Need for Speed is at its best under a neon glow, and the latest entry is taking the series back to its fluorescent roots. In a new launch trailer, Need for Speed Heat (opens in new tab) dazzles in its urban aesthetic; pink smoke spewing from tailpipes, LED screens throwing out blinding shades of pink and blue, and twisting streets glinting wet. Heat is being hailed a potential return to form for a franchise many feared had steered far from its identity with recent entries like 2017's Need for Speed Payback, which is set in a fictional version of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Need for Speed Heat quite aptly takes place in a fictional take on Miami, Florida called Palm City, where a busy city entrenched in city mod culture make Heat at the very least look more like a Need for Speed game than recent entries. And according to our own Justin Towell's preview (opens in new tab), Heat is shaping up to be more than a pretty makeover for the Need for Speed franchise, finding plenty of joy in Heat's new day-to-night cycle, deep modding system, and of course gorgeous cityscapes.
EA recently shared some of their inspirations behind the world-building process for Need for Speed, arguing that Palm City is their best world yet (opens in new tab). They know fans want a vibe closer to what we experienced in series-defining classics like Underground 2 and Most Wanted, and they're betting on Palm City to deliver.
"We started looking for a setting that would feel both familiar to players and unique to Need for Speed. Miami gave us all the right ingredients - a vibrant city with a multicultural blend of music, cool street art and stunning night neons. It felt pretty fresh for a Need for Speed game, and we also knew immediately that it could deliver that classic NFS look," EA wrote about Heat.