Need for Speed: Most Wanted (commonly abbreviated to as NFS: MW or simply Most Wanted) is a 2012 open-world racing video game, developed by British games developer Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts. Announced on 4 June 2012, during EA's E3 press conference, Most Wanted is the nineteenth title in the long-running Need for Speed series and was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, iOS and Android, beginning in North America on 30 October 2012, with a Wii U version following on 14 March 2013 under the title Need for Speed: Most Wanted U. The game picked up on the Most Wanted IP, as opposed to the Hot Pursuit reboot that Criterion developed previously.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted takes on the gameplay style of the first Most Wanted title in the Need for Speed franchise. Most Wanted allows players to select one car and compete against other racers in three types of events: Sprint races, which involves traveling from one point of the city to another, Circuit races, each having two or three laps total and Speed runs, which involve traversing through a course in the highest average speed possible. There is also the Ambush races, which start with the player surrounded by cops and tasked to evade their pursuit as quickly as possible. Cops are integrated into certain racing sessions, in which the police deploy vehicles and tactics to stop the player's car and arrest the player, like the original Most Wanted. At each event there are two upgrades that can be unlocked for the current car, one of them is unlocked for players who manage to finish at least in second while the other is only obtained by winning.