SMASH! Criterion Making Need For Speed Most Wanted

Someone really needs to make a Knight Rider game.

“Do you have what it takes to become Most Wanted?” asks EA’s press release for Need For Speed: Most Wanted, as they begin their recruitment drive for murderers. Oh! No, wait. This is nonsense marketing speak for “Would you like to play our game?” The very splendid news that Criterion – developers of one of the best games ever, Burnout: Paradise – are remaking the 2005 racer greets us this E3morn, which they promise will embrace the developer’s best skills. And that means… SMASHING THROUGH BARRIERS! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I’ve written about my love for smashing through the barriers in Burnout Paradise so many times, and yet most days I still feel compelled to do it again. As someone who almost never goes back to replay finished games, my repeated returning to Burnout, simply to smash everything red and yellow to bits, is a sign of mental illness most likely. And how bloody ace that game is.

Now, of course, this isn’t Criterion’s first foray into the world of reinventing EA Canada’s old racing games, with 2010’s Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. That was a game that managed to be an excellent entry into the NFS catalogue, and yet a slightly disappointing follow-up to BP’s glory. So I really hope this outing will be a chance for the team to not only bring in all that was missing from Hot Pursuit – on-the-fly multiplayer match-ups, a reason for a free drive mode, and most of all a counter saying how many barriers there were left to smash – but also fix all that was wrong with both their previous games – terrible menus, tedious tutorials, and worst of all, agonisingly slow, unskippable bollocks constantly interrupting your fun.

The trailer says nothing useful whatsoever, and looks like CGI to me. But its existing is what we’re exciting about today.

The release date is currently set for 30th October 2012, which I’ll just run through my JWP machine… 28th March 2013.


  1. OfMiceAndMods says:

    Why wasn’t it Burnout Paradise 2? They would have won E3!

    • TechnicalBen says:

      From that video, that’s what it look like. They just changed the name. :P

      • grundus says:

        And added real cars, which is welcome, but I really hope they have more than just modern supercars. Seems unlikely though as games like this are pure advertising for the manufacturers, but Burnout Paradise had all sorts and shapes of machines from tuned Civic coupes to classic Le Mans machines, and it was so much better for it, even if the differences were mostly cosmetic and incremental stats-based stuff.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          I actually dislike that bit. Whenever licensed cars are involved, damage modelling tends to take a huge dip. For a long time you’d get Gran Turismo “pristine car after 200 km/h crash on solid wall”. The HP remake was better, but the damage was toned waaaay down compared to Paradise.

          I’d hoped to see increased, intricate damage modelling. it’s part of Criterion’s signature. Putting them on another NFS game makes me think we won’t be seeing that.

      • Sinomatic says:

        Joking aside, is this really just Burnout Paradise plus cops and minus the radio/stunt modes? I haven’t played the original Need for Speed so I can ‘t compare it to that, but it’s certainly coming across like more burnout paradise (which is entirely fine by me).

  2. DevilSShadoW says:

    here’s hoping there will be body kits for the cars.

  3. Stranglove says:

    They did show a little gameplay footage at E3 yesterday, it was very much in the vein of burnout paradise, with the takedown cams and a little billboard action:

    • felisc says:

      well, apparently we will still be able to drive around the city after a race. very fast. with cops. alright, that seems like the sequel to burnout paradise i’ve been waiting for.

      • The First Door says:

        If it is anything like Most Wanted, the idea was you had to lose the police after a race before you were allowed back to your safe house to change cars or start a new event, from what I remember.

    • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

      Oh my, I used to be really into racing games back when I owned a Gamecube, but had to abandon my high-speed enthusiasm due to the nonsense of digital keyboards, in replaying GTA IV lately and savouring every chase and nuance of the vehicle physics I’ve rekindled my love of manoeuvring virtual vehicles. Looks like it’s time to invest in a 360 controller and this title, eurgh, EA however.

    • Daniel Klein says:

      I would a big long boring technical video about the new physics stuff they created for slo-mo crashes. Anyone remember the full on harmonica or broken in half stuff from the BP trailer that they had to cut from the actual game cause the physics just weren’t there? I WANT.

    • ttcfcl says:

      Ah yes, but they still only get dents and scrapes and cracked glass when crashing, not bent, smashed, mangled, totaled, scrunched, or reduced in size by half, like in Burnout Paradise.

    • Didero says:

      I like how the opponents and the player are named after the British royal family.

  4. dontnormally says:

    Need for Speed Underground.
    Racing with open-world RPG elements.

    Why keep ignoring the obvious sequel.

    • db1331 says:

      Underground 2 is probably my favorite racing game ever. Even though the open-world stuff was pretty weak, it had a crazy amount of customization. And Brooke Burke.

      • Kollega says:

        Oh yeah. I’ll never forget the absolutely insane amount of customization in Underground 2. I made some pretty sweet rides in it.

  5. djbriandamage says:

    I played Hot Pursuit (the second, Criterion one) like crazy. My wife even loves it and we enjoy PVPing in that game. We both preferred that game to Burnout Paradise for whatever reason. I have great faith in Criterion and am very much looking forward to this game.

  6. Rumface says:

    If this one gets floaty disconnected handling like Hot Pursuit I’ll start tugging on my testicles again. Then again EA haven’t taken notice of that since about 2001 now.

    • rockman29 says:


    • Bremze says:

      The makers of Burnout take on a series that I’ve been playing since I was 5 but has been very disappointing lately? What could go wrong, the game should be at least pretty good, right?

      No manual transmission.

      • Azdeus says:

        Seriously? No manual transmissions? I’m out. :/

        Edit; Then again, it’s EA, wich means Origin… So, doubly out.

    • LuNatic says:

      Yeah, the car handling in Hot Pursuit (and now that I think about it, all Criterion racing games) is bloody awful. I’m not interested in another instalment of barge racing.

  7. The First Door says:

    I seem to be the only person who wasn’t so keen on Burnout: Paradise. I just found the core racing a little dull as the lack of checkpoints meant no real tracks.

    Still, on a happier note I loved Most Wanted and the gameplay trailer posted above seems to show a really good combination of the best bits of Most Wanted and Paradise! I’m especially happy to see the return of off road areas. My favourite times in Most Wanted involved trying to lose the police on the golf course!

    • rocketman71 says:

      I didn’t like it either, and the fact that it was the first Burnout/NFS to ditch LAN (I believe), didn’t help it one bit with my gaming group. As in, we haven’t bought a single NFS since then.

    • Dilapinated says:

      I didn’t like Burnout Paradise either. The “drive around to get to the things you’d rather be doing” mechanic annoyed me, as did the nails-on-blackboard announcer and his inability to be silenced by any means. The “make a pileup” game-mode seemed to have been toned down/mostly removed, in favour of a “hey, uh, do that stuff anywhere you want” which didn’t entice me half as much. :/

      • grundus says:

        I seem to recall turning that guy off, he only ever piped up to tell me I’d ‘unlocked’ new cars to crash into to unlock properly. Maybe it was the VOIP volume? I can’t remember. In any case, he would’ve ruined the game if I hadn’t shut him up. I always imagined he’d look like that punk taxi driver in Crazy Taxi.

    • wodin says:

      Wasn’t keen myself. Bored me.

  8. HisMastersVoice says:

    The NFS brand was apparently saved from total oblivion by kidnapping and flaying a different franchise, then grafting the still raw flesh and skin over it’s bare skeleton.

    Still, it’s a Criterion game. It can’t be bad.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Yep. I think Criterion is the underdog team EA want to both promote and destroy. Promote to make great games, destroy because they make the great game they want, not the ones EA wants. :D

  9. Kollega says:

    I rather don’t like it that they are remaking Most Wanted instead of making a new game. Sure, Most Wanted was good, but it dosen’t mean they just get a carte-blanche to make it for the second time. And to be honest, i didn’t like Burnout Paradise that much. The map in it was absolutely TINY.

    What i personally would like to see is Need For Speed with Central Europe (most likely East Germany) as a setting, and customization as vast as in All-Points Bulletin, or at least good old Underground 2. That would be a nice change of pace.

    • heledir says:

      NFS in Eastern Germany is a weird, but very intriguing idea. I quite like it. Additionally make the era of the game the early nineties and I’m sold.
      Too bad it would not interest the masses though.

      • Kollega says:

        As a matter of fact, Central Europe was one of the settings in ProStreet (Soviet-made panel housing in those maps is very distinctive), so there’s sort of a precedent for Central-European NFS.

        Expanding on the theme, there could be Soviet cars instead of Japanese ones, from joke-vehicles that Trabant and Zaporozshets are (there could even be a game mode where you are chased by a horde of Trabants) to the GAZ-14 “Chaika” limousines made for the government and maybe even army trucks (the latter being what i think Burnout Paradise was missing).

    • Azdeus says:

      I’d personally like to see a Test Drive Unlimited, but with good car physics and handling. And fricking proper force feedback support.

      Watching the gameplay made my head hurt, I’ve outgrown those kind of crashes and similar. Probably because I’ve been in a bad one myself.

  10. trjp says:

    Original NFS:MW is one of the best (if not the best) arcade racer ever made.

    With that in mind, Criterions efforts haven’t been so great since about Burnout 3 – Paradise was a shadow of the game the earlier Burnouts were and the NFS titles they’ve done, whilst OK, aren’t particularly amazing either.

    So I’m a bit nonplussed here – it’s not news they’d make another game, it’s just news they’ll be pissing on the corpse of a good one…

  11. rocketman71 says:

    Yeah, I’m sure this will still force you to go through that Autolog shit, not to mention Origin.

    Thanks but no thanks. Ok, no “no thanks”, rather “fuck you EA”.

  12. Strontium Mike says:

    I loathed Criterion’s Hot Pursuit, cops with super cars made the two careers too samey. The lack of anything to do in free drive and far too many events that were simple time trials, it all just felt like a wasted opportunity. I dread to see what they do to Most Wanted.

  13. JD Ogre says:

    Bleh. It should’ve been Most Wanted 2 [or II, of course, if you prefer Roman Numerals]. And the recent Hot Pursuit should have been Hot Pursuit 3 – it wasn’t an actual remake and the new one doesn’t look like a remake, either.

    • x1501 says:

      Exactly. NFS III: Hot Pursuit (1998), NFS: Hot Pursuit 2 (2002), NFS: Most Wanted (2005), NFS: Hot Pursuit (2010), NFS: Most Wanted (2012). High Stakes, Underground, Carbon, Underground 2, ProStreet, Nitro, World, Shift, Porche Unleased, Shift II Unleased, The Run… You need to have one hell of a memory to keep track of the series’ confusing and repetitive titles. Why not call it “Need For Speed Most Wanted II”, at least?

      • x1501 says:

        *That would be Porsche Unleashed and Shift II Unleashed.

      • Bremze says:

        You missed Road and Track presents: Need for Speed and Special Edition. Oh, and Undercover.

        • seanblah12 says:

          probably blanked undercover from his memory…

          • YourMessageHere says:

            Undercover’s pretty good for a fix of fastness. NIce map, good cars, uncomplicated sensation of mind-buggering speed and as a bonus, the ever-reliable unintentionally comic cutscenes. Granted it’s piss easy, the lighting is permanently orange, the world shadows move with the cars and the cops are cheating psychics, but who would play NFS for a challenge?

  14. Ksempac says:

    I don’t know if I should lament that Criterion is the only one to provide “hollywood style” arcade racing game (if we forget about the rather special Trackmania serie) or rejoice because they are so good at what they do.

    Probably both…I LOVED Burnout Paradise, but toward the end I was getting rather bored / frustrated with the Takedown / Crashs cams (I M PLAYING, I WANNA DRIVE, LET ME DRIVE) and that fact you’re always driving on the same roads (I know it’s great to have a sandbox, but when you’ve been driving a 100 times on the same highway, that feels a bit repetitive)

  15. MistyMike says:

    I hope they improve a single thing: the soundtrack!! In an open world racer that’s something that you spend a lot of time listening to, and both Paradise and Hot Pursuit had some terrible Modern Pop/Rock/Alternative/Top40 thing.

    A soundtrack like in Brutal Legend would be… well, legendary.

  16. Eukatheude says:

    Didn’t really like Paradise tbh, the world felt very small to me and the races soon got repetitive. I liked the old Burnouts on consoles, though.

  17. mr.ioes says:

    Criterion = rubberband AI = no buy.

    • Bremze says:

      … have you ever played a NFS game before? I don’t think there has been a game in the series that hasn’t had obviously rubberbanding AI and I’ve played most of them. Shift maybe?

      • mr.ioes says:

        Uhm, yes? High Stakes and Porsche were the best titles and both didn’t have rubber-band AI. I’m quite sure that one of us didn’t play the older NFS titles, and it’s definitly not me.

        Rubberband exists since Underground 1 I think (which I oddly enough kinda enjoyed, due to being visually incredibly appealing).

        edit: Shift indeed uses no or just a weak rubberband!

        • Bremze says:

          NFS and NFS 2:SE were the first two computer games I’ve played. I recently replayed both NFS 2:SE and the first Hot Pursuit (3) and they both have very obvious rubberbanding AI. High Stakes used the same engine as 3 and iirc so did Porsche Unleashed so you probably have probably have blanked it out.

  18. asianhottie says:

    Just registered an account so I could come here and say this: Burnout Paradise is not ‘one of the best games ever’ – Burnout 3 is. Just thought I’d make that clear.

  19. Nokterian says:

    But where is Razor Callahan? With out him there is no most wanted….

  20. slowly_over says:

    The Prodigy, making things apparently more exciting than they actually are since 1996.

    Don’t believe me? Try playing Firestarter over this… link to

  21. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    Elizabeth? Harry? William? Did anyone else notice that you are racing against the royal family?

    • grundus says:

      That would explain how they can be the ‘most wanted’ without any serious repercussions.

  22. ttcfcl says:

    I don’t like for the simple fact the big car manufacturers are too sensitive to allow fully dynamic crashes in the game. Cmon, I want another Burnout with REAL crashes, not this watered down BS.

  23. nasKo says:

    Except for the title, I haven’t seen anything “Most Wanted” in the trailer.
    Being chased by the police doesn’t make this game a Most Wanted. I didn’t see anything tuning related, either. Instead I get the same supercars I’ve seen in Hot Pursuit.

  24. YourMessageHere says:

    I want to see muscle cars and lots of motorways, and AI opponents I can randomly stalk and duel with.

    “a reason for a free drive mode”

    What do you mean, a reason for free drive mode? Free drive mode IS the reason for these games. Make a map that’s basically fun to drive around, and make it full of beautiful scenery and architecture, things to see and find, witty visual jokes, emergent traffic pileup lollercoasters, that sort of stuff. A reason for circuit races, more like.

  25. crackacraig says:

    i think the game should have followed up in a new city where razor and mia catches up with him and razor try’s to reclaim his spot as the top wanted racer, and we are the one to play as razor this time around, have a new blacklist, customization on another level, interesting story scenes, and surprised pop up characters from nfs carbon that helps razor bring him down and some that tells him what they are trying to plan on you, brutal fight scenes, and some cop scenes from cross

    that right there would be an awesome nfs most wanted return, not this burnout series crap