unbound car customisation

Can you win new cars? 

Yes. In a system reminiscent of a ‘pink slip’ process, at times if you beat rivals in events, you will win your vehicles. 

“If you dust me in this, I’ll let you have it,” explains hip hop star A$AP Rocky in the reveal trailer.

Translation, you win, you get the wheels. 

What cars are in Need for Speed Unbound? 

The full car list has been revealed; however, we have also gone through the initial trailer and screenshots to work out every vehicle showcased so far

The list includes present-day SUVs such as the Mercedes-Benz G 63, but also modern classics like the second-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse and BMW E30 M3. 

Need for Speed Unbound Nissan Silvia

What’s A$AP Rocky’s involvement? 

Aside from a rap career, the Harlem descendant is a big fan of automobiles. In fact, he owns a heavily modified Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 Evo from the later 1980s. This was a homologation special, design to compete in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters. 

This very car is in Need for Speed Unbound, and based on the game’s trailer, so is the hip hop star. A new track, Shittin Me by Asap also features. 

Cel shaded art style 

Some of the visuals, in particular, the characters and smoke effects portrayed aren’t true to life. Instead, in a move that reminds us of the 2002 racer Auto Modellista, they are cel shaded I.e., they look like a hand-drawn cartoon. 

EA calls this ‘graffiti coming to life’, and it’s certainly distinctive. Visual and audio cues in the game can be modified with a new ‘toolkit’ to express your personal driving style.

Need for Speed Unbound character cel shaded

Avoiding the heat

Like in prior Need for Speed games, as your progress, the higher your ‘heat’ level becomes – acting like some sort of notoriety meter.

Once the cops have spotted you, you have the choice of hiding, racing away or battling them to extension. This will work alongside a refreshing boosting system, dubbed Burst Nitrous. We’ll have to go hands-on to see how this affects gameplay.

Burst Nitrous Need for Speed Unbound

Online multiplayer

Network-connected gameplay in Need for Speed Unbound will consist of online events, online challenges and online meetups. This will be for between two and 16 players.

Need for Speed Unbound platforms 

Need for Speed Unbound will release for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC. It will not release for PlayStation 4 or Xbox One

Need for Speed Unbound release date 

Need for Speed Unbound will release on 2nd December 2022. There is three-day early access on the 29th November 2022 for digital pre-orders. 

Need for Speed Unbound Palace Edition

The Palace Edition includes the base game, called the ‘standard edition’, but includes the following items:

  • Four custom cars (details TBC, one is a Volkswagen Golf GTI)
  • New gassy Driving Effects
  • Mashman Decals and License Plate
  • Exclusive Character Pose and Banner
  • Artwork (details TBC)
  • Special Clothing Pack containing 20 unique items
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