The Make and Model of Virtual Cars in NFS: Most Wanted

November 10, 2012

Perhaps one of the most curious topics in racing game development is the make and model of virtual cars. Or more precisely, whether they’re of any make and model at all. Depending on the content of a game, particularly whether or not cars are going to be smashed, crashed and destroyed, real world cars may not make an appearance, as manufacturers disapprove of seeing their four wheeled beasts crushed into digital scrap metal. Kind of ironic, when you think about it. Surely the inherent attraction to all racing games is the chance to get behind the wheel of ludicrously expensive and super fast cars from BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, and more. Fantasy made reality, or at least as close as it can get within the confines of your lounge room.

Criterion know the absence of real world models well enough, largely due to the Burnout series. You think those machine makers want to see their pride and joy smashed into concrete barriers head on at 500km/h? Not likely. But lately, things have been a little different. Ever since Criterion got control of the Need for Speed franchise they’ve taken a turn. No longer shackled by fabricated brand names and unidentifiable car models, they’re working with real manufacturers and real designs. And with Need for Speed: Most Wanted they’re not planning on breaking the trend. Check out the video below.

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For Need for Speed: Most Wanted, a re-imagining of the very original Most Wanted from 2005, Criterion is drawing upon a huge pool of assorted vehicles ranging from every day cars to the most exotic and luxury sports models. For the former category both Ford and Mitsubishi (among others) have contributed recognisable models, including the Lancer Evolution X and numerous Focus productions. Nissan also make an appearance, with their Versa and Frontier makes, each accurately modelled and programmed to function just as they would in the real world.

What will interest plenty of vehicle fans is Criterion’s choice to include as-of-yet unreleased models. For example, Alfa Romero’s 4C sports concept has been modelled and programmed into Most Wanted, despite the car itself not entering production until May 2013, after which only a limited 2,500 units will be available to consumers per year. Ford is also contributing a 2013 model, the Police Intercepter. Based on the Ford Explorer, the Intercept is set to only be sold to police agencies. Though conceptually different, both the 4C Concept and Intercepter give gamers the opportunity to race around in cars not available to the general public. Not yet, at least, and not unless you’ve got big money to throw around.

This is, of course, only a sample of what Need for Speed: Most Wanted is offering, but the point remains: when it comes to going hands-on, virtually, with a wide variety of real world makes and models of high class vehicles, a very compelling case can be made for Most Wanted being the most thorough and car packed title of 2012. And for that reason is worth a look from every auto enthusiest.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, with a Wii U version scheduled for some time next year. A mobile version for iOS and Android is also available, and developed by Australia’s very own Fire Monkey.

This is a sponsored post but opinions are my own.