Need for Speed: Unbound goes full anime in first official trailer

Need for Speed: Unbound
(Image credit: EA)

Update, October 6: EA has officially launched the first Need for Speed: Unbound trailer, confirming the game's hybrid, anime-inspired art style.

Unbound will feature realistic car models and city streets, overlaid with cartoonish smoke and particle effects. Human characters also have a cel-shaded anime aesthetic.

As leaked store pages suggested, Need for Speed: Unbound officially launches on December 2, 2022, though pre-orders will get you three days of early access - effectively meaning that the game launches on November 29.

The game will be available on Xbox Series X and S, PS5, and PC via Steam, Epic, and the EA app for $69.99 USD. No old-gen versions have been announced.

According to the official description, the game is set in a place called Lakeshore City, when a "robbery at a family auto-shop tears two friends apart and marks the rise from rookie to top racer on a journey to win the ultimate street race and reclaim the priceless car that was stolen."

You'll be betting on races, outdriving cops, and, of course, drifting throughout the game. A$AP Rocky will apparently be an in-game character you can race against in a special series of events. You'll be able to customize your car and your character with cosmetic items. Unbound will also include multiplayer, including a free roam option.

Original story, October 5: A bunch of Need for Speed: Unbound screenshots have leaked through a retail listing ahead of the game's official reveal, confirming rumors that the upcoming racer would feature an anime-inspired aesthetic.

A listing for the PS5 version of Need for Speed: Unbound appeared (appropriately) on a Japanese retailer called Neowing earlier today, brought to the English-speaking public's attention by Gematsu. The listing features four screenshots, depicting the shiny cars on rain-slicked streets you'd expect from the series, as well as several images of human characters rendered in a cel-shaded, cartoonish aesthetic.

Rumors earlier this year suggested that the new Need for Speed would combine photorealistic cars with anime-inspired overlays, and these screenshots certainly seem to back that idea up. Plus there's a weeb-friendly waifu paintjob, the likes of which usually aren't seen outside of Forza livery editors.

A machine translation of that store page suggests that the game will be heavily focused on tuning your own custom cars. But Unbound's style gets more space in the copy than its gameplay, with the page breaking down its visuals as well as a soundtrack featuring the likes of A$AP Rocky.

The listing suggests the game will launch on December 2, 2022. EA's financial reports have listed a new Need for Speed game for launch this year, though the official reveal of the game is not due to happen until tomorrow, October 6. Early reports have suggested that it's going to be a next-gen exclusive.

For more ways to take the wheel ahead of the new Need for Speed's launch, check out our guide to the best racing games out there.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.