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Watch Need for Speed Payback's opening scenes

Early story and gameplay mission highlights

Ghost Games' newest iteration in the long-running racing franchise Need for Speed lands next week. We played the game's single-player campaign early missions at a recent press event, capturing highlights for the video above.

Need For Speed Payback follows the franchise's standard model of urban racing, flashy cars and cop chases. The series has been knocking around since the mid-1990s, generally taking its cue from street racing culture and movie series.

Payback's races and missions are all about maximizing acceleration, screeching around corners and grabbing as much drift as possible. It's set in an open-world Las Vegas-style city, with broad freeways as well as tight inner-city lanes. Drivers can go off road, with plenty of opportunities to crash through fences.

There's also a day/night cycle, something missing from the last game in the series, a 2015 reboot called Need for Speed. The two most recent entries in the franchise, 2013’s Need for Speed Rivals and Need for Speed, were always-online games: Players needed to be connected to the internet in order to play, and couldn’t pause the action. Critics and fans lambasted Ghost Games and publisher Electronic Arts for that decision, so it’s been dropped for Payback’s single-player campaign.

This new game comes with a story, albeit one that stretches credibility. Three car-obsessed friends make powerful enemies when a casino town heist goes awry. They must race their way back to respectability and financial freedom, keeping clear of cops and the mob.

Early game missions are all about getting used to driving cars at extreme ends of the scale, from high performance racers to a jalopy. The missions include time trials, races, drift tests and cop chases. Players follow an RPG-style upgrade path, winning parts that allow for vehicle customization.

Our video offers a look at the three characters in the game, as well as highlights from some of the early missions. Need For Speed Payback will be released on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One on Nov. 10.

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