Insiders have leaked three screenshots for EA’s next installment of Need for Speed, providing an early look at where developer Criterion Games is taking the franchise next. One screenshot includes the Willis (Sears) Tower, confirming that the game will take place in some form of Chicago, while another comprises a map that teases the city’s accessible zones. A third shows off the game’s UI elements, including the odometer and mini-map/radar.
VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb reported in a recent episode of Grubbsnax that the new Need for Speed will feature a photo-realistic art style mixed with anime elements. The screenshots are too low-quality to confirm those claims, but Grubb was apparently right about the game taking place in a fictionalized version of Chicago called Lake Shore City.
The new Need for Speed’s aesthetic will reportedly have ‘anime elements’ (VGC)
“It’s going to be photo-realistic, but it’s going to have on top of that, anime elements,” Grubb said.
He added: “You know when you see a car commercial or something like that and the car’s driving around, but then cartoons flames and stuff are flying off it? That’s the kind of the aesthetic that they seem to be going for.”
Grubb also explained that some of the franchise’s popular multiplayer suite would return.
“Autolog is back for multiplayer, you can customise all the pieces of your car, that’s back,” he said. Autolog was the in-game social network in previous Need for Speed titles that would allow players to access multiplayer content.
Finally, Grubb claimed that the game would be set in a fictionalised version of Chicago called Lake Shore City.
“Criterion wants to make it feel like a real city, even though it’s a fictionalised version of a city,” he explained.
Grubb previously claimed that the new Need for Speed should be released in November, but it will only be available for current-gen consoles. Need for Speed Heat, the most recent entry, was developed by Ghost Games (now EA Gothenburg), but EA decided to put the franchise back into the hands of Burnout studio Criterion Games in 2020.