To help entice gamers into purchasing Need for Speed Underground 2, Electronic Arts got television host and perennial pinup Brooke Burke to appear in the game. Today the publisher announced it had signed another stunner, supermodel Josie Maran, to star in the next installment in its popular street-racing series, Need for Speed Most Wanted.
Born in 1978 and raised in California, Maran is the current Maybelline cover girl and can be seen in the ads aplenty inside glamour mags Vogue and Marie Claire. Gamers, however, will likely be more familiar with her appearances on the Howard Stern Show and bit parts in films such as The Aviator and Van Helsing.
In Need for Speed Most Wanted, Maran will play Mia, an alluring street racer (surprise). She will introduce players to the local street-racing circuit in the game and will aid them in their quests to become its most infamous member (hence the title). "Video games are much more personal than films since it's an interactive experience for the audience; it's like being invited into their home," said Maran in a statement.
To re-create Maran in-game, EA shot her in high-definition video, which it then converted into in-game graphics and cinematics. "We performed in front of a green screen, much like a Hollywood set," she said, "so all the gamers will see will be real-life video of the actors merged into environments from the game." Hollywood cinematographer David Pearson ( I, Robot) and Academy-award-nominated visual effects supervisor Habib Zargarpour (The Perfect Storm) assisted developer EA Canada with the video shoot and conversion process.
Need for Speed Most Wanted is due out this fall for the DS, PC, PSP, GameCube, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and Game Boy Advance. A shot--presumably from the 360 version--can been seen above, and further information is available in GameSpot's recent hands-on preview.