‘Need for Speed Unbound’ Revives the Franchise with a Little Help from A$AP Rocky

The holiday season just got wilder, with EA and Criterion finally unveiling Need for Speed Unbound, the newest entry in the iconic street racing series. Set to release on PC and next-gen consoles this December, the latest instalment marks a welcome return for Need for Speed. The gaming franchise saw its popularity take a hit with releases such as NFS Heat and Payback as it struggled to capture audience interest. Now, after some three long years, EA is shaking up the formula and planning to make a comeback in a big way in 2022, and the latest reveal trailer for Need for Speed Unbound is living, breathing proof of this.

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A$AP Rocky in ‘Need for Speed Unbound’ | Image EA

The under-two-minute reveal trailer had everything to get fans hyped for the game and no, we aren’t just talking about A$AP Rocky, although the singer did eat up a decent amount of the trailer time. However, what turned most heads is the game’s art style, which is totally new and unique to Need for Speed Unbound. Visual style aside, the game gives off NFS Underground vibes and the trailer was packed with high stakes car chases with an emphasis on street culture. In NFS Unbound, there will be more than 15o realistic rides to choose from and according to EA, “the all-new signature art style blends elements of the freshest street art with the most realistic-looking cars in Need for Speed history.”

Players will take to the streets of a new open-world fictional city called Lakeshore which seems to draw inspiration from the real-life city of Chicago. The cel-shaded art style of the game makes it stand out from the existing crowd of racing games and looks refreshing. The visual style really blends with the whole street underground racing vibe of the game. Creative director Kieran Crimmins said that the developers wanted to truly help people represent themselves in the game and this visual art style “redefines expectation.” He said, “We are inspired to create a truly authentic universe where players see themselves represented in the game. The visual experience of Unbound redefines expectation, with a new signature art-style that brings graffiti to life, intensifies the competition, and creates adrenaline-inducing, high-speed action.”

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‘Need for Speed Unbound’ | Image EA

The game will follow the story of a new racer who has to make his way to the top of a street racing scene to retrieve a “priceless” car stolen from a family auto shop. Well-known singer/rapper A$AP Rocky will also feature as an in-game character. He is the leader of a faction called the Takeover Scene and there will be a bunch of replayable side quests starring the famed rapper wherein players try to get hold of different Lakeshore regions for themselves. You’ll need to prove your skills with the help of style not speed and if you manage to defeat Rocky at his own game, then you might be able to drive away with his custom Mercedes 190E.  Apart from being an in-game character, A$AP Rocky and his AWGE creative agency have provided music and creative input to Need for Speed Unbound and the trailer also features the world premiere of A$AP Rocky’s new track “Sh*ttin’ Me.”

You will also discover soundtracks from several different artists. The game’s original score is by Brodinski, the producer “who built a connection between European techno and the Atlanta trap scene.” Need For Speed Unbound will have both a single-player campaign and online gaming with a cross-platform multiplayer mode that will run at 4K 60 fps. A free-roam option exists too if you simply want to cruise the streets. You’ll be able to customise your car and your character and EA says the game will have “exclusive licensed gear from some of the world’s pioneering fashion innovators and custom automotive gear companies.”

Need for Speed Unbound will release on Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC on December 2 and there’s no word on whether it will release on older-gen consoles. If you like what you hear and see, NFS Unbound is available for pre-order. The standard version is valued at USD$69.99 which includes just the base game. However, there’s a deluxe version named “Palace Edition,” which features the base game and exclusive contents (four custom cars, a clothing pack, driving effect, decals and license plate, character pose and banner artwork) for USD$79.99.

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Shubhendu Vatsa
Contributor

Shubhendu Vatsa

Shubhendu Vatsa is an experienced reporter specialising in video game, eSports and technology coverage. A BTech IT graduate, Shubhendu has previously written for entertainment-based publications such as GiveMeSport, Touch, Tap, Play, Attack of the Fanboy, EssentiallySports, Twinfinite and The Load Out.