Need for Speed Heat is goin' to Miami (well, a fictional version of it)

The team behind Need for Speed Heat says it's built the series' best world yet, and they've got receipts.. Palm City pulls inspiration from the vibrant city of Miami, with a dash of Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains thrown in there to add some elevation into the mix. Palm City will be a big change from Need for Speed Payback's arid deserts, offering players a chance to race around a neon city with mercurial weather and an unparalleled nightlife.

The official EA post outlining the new world (aptly titled 'Under the Hood') goes into detail about how Miami's volatile weather served as inspiration when building Palm City: "While we were location-scouting Miami, we saw crazy weather - blazing sunshine then torrential rain then bright sunshine - all in the space of a few minutes. We loved the idea of bringing this to the game, so we built a full dynamic weather system. You get a range of changing conditions as you play, and it was a great excuse to wash the streets down and go big on night neons, wet cars and reflective roads."

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

But Miami (and all of Florida) is notoriously flat, which offers little in terms of sweeping vistas overlooking an entire city. So the team pulled in some inspo from Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains, centering Palm City amongst sprawling countryside. The developers "wanted a big city location that could deliver dense urban action and open world cop chases" in a similar vein to fan favorites Need for Speed Most Wanted '05 and Need for Speed Underground. Need for Speed Heat will be chock full of environmental ways to shake the 5-0: ramps and billboards, back-alleys, gas stations, and backcountry routes. All of this, plus 62 more miles of road than Need for Speed Payback, crammed into a smaller footprint. 

Need for Speed Heat is also giving you more incentive to explore, including smashing through billboards and neon signs and collecting graffiti tags and street art that you can then turn into custom car wraps. Finding all of the collectibles in one of 18 districts will give you a package of customization items, and if you find all of the global collectibles, you get a car.

The latest iteration in the Need for Speed franchise means to pull from the best parts of its predecessors, like the aforementioned cop chases and the addition of multiple play areas in the same vein as Need for Speed Payback's airfield. High speed circuits, industrial time trials, off-roading in a quarry - you'll get it all. 

Need for Speed Heat drops on November 8 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. 

Be your own Dominic Toretto with our list of the best racing games. Or prepare for the game itself with our Need For Speed Heat tips!

Alyssa Mercante

Alyssa Mercante is an editor and features writer at GamesRadar based out of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to entering the industry, she got her Masters's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University with a dissertation focusing on contemporary indie games. She spends most of her time playing competitive shooters and in-depth RPGs and was recently on a PAX Panel about the best bars in video games. In her spare time Alyssa rescues cats, practices her Italian, and plays soccer.