Need for Speed: Most Wanted is open-world, encourages carnage

EA's annual installment of Need for Speed is returning to its roots.

EA's annual installment of Need for Speed is returning to its roots. Shown for the first time during the company's E3 2012 press conference, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is being developed by Criterion Games (Burnout Paradise, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit) with a release date planned on October 30, 2012.

During the demonstration, Matt Webster, the executive producer of Criterion, described Most Wanted as "an open world driving game where players race, chase and explore." Criterion's last NFS game, Hot Pursuit, was a more directed racing game, with specific tracks and shortcuts. Most Wanted appears to be far more open, giving players complete freedom of where they can drive. If anything it looks closer to Burnout Paradise.

EA's Autolog system will power the game's ranking system, letting you best friends and rivals with race times, jumps and damage dealt to the world around you. Damage caused appears to be crucial, as there's a constant ticker of your "Damage to the State," racking up expenses whenever you take out a light pole or cop car.

While there's likely to be more environmental variety to see, the demonstration for Most Wanted primarily took place in an urban environment, with police and criminal chases taking place in alleyways and over busy intersections. The gridded streets once again feel like a return to the map of Burnout Paradise.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is scheduled for an October 30, 2012 release date.

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