A free-to-play version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted has just appeared on the Chinese App Store, complete with Real Racing 3's innovative Time Shifted Multiplayer mode.
Entitled Need for Speed: Most Wanted Online, the game appears to be following in the tyre tracks of the newly released - and highly controversial - Real Racing 3 by offering a socially slanted freemium version of a traditionally premium experience.
In terms of what we can gather from the game's official site (which is written in Chinese), players can participate in a four-tier career mode and unlock up to 30 different luxury cars.
What we find particularly interesting is that this 'online' iteration of Need for Speed: Most Wanted incorporates Time Shifted Multiplayer (TSM), a feature which allows you to race against your friends even when said buddies are offline.
So, unless there's a huge negative reaction to TSM (we have voiced some concerns regarding the AI of Real Racing 3's TSM drivers), it looks like it could well become a staple of future EA racers.
Who knows: it could even represent the future of mobile racing. The only future, in fact.
We have contacted EA to find out whether Need for Speed: Most Wanted Online will be accelerating into the west (or onto Google Play) any time soon. When we get a reply, we'll update you.
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