Need for Speed 2022 will reportedly have “anime elements”

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Little is known about Criterion’s new Need for Speed game, but rumours are gathering pace. This time, VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb has shared intriguing details about the new NFS game’s art style, setting, and multiplayer.

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Photorealistic graphics mixed with “anime elements”

Speaking on his Giantbomb show Grubbsnax transcribed by VGC, Grubb says Need for Speed 2022 will adopt a stylised aesthetic combining photorealistic graphics with “anime elements.”

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Need for Speed 2022 teaser
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Criterion is reportedly mixing photorealistic visuals with anime elements in Need for Speed 2022

“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.”

Utilising the power of current-gen consoles, Criterion’s photorealistic graphics engine was previewed back in 2020 in a teaser video showing impressively detailed car models.

Fictionalised Chicago location

Grubb also claims the sequel to Need for Speed Heat will be set in a new location called Lake Shore City, a fictionalised version of Chicago. “Criterion wants to make it feel like a real city, even though it’s a fictionalised version of a city,” he said.

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Need for Speed Heat screenshot location
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Need for Speed 2022 will reportedly be set in a fictionalised version of Chicago

Grubb previously believed Criterion’s NFS game is set in a Miami-style location. This seemed unlikely, however, as NFS Heat’s location was inspired by Miami.

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Autolog returns

The Autolog multiplayer system is also returning to the new NFS game according to Grubb. “Autolog is back for multiplayer, you can customise all the pieces of your car, that’s back,” he said. Introduced in Criterion’s 2010 Need for Speed Hot Pursuit game, Autolog was innovative for the time.

Incorporating social network elements, Autolog tracks progress, compares high scores and fastest times with friends, and allows you to share photos. Unfortunately, Grubb didn't hint how Autolog will be expanded and improved in Need for Speed 2022.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit wallpaper
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Autolog was introduced in Criterion's 2010 Need for Speed Hot Pursuit game

Given that Criterion created Autolog and is developing the new NFS game, it makes sense for the multiplayer suite to return.

Last week, Grubb also claimed Need for Speed 2022 will be current-gen only, meaning it will only release on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles. There’s no release date, but Criterion’s NFS game is reportedly arriving in November.

These details haven’t been verified by EA, so take them with a pinch of salt for now. But with more rumors circulating, an official reveal shouldn’t be too far away. Although EA Play Live 2022 is cancelled, the new Need for Speed will likely be revealed in July or August if a November release is planned.