In less than a week gamers will be able to jump behind the wheel of some of the slickest makes and models of car and outrun the law in Need for Speed: Most Wanted. To celebrate the launch of Criterion’s first foray into the NFS franchise, a launch trailer has been released that similarly reveals some of the game’s accolades — those earned during various press events like E3 2012.

Unfortunately, as is the case with many a launch trailer (like, for example, the one for Halo 4) this footage is mostly comprised of pre-rendered car chases that are not indicative of the finished product. What’s that? This is gameplay footage? Well then, Criterion certainly has kept up their signature polish — and penchant for destruction — most recently seen in the Burnout series.

Joking aside, Need for Speed: Most Wanted does have a lot to offer the more casual racing fans in terms of its evolved multiplayer components and visual panache. While Criterion has moved on, there’s no denying many of the trademark elements of Burnout: Paradise are coming along with them.

Need for Speed Most Wanted Launch Trailer

Additionally, for fans that like do to a lot of their racing on-the-go (not in an actual vehicle of course) Criterion has also developed a Vita version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted that does its best to preserve the experience on the handheld. As Producer Matt Webster explains that was one of the main goals for the development team: to make the game look as close to the PS3 version as possible.

And thankfully, for the most part, that goal has been achieved — save for “traffic density and number of players online.” In fact, Webster believes that the asynchronous play in Most Wanted for the Vita will be “more important.”

“If you play the single-player game, and then play multiplayer, any Speed Points you earn in SP also drive your MP progression, and that’s true when you play the game on PS Vita too. Anything you earn on PS Vita carries across to the console version. It’s a unified scoring system…everything you do in the game earns Speed Points. Speed Points determine your position on the Most Wanted list. Am I outscoring my friends; have I reached the necessary score threshold to take on one of the Most Wanted drivers in the solo game; what speed level am I at in MP; what have I unlocked, and so on. I can push up my Speed Point level on PS3 multiplayer when I’m mobile with PS Vita, and vice versa.”

Webster also talked about the importance of keeping the Vita development of Most Wanted in-house, a byproduct of such a powerful handheld. The Vita has delivered some truly impressive visuals and game experiences, especially when a developer puts a lot of effort into getting the handheld version right, which Criterion did.

Need for Speed Most Wanted Vita Box Art

“It was something we wanted to do. It looked like the machine was going to be capable of delivering what we wanted to do. And the way that we work is very iterative — build, play, change, build, play, change — that’s how we work. When you go external it generally only works when you’ve got a finished game, otherwise there are too many moving parts.”

Need for Speed: Most Wanted on the major consoles and the Vita looks to be a fun, adrenaline-fueled ride courtesy of Criterion. But will it be able to contend with the Forza Horizon? We’ll find out soon.

Have you pre-ordered a copy of Need for Speed: Most Wanted? Will you be picking up the Vita version of the game?

Need for Speed: Most Wanted releases October 30, 2012 for the PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Vita.

Source: Electronic Arts, PlayStation Blog