Need For Speed Most Wanted: Open-World Racing With Autolog's Smarts

Criterion's Most Wanted reboot plugs Hot Pursuit's influential Autolog into Burnout Paradise's blissful racing.

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Crunch time approaches at Criterion's Guildford studio. In the building they share with publisher EA, the developers of Need For Speed: Most Wanted are knuckling down to their last few weeks on this open-world racing game.

Time pressure keeps them from slicing press demos out of their unfinished game, but they serve up in-progress code with the total confidence of a well-proven racing studio. These are game makers with Burnout Paradise and Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit most recently under their belts.

"We don't like wasting time cutting press builds," pronounces Matt Webster, executive producer at Criterion. Nor do they like wasting time rehashing what’s gone before. “We don’t make sequels to other people’s games”, he says. Begging the question: why a reboot of EA Black Box’s 2005 racer?

Risky chaser.

As Webster tells it, Criterion’s experience with Burnout Paradise and with Autolog, Hot Pursuit’s influential social suite, pointed them straight to this reimagining of Most Wanted: an open-world racer based on constant social competition to be the city’s most notorious car jockey.

Though it is tagged Need For Speed, the game feels much more like Burnout Paradise than the original Most Wanted. Paradise City has been swapped for the handsome, fictional American burg of Fairhaven, but Burnout’s exhilarating slow-motion takedowns abound along all 100 miles of road and ramps, through dirt tracks, industrial lots, the harbour district, and built-up downtown area.

In single-player, you vie with AI cars in races, police chases, and other events while Criterion’s upgraded Autolog system rates your every accomplishment--from race times to speed trap records--in real time against those of your offline friends. In multiplayer, you hoon around Fairhaven with buddies in a lobbyless, seamless playlist of events, chasing each other to the next starting point in a crash-happy convoy.

In our time with the multiplayer, we are commanded by automatically generated playlist to compete for the longest drift around a circular pier and biggest jump across an unfinished elevated highway, and to battle for first place in free-for-all and team races. In all events you can excel by being either the best driver or the most effective crasher, scoring takedown points and hampering opponents with suicidal smash-ups. It is riotous, kickabout fun.

Most Wanted needs to shake up its genre, says creative director Craig Sullivan, because “ultimately [racing games] are getting a bit boring”. It’s the Criterion confidence talking again when he has a swipe at simulation racers for their pristine sameyness: “I don’t want to drive a really nice shiny car around a track too many more times because I’ve done that”.

Central to Most Wanted’s fresh outlook is making each of its shiny, destructible licensed cars available from the get-go. From the workaday mid-rangers to the fancy exotics, the absurd Ariel Atom and hulking Ford F-150 Raptor, every car is somewhere in the city and immediately up for grabs in single player.

In theory, you can be doing 250 miles an hour in the fastest car in the game within five minutes. It’s the antidote, says Sullivan, to games “all about looking at that box and seeing that nice, cool, shiny car and most of the time going, ‘I’m never going to get to drive that f**king car, unless I play the game for 40 hours’”. Once discovered, a car’s location is marked on the city map for quick-travel future access.

That’s single player, though. In multiplayer, the system of car unlocks looks a lot more like the levelling in an online shooter (“We play a lot of CoD and Battlefield,” Sullivan says). Everything you do, offline and online, earns you experience points (“speed points”), and as you level up you unlock new rides, much like weapons in Call of Duty.

As you hit milestones in a certain vehicle, on the other hand, you unlock new mods. Do enough offroad driving in one car and you’ll get its offroad tyres. Win an event in another and you’ll bag a nitrous mod. Pleasingly, mods can be added to cars on the fly. Pity the cop chasing you when you install your nitrous dump mod in mid-pursuit.

Watch for smashable billboards.

On the streets of Fairhaven there are also Burnout Paradise-style repaint drive thrus that will have your battered vehicle fixed up and looking sharp in an instant. There are smashable billboards branded with Criterion’s peer developers (BioWare, DICE) as well, waiting to be claimed (read: smashed). Security gates can be likewise battered down, and you might find a desirable motor parked on the other side.

So there’s content and collectables aplenty, and all of it bound together by Criterion’s upgraded Autolog--the magical, telemetric social engine constantly feeding you stats on how you’re doing versus your friends and keeping the party going in multiplayer’s prescribed events.

For some tastes, Criterion’s Most Wanted is too close to Paradise City to make its mark, but the layer of back-end sophistication brought by Autolog 2.0 to extended play shouldn’t be underestimated. We predict good things for a Paradise powered by Autolog’s smarts.

Discussion

2 comments
abhi_lovedone
abhi_lovedone

any body interested to add me as friend in autolog?? 

Would be great to compete on android. My id is automaniac18.

Sorry if this is wrong place or illegal in here.

 

Cheers!!

AlphaProWolf
AlphaProWolf

I hope this will have 2 player split screen because everyone who bought NFS Hot Pursuit missed out on that :(

toshineon
toshineon

I really hope I won't be let down by the single player part of the game. I'm not a multiplayer kind of person, but I feel like EA are forgetting about the people like me *cough* Battlefield 3 *cough*

Onda2
Onda2

Just read this whole article waiting to read the bit where it should say "The modifications that can be made to your cars are even better and more customisable than the original, simply imagine the original game on crack.." But no, none of that! This game needs proper car customisation to set it apart from burnout I think.

SargeWW11
SargeWW11

This game will be great. Screw all people who are complaining already.

Nickious
Nickious

Oh poor NFS MW, you deserved something better than a Burnout clone. Rest in Peace MW, the only NFS game that I actually liked.

 

On a side note, I've never actually owned the game,  rented it and loved it but never could find a copy. I suppose there is XBL, kind of wanted a physical copy.

dralutfi
dralutfi

i don't know what the use to play a game we already playing it be4 ..... heeeeeey do something better create new games .... otherwise close the hole thing ... they revive the old games make us pay twice for the same experience we had .... 

essam24
essam24

ok it is good preview for good game from great Section Editor.  XD

sorinpam
sorinpam

I deleted my bad grammer comments(except this 1).Hope you are happy! All u was interested in was the grammer not the game.Have fun playing this game ,cuz from wot i see is nothing like the one (made in 2005) that we all loved.

lemonlimewine
lemonlimewine

 @sorinpam Please just shut up and save yourself the embarrassment. And also learn how to spell.    

mediarays
mediarays

Porsche unleashed is a legend in Nfs series because of the presentation,graphics,stunning visuals,customization and gameplay.Recreate it in frostbite 2.its my humble request.

letario
letario

The single player on NFS most wanted was probably the best need for speed I've played that m3 was a beast!

Descabar
Descabar

Honestly, this EA company infuriates me. I Love nfs most wanted with a passion, played it for hours and days. Now they ruin it with this ridiculous idea and think that this is what we need!. who the hell are they making these games for!. if they want to have fun time then keep it to their damn themselves and stop shoving bulls@@t down our throat. I wished there was a poll that gamers could go on and vote. A place where EA will see us and take action on what us nfs most wanted gamers want because there is no way i am going to waste my 60 dollars on this trash. I will be spreading the word so definitely they just lost money without the game being out yet. Give them hell fans!

 

Hey Jane Douglas we probably related you got my mom's last name, odd.

sorinpam
sorinpam

we loved most wanted cuz of the story ,u never get enugh of it ,made u to want more.....it this has no story then it isnt most wanted  ,so just call it burnout,cuz im out.!

na_X
na_X

This looks more like Burnout: Most wanted, rather than Need for speed..

I like both the Burnout series and the Need for speed series, but I miss the realism/simulator feel like, that you had in Porsche challenge.

pchalalai
pchalalai

For once, EA manages to upset both ends (classic/underground) of NFS fans...

MuddyMaestro
MuddyMaestro

I'm super excited for this game. I can see obvious cues from my two favourite racing games of the generation, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (racing dynamics, chases) and Driver: San Francisco (open landscape, online qualifiers). Criterion has yet to let me down, so I'm expecting big things from this game.

saygoodie
saygoodie

Bring back a story line and Josie Marran!

eViL_iTo696
eViL_iTo696

bring back the underground series please

ranzikiel
ranzikiel

hope there will be...

customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car customization car=)

Monsta1217
Monsta1217

im just curious to know if this is a remake or a godforsaken Screw up like NFS the run -__- i would like to customize my vehicles like the original NFS most wanted 

shansss123
shansss123

looks too much like burnout paradise lol

remysola
remysola

WOW?!! the only thing that left... Call of NFS."It's more like Burnout" ?! then why they use the Most Wanted name?EA Franchises s....

Tixylixx
Tixylixx

Maybe it'll have in game chat this time around for PC..........

DeathProofDelta
DeathProofDelta

I hope they make a demo because i'll need to try before i buy... it doesn't sound like they will tho.

DeathProofDelta
DeathProofDelta

For ages I have been crying out for a new Most Wanted because i remember it being awesome to play and had a good story behind it. I just hope this is the same, not too much on-line and more indepth gaming. Underground 1 & 2 were awesome too. For me its all about the cars and street racing. To be honest, I'd rather race a highly modified skyline or impreza than a ferrari or zonda because they are cars i can actually afford to buy and drive.

dalua360
dalua360

I WANT UNDERGROUND 2 back, just put a bigger open world map, better graphics, awesome sounds, and you will see the NFS series starting to sell like crazy again!

kenkashijd
kenkashijd

offline multiplayer and ill be happy!!

taha_maqbool
taha_maqbool

@abhi_lovedone I have sent u pls accept it thanks :)

h2k47
h2k47

 @Onda2 exactly...and you think this will be indeed a remake of Most Wanted...I hope at least they fix the horrifying handbrake system they had in Hot Pursuit 2010...

lord75
lord75

 @Nickious

 yes that is true....original MW was the best handsdown....

 

ShpeTzUjkani1
ShpeTzUjkani1

 @dralutfi I can promise you; you'll never having the experience you had with first Most Wanted, at least not from these guys. 

contranova
contranova

 @mediarays No NO not frostbite 2 that engine looks nice but is really only benefits PC players with amazing PC's and does not benefit console players really.

lemonlimewine
lemonlimewine

 @sorinpam first, you need to learn how to spell correctly, because if EA somehow manages to see this post, they will laugh at it and move on.

Monkey_N1nga
Monkey_N1nga

 @Descabar  @t You dont like change and everyone has opinions dont they? I personally like the change and the direction they are heading in is definitley a positive one. So boo hoo for EA losing 60 bucks. I will be buying this game for sure because it looks fantastic, just my opinion.

boags24
boags24

My eyes are bleeding because of your grammar.

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

 @pchalalai I'm pretty sure this is made for new Burnout fans who have never heard of NFS Underground not to mention the classic ones.

 

EA is constantly reaching for new audiences. I wonder if they ever realize that there are only 7 billion people on this planet.

SargeWW11
SargeWW11

@shansss123 I lov e burnout paradise. They should make a new one

DL_gamer
DL_gamer

 @dalua360 You just said everything I was gonna say. I think that's all the NFS fans want after all. Seems that EA is the only who doesnt know that, really?

Descabar
Descabar

 @Monkey_N1nga OK, Monkey, no disrespect, but the point is to not discharge 'change' Would you like to be force fed something you don't want. What I am saying is, if something works don't change it, utilize it and improve upon it. They have a large fan base that like nfs most wanted for a reason. If they want to experiment on something, create another game with that content and see what happens. 'fail' They did it before and it didn't work this idea of there is not much different from what they have produce recently and look what happens. Fans are still complaining, obviously that means something  I am just saying. And just because your buying it that doesn't make you any wiser or a help to them but rather supporting their ignorance.   

Monkey_N1nga
Monkey_N1nga

 @Descabar I also agree with the fact it needs a single player story but they have not released such a trailer yet, maybe some time in the future? Plus i have read that in the single player mode they will have 10 black lists, not 15 but 10 which is all right, makes more sense anyway. I also saw a video and read somewhere that there will be customization, such as visual(i.e. body kits, paint, rims, tires.) and performance(i.e. engine tuning, lighter parts). I do hope more people feel comfortable now since customization is now included, i sure was when i read the news, but racing is racing in the end, but i guess some people would argue if the main story line is the driving force of the game.

Descabar
Descabar

 @Monkey_N1nga Bottom line, I would have loved to see an intriguing story trailer a game play similar to previous "most wanted" not "the run". A customization teaser then they can tell us whatever else they want. Love the new idea but disappointing if they dont have the rest. thats all I am saying. hopefully you understand now. 

Descabar
Descabar

 @Monkey_N1nga To explain to you everything will take a bit too long. Take the time and read through other postings and you will see for your self. My main worries is storyline for single player and vast customization. That's the main problem here, nfs most wanted had it and it kept me up for hours especially when i finish a race and cops still chasing me. The other games such as undercover was lacking such ingredients. I understand that they are trying something different, but when they choose to use this title nfs most wanted  without presenting a storyline or customization trailer but rather clips of burnout style doesn't pull me in. it worries me. What they have presented so far sounds great but this heat that I am giving them is to express that if the game is only base on the content they have showed off so far, for a nfs most wanted franchise, it is a bad idea and I am pissed off. 

Monkey_N1nga
Monkey_N1nga

 @Descabar I agree with you somewhat about how cars are unlocked on the get-go in single player, but other than that they are not force feeding you anything everything else is optional, things such as new speed times and such and even multiplayer. I dont know if its just me but i like how they are integrating multiplayer even more deeply with the gameplay just because with multiplayer, the experience is different every time. BTW why are fans complaining, which aspects are they complaining about?