Need For Speed 2022 leak suggests EA aiming for new generation of fans, removing classic features

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EA still hasn't revealed Need for Speed 2022, but the leaks keep on coming.

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Last week, a Reddit user who claims to know an EA employee seemingly leaked details about the cop chases. Now, the same leaker has shared new information on Reddit detailing the new NFS game's direction. A leaked gameplay video also seemingly shows the rumoured cartoon effects.

Need for Speed 2022 reportedly aiming for a younger audience

According to the Reddit user, NFS 2022, which is rumoured to be called Need for Speed Unbound, is a “soft reboot” aimed at a younger audience, introducing the franchise to a new generation of players. The upgrade system is also said to be “simplified” for a younger audience and similar to Forza.

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Need for Speed 2022 leaked screenshot
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Need for Speed 2022 is said to be a "soft reboot" to attract a new generation of fans.

As part of this new direction, classic features will apparently be removed. According to the Reddit user, staple game modes like drag racing and drift events won’t be in NFS 2022.

Speedcross, a mode last seen in Payback where you try and score as many speed, drift, and smash points as possible on a preset course, is expected to return, however.

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Like NFS Heat, the Reddit user claims NFS 2022 will have a story with diverse characters and “strong female/cultural representation.” Allegedly, the intro cutscene features a BMW doing donuts without doors.

Another new rumoured feature in NFS 2022 is car meets. The leaker says these car meets will take place at car parks, with the ability to swap cars in a menu and bet on other players to win money.

Leaked gameplay video shows cartoon effects

This new direction is reflected in NFS 2022’s rumoured anime-inspired art style and cartoon effects. Screenshots taken from a short NFS 2022 gameplay video on Imgur show a Chevrolet Bel Air attempting a jump.

Need for Speed 2022 leaked screenshot cartoon wings
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A leaked Need for Speed 2022 gameplay video seemingly shows a cartoon effect with animated wings appearing on a car.

As the car crashes into a wall, the screen turns red and a skull appears over the car indicating low health. Animated wings also appear on the sides of the car. It’s not clear if these polarising cartoon effects can be turned off. The map and speedometer also appear to match the other leaked screenshot showing a Lamborghini Countach.

It’s worth noting that the footage is likely taken from an early build and may not be representative of the final game.

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Need for Speed 2022 leaked screenshot crash camera
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Need for Speed 2022's crash camera could have comic book-style effects.

Delayed until December

Fans were hoping NFS 2022 would be revealed at Gamescom, but the game was not shown. With no official updates from EA, reliable leaker Jeff Grubb claimed NFS 2022 has been delayed by “about a month.”

At the time, it wasn’t clear if this meant the reveal or the release date has been delayed. Since then, Grubb has clarified on GiantBomb that NFS 2022 has been delayed until December, but EA has not confirmed this.

A December release is still possible though, as EA recently confirmed NFS 2022 will be released between 1 November and 31 December. EA will want to make sure NFS 2022 is released in time for the lucrative Christmas period, but we're hoping the development isn't rushed as a result and compromise the quality of the game.

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Need for Speed 2022
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Need for Speed 2022 has been delayed until December according to Jeff Grubb.

According to Grubb, Criterion is “going to take a few extra weeks before showing it off.” The reason for the delay isn’t known, but Grubb believes Criterion “got sidetracked” when working on Battlefield 2042 with DICE, causing a “ripple effect.” 

Fans on Reddit have not reacted well to the latest rumours and are worried NFS is being dumbed down to appeal to a younger audience. Remember, these are rumours and nothing is official until EA confirms it so take these details with a pinch of salt for now.

If NFS is aiming for a December release, we’re expecting a September reveal.