EA Canada held their Community Day event last week in Vancouver. 15 minutes away from where I live. I emailed them 5 days before the event looking for a contact at EA Canada (I had no prior knowledge of this event). They ignored me. I emailed them a few days later. They finally forwarded my email to the PR director of EA Canada. I asked him nicely if it was ever possible for me to come down to the offices for some hands on or eyes on time with the games as I recently moved to Vancouver. We'd like to have more indepth coverage of their games for the site so you readers could get a better idea of what to expact. He said "Sure! It's a little busy right now, so how about in November...maybe December?" Then I find out that the reason they're busy is because they're holding their Community Day event and have invited every rinky dink moronic two-bit video game website operator or their flunkies....and CCC just ain't invited. That was definitely a WTF moment.

From the sounds of it from the people who were far more priveledged than I to attend, I saved on gas. One attendee said that Black Box has attempted to go back to the root of the franchise but at the expense of everything Underground worked so hard to gain. There will be no Cop Mode, no night driving, no drift races, no car damage and only very basic car customization....and that all definitely sounds like "no fun". Having not attended, I can only assume this preview sounds like sour grapes, but we don't work like that here. I loved the Need For Speed franchise. Need For Speed 3: Hot Pursuit and its sequel are still two of my favorite arcade-style racing games of all time. I'm not sure what Black Box and EA are hoping to achieve by not delivering players their coveted "Cop Mode" but I've already read dozens of "I'm not buying this game" posts from outraged forum dwellers regarding the aforementioned absences.

Please keep in mind that I'm only reporting what I've heard. I wasn't in attendance so I don't have the luxury of the truth. Perhaps there will be cop chase mode, night racing, drift racing and more customization, but from what I've been told so far, I wouldn't bet on it. Let's all hope that changes.

Unless I hear differently and I'm really hoping that I do, this game just became Need For Speed: Least Wanted.

Preview by Gooseberry

EA announced today that Need for Speed Most Wanted, from the makers of the hit Need for Speed Underground franchise that has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, currently is under development at EA Canada. Combining the thrill of illicit street racing and tuner customization with the intensity of strategic police pursuits that rivals any Hollywood-style chase scene, Need for Speed Most Wanted challenges players to become the most notorious and elusive street racer.

“Out-race your opponents, evade cops and exploit the open world in Need for Speed Most Wanted; street racing doesn’t get any better than this,” said Larry LaPierre, senior producer, EA Canada. "Players instantly will feel the thrill of the ride as they hit the streets in an open world environment where drivers can tune their cars to compete against any class of vehicles or use their wits to out-fox the law to satisfy their need for speed.”

Need for Speed Most Wanted delivers a unique, fast-paced and gripping ride in the racing genre as players build up their Rap Sheet and street cred to move their way up the Black List to become the most wanted racer on the streets. Players will go head-to-head with the top drivers on the scene as well as strategically evade more than half dozen cops at any one time. Add in a dynamic open world, new gameplay and customization as well as tuners, supercars, muscles and sports cars and Need for Speed Most Wanted will be on every gamer’s “must-have” list.

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System: Xbox, PS2, PC
Dev: Black Box
Pub: EA
Released: Fall 2005
Players: 1 - 8
Preview by Vaughn