Need for Speed Unbound announced, racing onto Xbox Series X|S and PC this year

Image of Need for Speed Unbound.
(Image credit: Electronic Arts | Microsoft Store)

What you need to know

  • The Need for Speed franchise is one of the most well-known arcade racing series of all time.
  • Recent entries have failed to truly win fans over, but the latest game is looking to reverse the process.
  • Need for Speed Unbound has been revealed as heading to Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and PC on Dec. 2, 2022.
  • The reveal trailer showcases classic arcade racing gameplay, dramatic visuals, over-the-top car customization, and more.

A plethora of arcade racing games have come and gone through the years, but one franchise has persisted: Need for Speed. This legendary racing series dominated in the eras of the original Xbox and the Xbox 360, but hasn't enjoyed the same level of success during modern generations of video games. On Thursday, Electronic Arts announced the latest entry in the long-running franchise, developed by Criterion Games, that will attempt to revitalize the classic formula once again.

Revealed on EA's website, Need for Speed Unbound will tell another "underdog" story, in which players will start at the bottom as an unknown, inexperienced street racer. You check out the game's reveal trailer below:

In Need for Speed Unbound, players will attempt to dominate The Grand, a four-week street racing tournament swarming with legendary, skilled racers, arsenals of custom cars, and mountains of cash. To rise through the ranks, players will need to earn cash quickly, challenge progressively more challenging racers, secure faster rides, and avoid the cops.

The reveal trailer shows upgraded visuals over the previous entry optimized for current-gen consoles and PC, complete with over-the-top animations and visuals that aim to bring graffiti to life. The trailer also hints at in-depth car and player customization, with the game's store page hinting at hundreds of options from which players can choose. We don't know all the details of Need for Speed Unbound, yet (EA hints at future announcements coming in the near future on its website), but we do know that Criterion Games is developing separate single-player and multiplayer campaigns for the title.

It's unclear if Need for Speed Unbound has what it takes to capture the magic of its legendary predecessors and become one of Xbox's best racing games, but the excitement from the NFS community is palpable, judging from reactions to the reveal trailer. Need for Speed Unbound is a current-gen exclusive title, meaning it's heading to Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and PC. Players will be able to get their hands on it on Dec. 2, 2022, although preorders of the "Palace Edition" of Need for Speed Unbound will net players three days of early access.

Image (opens in new tab)

Need for Speed Unbound

The latest installment of the Need for Speed franchise features an epic street racing tournament, dramatic visuals, over-the-top customization, and much more to entice arcade racing fans everywhere.

Preorder from: Xbox (Standard) (opens in new tab) | Xbox (Palace) (opens in new tab)

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer primarily focused on covering the latest news, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life, and have been with Windows Central and its sister sites since 2019. While originally brought on to write about all things Minecraft, Zachary has since expanded to write about practically everything that Windows Central covers. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.