Despite featuring an open-world environment, Need for Speed Payback doesn't offer a multiplayer freeroam mode, much to the disappointment of fans. That will change sometime this year, as EA and developer Ghost Games have announced plans to add such a mode in a forthcoming update.
The official Need for Speed Twitter account confirmed the news, though it shared virtually no details. Online Freeroam mode will be released at some point in 2018--no specific date has been announced, as it remains in development. Once it's ready, it'll be available for free to all players on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Beyond that, we don't know what to expect or how soon it might arrive. As it stands, there is no freeroam support in multiplayer outside of a waiting room lobby feature, which players have used as a substitute in place of a proper option.
After the series took a year off in 2016, Payback was released in November. It focused on a more action-oriented, Fast and Furious-inspired style of gameplay and narrative. In our Need for Speed Payback review, critic Richard Wakeling laid out many of the game's issues, though the open world itself was called out as a highlight--making the absence of a freeroam mode a disappointing omission.