Need for Speed: The Run is the most recent game in the long-running franchise of the same name, having been developed by EA Black Box (also responsible for Need for Speed: Carbon). The game's release date was November 17th 2011, and marks the first time that the Need for Speed franchise will offer on-foot sequences in a story driven environment. This is helped along by the engine the game runs on; DICE's Frostbite 2.0, which also powers Battlefield 3.
The concept behind the game is similar to the Gumball Rally, being an illicit street-race running across the United States with competition coming from law enforcement. The game takes this further though, expanding upon the protagonist and his reason for being involved in the illegal races.
Need for Speed: The Run has a prominent story mode dubbed "The Run". The player takes on the role of Jack, a man who owes too much money to the mob, money that he knows he won't be able to pay. The player must take Jack through a cross country race from San Francisco to New York in hopes of winning money that will get him out of debt.
The game opens with Jack knocked unconscious in a red Porsche that's being lowered into a car crusher. The mob have put him there, wishing to permanently end his racing career, as he owes them too much money. Jack wakes up in time and manages to escape the mob and meet with his lady friend (voiced by Christina Hendricks) who offers to help him get out of debt by partaking in a cross country race where the winner takes home 25 000 000 dollars, more than enough to pay off the mob. Jack naturally accepts, is hooked up with a fast car and proceeds to escape San Francisco just as the cops close the city down.
The story is then told through cut scenes and quick time events. Jack has to be in a particular position in the race by the time he reaches particular cities. He has to be in 150th place by the time he reaches Vegas, 50th by the time he reaches Chicago and (naturally) 1st by the time he reaches New York City. Naturally, he makes all of these objectives. During the trip, he faces off against certain characters such as a boxer who's put all his money into the race, a model and her childhood friend who's just in the race for the thrills, a family man who needs the money for his family (he races with his crew) and finally the mob, who constantly chases him throughout the game.
The story climaxes in New York, where Jack defeats the mob and comes in first, giving the mob its money. Despite winning the race, Jack decides to take part in yet another one and the game ends.
Like Need for Speed: Undercover, Need for Speed: The Run has an in depth story about a driver par taking in a high stakes, illicit cross country race from San Francisco to New York while being chased by the police and the mob.
The game is the first in the NFS franchise to include on foot sequences. However, the game doesn't give you full control of your character's movements, instead the on foot sequences are quick time events that resemble the ones found in Heavy Rain. The game asks you to press multiple face buttons at a time and if you fail, the scene keeps on going, giving you chances to redeem yourself. An early example of this can be found in a on foot chase sequence in Chicago. If you miss a button prompt, the police officer you are fighting with will put you into a choke hold, though you can escape this by pressing a button rapidly. Obviously though, due to the game's nature, races are also included as the core behind the gameplay.
Driving in the game is designed in a cinematic fashion, meaning the camera angle will be set-up to work with the events on-screen as well. In the demo an example of this came during the event involving the avalanche, where the camera was positioned to capitalize upon the avalanche's graphical design stemming from the Frostbite 2.0 engine, which is well known due to its highly-detailed destruction and graphical capabilities.
Autolog makes its return in The Run, letting you compare times with your friends and sending you messages when a friend has beaten you. It also shows you in real time during a race how you're doing compared to your friends.This leaves players, theoretically at least, in constant competition with their friends as much as with the AI.
The cars offered as pre-order bonuses are the older vehicles from the Most Wanted series, with their iconic designs transferred to the newer model of the same car. This is most obvious with the M3 GTS replacing the M3 GTR, and the Boss 302 Mustang being the modernized replacement of the Mustang Razor drives at the opening of Most Wanted, instead of the 2005 GT model.
EA announced that a demo would be released on October 18, 2011 in North America(October 19th in Europe). It remained playable until November 1st, when it was disabled. The demo contained the Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 and the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S. Like with the Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit demo released previously, the Lamborghini is the only car available unless you refer a friend to the demo and unlock the use of the Porsche.