Electronic Arts/Criterion Games.

Need for Speed™ Unbound


We were delighted when Electronic Arts and Criterion Games contacted us to help with the previsualization for Need for Speed Unbound (2022) – the latest iteration of its iconic blockbuster racing game series. Our work on this initial project was so well-received that EA expanded the scope of our partnership to provide the creatives for the boot sequence in the game and the official trailer for the NFS Unbound Vol.2 DLC. Here’s how we worked closely with EA’s teams in Europe and North America to help them with the development of the game and its marketing assets.


Brief #1 - Motion Pre-Viz

Create motion pre-viz that brings life to the transition from the garage through the virtual space and into the calendar area. This area of the game operates as the hub for players between races, where they can choose and tune vehicles and select a new race. With this in mind, it was important to maintain the feeling of motion and energy throughout the sequence.

The Process

Using the static images of the cars from the game, we created a consistent anchor point that seamlessly carried the player from the garage to the calendar.

We used the game’s “creative subversion” signature style graffiti as the foundation for our approach. This eclectic mix of urban styles allowed us to express the subversive tone of the game even when players were parked up in Lakeshore City, rather than hurtling around it. We added depth and excitement to the stationary car image as it transitions between screens, which creates a dynamic effect for the player and keeps the momentum rolling until the next race.

To add a touch of flair, we gave the calendar its own personality by using similar graffiti to mark off days as the player progressed. We also introduced race-specific icons on each day, so the UI instantly told the player what type of race was coming up and at what time of day.

The Result

The switch between lanes is smoother than a 5-star rated Uber driver. The player transitions seamlessly between screens by keeping the graffiti aesthetic and using the car as the point of reference throughout. They are also treated to crystal clear UI that keeps them informed and in the game without disruption.

Brief #2 - Boot sequence


Our next ask was to create a unique, eye-catching boot sequence for the very start of the game that creates anticipation and excitement! This initial visual sets the tone for the action that follows and is designed to not only give players a taste of Need for Speed Unbound’s world, but to spark their excitement about hitting the streets and outsmarting the cops.

The Process

Our first task was to bring the logos for EA, Criterion and Frostbite to life in a stylish and urban way, aligned with the game’s branding. We used retro and current logos for the companies and spliced them with pieces from some of the graffiti artists whose work can be found in NFS Unbound, such as Steve Bravo and Sent Rock.

No logo style could remain on-screen and dominant for too long, otherwise, the effect wouldn’t work. We worked diligently to ensure each unique logo hit a short and sweet beat. It’s a blink-and-you-’ll-miss-it approach that demands a second, third and fourth look.

We then transitioned to a shot of the mysterious characters from the game to spark intrigue before the climax and a glimpse of A$AP Rocky’s custom Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 1988 dramatically wheel-spinning off the start line.

The Result

The attract mode establishes the vibe of the game from the off. Its combination of stylised logos, intriguing characters, a sense of speed and soundtrack beats gives the player a definitive snapshot of the action on the roads ahead.

Brief #3 - Vol. 2 DLC


Next up: we were briefed to showcase their first game content update to engage the current player base and excited those who are curious about NFS Unbound.

The Process

By this point, we had developed a great partnership with EA and established robust workflows. This solid relationship and clear lines of communication meant we could coordinate on the project with multiple teams in various time zones. The idea was to showcase the Vol. 2 content irresistibly.

Criterion and EA shared their list of features, which we cherrypicked to deliver the most impact. The headline feature was police chases coming to the online mode, so we weaved in a light narrative with an escalating sense of drama as a group of racers outsmarts the cops.

As we got to work, we undertook all-important location scouting around the game’s setting, Lakeshore City, to find the most exciting sections of the map. Once selected, we directed multiplayer capture sessions to record the most dramatic sequences and shots that would serve the creative.

There’s a subtle, yet impactful narrative running through the trailer from start to finish. We decided on an escalating situation where more cops in bigger and faster cars join the pursuit of the hero racers as the trailer continues. Set to the frenetic beats of Steff Da Campo & SMACK’s Renegade Master remix from the game’s soundtrack, we used the in-game “heat meter” and police radio chatter to punctuate the escalating madness of the chase.

By blowing up the in-game heat graphic as the chase ramps up, we were able to pull the viewer along on the journey and keep them locked in until the climax. The trailer builds tension from the off and delivers a Michael Bay-style finale as the one of the cop cars is taken out by a train.

The Result

Working in tandem with EA Marcom and Criterion development teams, we delivered a fitting creative for the Vol. 2 DLC, delighting the client and audience alike. The core of the trailer provides the breathless action synonymous with the series, while the ample dusting of content throughout, such as new cars, map locations, victory poses, and more, encapsulates the sheer amount of extra content the update brings. We were honoured to continue our partnership by producing the Need for Speed Unbound – VOL 3 Content Update Trailer, which you can check out here. Hint: It’s also very cool.