Announced back in May of this year, Need For Speed: Rivals is the first NFS title to feature Gothenburg’s (Sweden’s second-largest city) own Ghost Games behind the steering wheel. The former Criterion-led franchise arrives this holiday season boasting an an-all new open-world environment, as well as a fresh take on classic cops vs crook capers.

Lining up alongside the likes of Drive Club & Forza 5, NFS: Rivals is going cross-platform in its bid to outdo the one-console competition, appearing on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PS3 and the PC. Far from flooding the market with inferior vehicles however, EA is hoping Rivals‘ exciting new features will take this model straight to top of the line.

Speaking to EA’s own ForTheWin web series this month, producer Leanne Loombe shared some interesting new tidbits on the game, including the identities of several of the game’s key ‘pursuit tech’ upgrades. Of the 11 unlockable abilities said to be on offer, 7 are now known. They include:

  • The EMP Blast
  • Shockwave Attack
  • Roadblock
  • Signal Jammer
  • Helicopter Support
  • Nitrous Boosts
  • Spike Strips

Like many of the game’s features, access to these tech upgrades is dependent upon both a player’s allegiance and income. Police officers operate their own fleet of vehicles — from regular patrol cars to tougher ‘enforcer’ and ‘undercover’ types, while regular ‘racers’ take their pick from a suite of suped-up sportscars. Also, whereas cops earn their in-game currency or ‘speedpoints’ in unison i.e. by taking down a fleeing suspect together, racers are left to fend for themselves, earning Guitar Hero-style multipliers for every continued moment of freedom.

As displayed in the game’s latest trailer (available above), large point hauls will allow players to rank up, and pimp out their vehicles with much greater speed, though – as with GTA 5‘s recently announced multiplayer mode — continued evasion does carry with it a significant risk. As Loombe explained, drivers must ensure to ‘bank’ their cash at a designated checkpoint area every so often, or risk losing the entire tally in one disastrous bust.

Despite this sense of ever-present danger, the producer also stressed the game’s focus on “play[ing] the way you wanna play,” a factor further explored by lead designer James Mouat.

‘we designed careers for both Cop and racer players that would give players lots of content that they could choose when, where and how they completed each path. […] Players are free to mix and match these styles of play at each step through the game’s progression system, meaning that every player will have a unique career path and unique experience.’

NFS Rivals Trailer Header

Need For Speed: Rivals is the first franchise title to feature Ferrari cars at launch for over 10 years. The game’s confirmed list of vehicles includes:

  • Police Cars: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Koenigsegg Agera, Nissan GT-R Black Edition (Ultimate Cop Pack pre-order item)
  • Racer Rides:  Ferrari f12berlinetta, LaFerrari (F70), Ferrari 458 Spider, BMW M3 (E92) GTS, SRT Viper TA (Ultimate Racer Pack pre-order item)
  • Unknown Side: Dodge Challenger SRT8, Porsche 911 GT3

*The Aston Martin Vanquish is the only car to be confirmed as both a police and racer vehicle, having won the so-called ‘King of the Streets’ poll back at E3.

Gamers who pre-order Need For Speed: Rivals will also receive the ‘Ultimate Cop Car Pack,’ at no extra cost. The set includes:

  • The Nissan GT-R Black Edition Pursuit Car
  • One high-end pursuit tech ability
  • A custom body finish

Additional pre-order incentives are also available from these participating retailers.

  • ‘The Digital Deluxe Offer,’ featuring the ‘digital revolution’ finish (BMW M3), a starting ‘speedpoints’ bonus, the Porsche 911 GT3 ‘Track Day’ finish & a downloadable copy of Burnout: Paradise (Origin Store)
  • ‘The Ultimate Racer Pack,’ comprising the SRT Viper TA sports car, the colourful dream (read-petrol colored) finish and a starting ‘speedpoints’ bonus (Gamestop)
  • The Aston Martin Vanquish VIP ‘Matte Kit’ Finish (
  • The Dodge Challenger SRT8 ‘Classic Muscle Car’ Finish (Best Buy)

Will you be picking up NFS: Rivals on release? How does the title stack up against its own next-gen rivals, Drive Club & Forza 5? Is the Need for Speed franchise driving around in circles, or heading in a bold new direction? Have your say in the comments below.

Need For Speed: Rivals will arrive on November 19, 2013 (North America) & November 21, 2013 (Europe), for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. PS4 and Xbox One versions will launch alongside their respective consoles.

Follow Sam on Twitter @GamingGoo.