The Transporter isn't typically positioned as a high-water mark for which a product should aspire to. However, EA CEO John Riccitiello did just that during an investor conference in June, saying that the next Need for Speed game, Need For Speed Undercover, would be a "much better game" than Need for Speed ProStreet. Rather than focus exclusively on racing, the game would sport a stronger mission structure and "narrative hook" akin to the 2002 Jason Statham action flick.
Today, EA officially announced Need for Speed Undercover for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Wii, Nintendo DS, PC, and mobile devices. True to Riccitiello's word, the street racer will feature a number of live-action cutscene sequences, and the publisher has secured the talents of starlet Maggie Q (Balls of Fury, Mission Impossible III) to lead its efforts. Ms. Q will play the role of Agent Chase Linh, who oversees players as they infiltrate the underground racing scene to upend an international crime syndicate.
As noted by Riccitiello, Undercover will feature gameplay that resembles 2005's NFS: Most Wanted, emphasizing car chases, underground racing, and highway battles. The shift in direction, according to Riccitiello, was possible because EA's Vancouver-based Black Box is no longer being "tortured" by a one-year development cycle. GameSpot will have its first impressions of the retooled racer next Wednesday.
Need for Speed Undercover is expected to drift onto retail shelves in North America on November 18, with a European release following on November 21.