Need for Speed has been around for almost 30 years by this point. NFS has taken on multiple guises and genres over the decades and spanned many console generations. The most recent title, Heat, harked back to the game's peak years in the early and mid-2000s.
While Heat didn't hit the same heights of games like Most Wanted, it was a step in the right direction. So, despite delays to its release, there is a lot to be hopeful about when it comes to the next NFS. We've got more information on that and everything you need know right here!
Latest news - EA confirms new Need for Speed for 2022
During a Q4 Earnings Call, EA has confirmed the next Need for Speed will launch later this year in Financial Year 23 Q3. This pinpoints a release between 1 October and 31 December.
Codemasters Cheshire working on Need for Speed with Criterion
Following speculation, a Linkedin post by EA confirms that Codemasters Cheshire is working on Need for Speed with Criterion Games.
According to a Producer job listing shared by EA Senior Recruiter Pete Johnson, Codemasters Cheshire (the developer behind DiRT 5) and Criterion Games will “embark on an extraordinary journey to deliver the future of Need for Speed.”
Map and first screenshots leak
While we're still waiting for Need for Speed 2022 to be announced, the first screenshots have reportedly leaked. The leaked screenshots show the Need for Speed 2022 map for the first time, and it looks massive.
Reportedly set in a fictional location called Lake Shore City inspired city, the map features a variety of environments from city streets and highways to twisty drift roads. We also get a first look at the UI in the leaked screenshots.
Photorealistic graphics mixed with "anime elements"
If the latest rumours are to be believed, Need for Speed will adopt a new art style. According to VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb, Criterion's new NFS will feature "photorealistic graphics mixed with "anime elements."
“It’s going to be photo-realistic, but it’s going to have on top of that, anime elements,” Grubb said. “You know when you see a car commercial or something like that and the car’s driving around, but then cartoons flames and stuff are flying off it? That’s the kind of the aesthetic that they seem to be going for.”
Location: Fictionalised Chicago setting rumoured
While the Need for Speed 2022 location hasn't been officially announced, VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb claims the new NFS is set in a new location called Lake Shore City.
In contrast to NFS Heat's Miami-inspired Palm City, Lake Shore City will reportedly be a fictionalised version of Chicago.
According to VentureBeat's Jeff Grubb, Criterion's new Need for Speed game will be current-gen only.
This is still a rumour for now, but if true it means the Need for Speed 2022 game will skip PS4 and Xbox One. Instead, it will release on PS5 and Xbox One consoles as well as PC.
EA Play Live 2022 cancelled
EA is forgoing its usual summer showcase, EA Play Live, where it normally unveils new games and creates buzz for its titles.
Instead, EA will announce news as and when they are ready, leaving Need For Speed fans in limbo when it comes to information about the next game.
Criterion back onboard
EA had tasked Ghost Games with the last four NFS console releases. Now though, they've been let go, as EA looks to the past to make a better future for NFS. Criterion have developed several NFS titles before, including the fantastic Hot Pursuit from 2010.
Hot Pursuit is a game that has stood the test of time and is still fun to play a decade later thanks to the Remaster last year. Criterion also developed Most Wanted (2012), but it's the Burnout series, where they really shined.
We've waxed lyrical about the Burnout series on a number of occasions and not without good reason. It's no exaggeration to say that Burnout is one of the best arcade racing series ever and Burnout 3 was one of the best racing games ever.
So, you can see why we're very optimistic about the next NFS, but when are we likely to see it?
An official release date has yet to be confirmed. However, EA confirmed during a Q4 Earnings Call that Need for Speed will release in Financial Year 23 Q3, meaning it will release this year between 1 October and 31 December.
A look into the past will give us an idea for when NFS 2022 will launch. If you go over the previous games in the series, you'll notice that all of the recent ones were launched in November. November is a peak time for video game releases, as it's just before Christmas and in the heart of the Black Friday sales.
We don't expect that to change for NFS 2022, especially since it gives Criterion almost the whole of the year to make the next NFS. If this is the case, we expect the reveal trailer to drop sometime in June-August.
Something that is a lot clearer about this game is the consoles it will launch on. NFS 2022 will be the first time the series is released on the next-gen consoles. That means NFS will be coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, but what about the other systems?
Well, the game will get a PC launch, but the old-gen systems are less clear. While major EA series like FIFA 22 are being launched on PS4 and Xbox One, it's not certain whether EA will continue this into 2022. It all depends on the supply of PS5's and Series X's, which is meant to continue to be limited until at least 2023.
According to VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb, NFS 2022 won't be released on PS4 or Xbox One, but EA hasn't confirmed this.
Single player and cars
Single player mode is huge for the old-school NFS gamers. When it comes to this though, we haven't had any hints about where the story mode will take place, nor what it will encompass.
Hopefully though, single player mode will take a backseat to the driving and the customisation. Customisation was the best part of Heat, so we're hoping Criterion don't change that. With this being an EA game as well, especially one on next-gen, the graphics and audio will be top-notch.
As for cars, there will no doubt be a good selection on offer. You'll start off with old muscle cars, and low-performance racers before upgrading to sports cars and eventually, the supercars and hypercars we all dream of racing.
Again, we don't have a lot to go on here, but we can make some assumptions. Heat implemented crossplay into the series, so we'd expect that to remain in place. We're also hoping that races and cop and robbers remain in NFS online.
Something to keep in mind as well is that Criterion introduced the innovative Autolog system to NFS over ten years ago. This was a social network within a video game that was extremely impressive. Especially you consider that Twitter and Facebook were a shadow of their current forms.
VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb claims Autolog will return in the next Need for Speed, but EA has not confirmed this.