As promised by this week's teaser trailer, Need for Speed Most Wanted was heavily featured in today's EA press conference at GamesCom.
As well as revealing the action-packed trailer in full, which demonstrated the various challenges you will be embarking on with others such as jump, takedown and drift challenges, some additional nuggets of info were also revealed during the conference as Criterion's Matt Webster took to the stage. Unsurprisingly, the focus was firmly on Autolog 2.0, Criterion's revolutionary new stat-tracking system that will set a new standard for social interaction in online racing games.
Autolog 2.0 will track every action you make and compare and challenge your friends to beat your highest speed, longest drift or highest jump, for example. In a novel touch, Criterion demonstrated how record-holding friends' faces will be plastered over billboards, inviting you to exact revenge by smashing into their face when trying to beat a jump record.
Also announced was a new mode dubbed as 'CloudCompete,' which strings together Most Wanted across all platforms in an inspired example of cross-compatibility. One profile will be used for all versions of the game, allowing you to rank up on one format and continue progress on another. Considering Most Wanted will be available on such a large breadth of platforms spanning home consoles, PC, mobiles and Vita, this could easily set the standard for online cross-compatability – hopefully other developers will start to follow suit.
Criterion seem to have a knack for understanding what people want from a contemporary arcade driving game. Most driving games force you to wait until you've ranked up after laborious grinding until you're granted access to some of the more desirable cars. Not so in Need for Speed Most Wanted."We believe an open world game deserves an open world structure." Every car will be unlocked from the start of the game – "if you can find it, you can drive it."
All sounds good to us. While we're not yet convinced that Most Wanted will be the evolutionary leap from Burnout Paradise it perhaps should be, there's enough evidence to suggest it will be Criterion tour de force as a result of their experience with Burnout and Need for Speed over the last decade. Coupled with push for competitive social interaction and cross-compatibility, Most Wanted has the potential to be one of the most compulsive multiplayer driving experiences to date.