Are you excited for Need For Speed Unbound? Color me “cautiously optimistic,” because I could use a good old-fashioned open-world street racer back in my life, with cop chases, unsavory characters thrust into cliched plots and off-the-wall cosmetic customization potential. Today, developer Criterion Games chose to focus on the latter, posting a few short videos of to highlight how far you’ll be able to take your builds in the highly anticipated racer.
The answer is “very far.” In one of the clips, an ordinary BMW M1 is transformed into what I can only describe as a Procar crossed with a machine built for Pikes Peak, and several orders of magnitude more radical than either. The build sports no front bumper with a deep splitter and wheels offset so far past beyond the fenders, it almost puts Daytona USA’s Hornet to shame. Condolences to the keep-it-stock brigade, but I’m a fan.
And even that M1 is nothing compared to what’s done to a classic Defender pickup in the following clip, slammed to the ground with a chopped roof, a roll cage where the rear of the cab would be and twin turbos bursting through the hood. It’s unclear if these are piecemeal mods or part of complete kits that are applied as a package. I’d assume they all come together — it tends to work that way with aggressive, widebody mods in most games — but in any case, that Land Rover is easily more extreme than anything I’ve ever seen in NFS before.
Criterion is also teasing new rims — though the only ones shown are dinner plate-style turbofans that act as canvasses for further designs — and new decals that can be applied in the game’s livery editor. You can go full Bōsōzoku with exhausts, too, as the 240ZG above illustrates. But the biggest addition to the customization suite, arguably, is the ability to delete bumpers.
This is something that most games still don’t let you do. I’d venture a guess and say many manufacturers only reluctantly agreed, and a select few (such as one with a horse for an emblem) probably won’t play ball. For the vehicles that can benefit, it’ll have a profound effect. The mini-trailer shows how the previous-gen Subaru BRZ and R34 Skyline GT-R look fully modded sans rear bumpers, and the results are nice.
I had plenty of fun messing with builds in NFS Heat. Customization has been largely underserved in modern racers, especially compared to those halcyon days of street racing in the post-Fast & Furious 2000s. Look forward to losing hours in the garage when NFS Unbound releases on Dec. 2.