Revealed in action during the EA press conference, Ghost Games and Criterion appear to have taken Rivals down a similar route to Evolution Studios' Driveclub and Ubisoft Reflections/Ivory Towers' The Crew, with regards to the singleplayer and multiplayer aspects of the title.
Whilst the game is normally set in single-player mode, where you traverse the fictional open world of Redview County in whatever monstrously powerful car you happen to be driving in, Rivals can instantly swap to an online multiplayer set-up, allowing players from around the world to partake in their own high-speed pursuits.
Of incredible interest was the mobile device integration – as demonstrated during a demo during the conference, a user on an iPad was able to join in on a 'Cop vs Street Racer' head-to-head, with the tablet giving the player a top-down perspective of the chase.
This wasn't simply for spectating, though – the iPad user was also able to assist the pursuer through road blocks and calling in police helicopters. Nothing was detailed on whether similar features would be available for the side being chased, though it does bring about plenty of intriguing possibilities on the possible ways to play Need for Speed: Rivals.
The online modes of Rivals don't end there, though – as expected from an open-world racing game, Redview County can be filled with online players, allowing you to (in the words of EA themselves) "share the same game, same race, same chase", where there's always the possibility of "your race and your friend’s pursuit colliding",
As with the critically-acclaimed Hot Pursuit from 2010 (which Rivals appears to emulate in more ways than one…), power-ups play a significant role in how the game is played for both sides, under the banners of "Pursuit and Evasion Tech".
An emphasis on car customisation, though, does make a return to the Need for Speed series, both for cosmetic purposes (decals, tyre rims, licence plates, paintjobs, liveries and the like) and for the aforementioned tech packs. It's possible in Rivals to save different configurations for the Pursuit and Evasion tools.
No details regarding the release date for Need for Speed: Rivals other than simply "November 2013" were mentioned, It is possible, though, to pre-order the title now, and get "exclusive access to the Nissan GT-R Black Edition", as well as be one of the first to get hold of "advanced pursuit technology".
Need for Speed: Rivals will be featured on the E3 show floor as a playable demo, so we hope we'll have some gameplay footage of Rivals (as well as, possibly, a few more feature announcements) on either the Team VVV YouTube channel or the website soon.