In the spirit of the title's late-1990s classics, the 2010 PlayStation 3 edition of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit revolves around high-speed car chases through winding countryside highways and bustling village streets, giving players license to drive as both escaping speedsters and pursuing police. The game is played in the large, open-world of fictional Seacrest County, which features coastal, desert, forest, and mountain regions for diverse driving challenges. The high-def-console and home computer versions of Need for Speed use an "Autolog" feature, which can connect in the background to allow for online multiplayer racing, and which also gives single-player racers the opportunity to compare in-game accomplishments and statistics with friends across the network.
In the game's main "Career" mode, virtual drivers have the chance to roll as both racers and law enforcement officers, gradually developing a reputation, gaining "Bounty" points, and unlocking additional challenges and high-performance automobiles. Players can also earn and use special weapons and equipment to help them in their pursuits. The high-def versions of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit are developed by Criterion Studios, creator of the popular Burnout series of road-racing games.