Need for Speed

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Need for Speed
Nfs-logo.png
The current Need for Speed logo.
Genres Racing
Developers Pioneer Productions, EA Canada, EA Seattle, Eden Studios, Pocketeers, EA Black Box, EA Vancouver, Exient Entertainment, Firebrand Games, Piranha Games, Slightly Mad Studios, EA Bright Light, Criterion Games, Ghost Games
Publishers Electronic Arts
Platforms Sega Saturn, MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, 3DO, Zeebo, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Mobile game, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Game Boy Advance
First release The Need for Speed
August 31, 1994
Latest release Need for Speed (film)
March 14, 2014
Official website www.needforspeed.com

Need for Speed (NFS) is a series of racing video games published by Electronic Arts (EA) and developed by several studios including the Canadian company EA Black Box and the British company Criterion Games.

The series released its first title, The Need for Speed in 1994. Initially, it was designed exclusively for use on fifth generation video game consoles, but later on was reworked to be able to be used on all seventh generation consoles by 2008. All members of the series consist of racing cars on various tracks, with some titles including police pursuits in races. Since Need for Speed: Underground, the series has integrated car body customization into gameplay.

Need for Speed is the most successful racing video game series in the world, and one of the most successful video game franchises of all time. As of October 2009, over 140 million copies of games in the series have been sold.[1]

In June 2012, following Black Box's restructuring, British developer Criterion Games announced that it was in full control of the Need for Speed franchise.[2] However, in August 2013, Swedish and British developers Ghost Games, Ghost Games UK and Criterion Games joined forces for the foreseeable future of the Need for Speed series. At the time, Ghost Games UK staff consisted of 80% of former Criterion Games employees.[3][4]

Gameplay[edit]

Almost all of the games in the NFS series employ the same fundamental rules and similar mechanics: the player controls a race car in a variety of races, the goal being to win the race. In the tournament/career mode, the player must win a series of races in order to unlock vehicles and tracks. Before each race, the player chooses a vehicle, and has the option of selecting either an automatic or manual transmission. All games in the series have some form of multiplayer mode allowing players to race one another via a split screen, a LAN or the Internet.

Although the games share the same name, their tone and focus can vary significantly. For example, in some games the cars can suffer mechanical and visual damage, while in other games the cars cannot be damaged at all; in some games the software simulates real-car behavior (physics), while in others there are more forgiving physics.

With the release of Need for Speed: Underground, the series shifted from racing sports cars on scenic point-to-point tracks, to an import/tuner subculture, and street racing in an urban setting. To date, this theme has remained prevalent in most of the following games.

Need for Speed: Shift and its sequel took a simulator approach to racing, featuring closed-circuit racing on real tracks like the Nürburgring and the Laguna Seca, and fictional street circuits in cities like London and Chicago. The car lists include a combination of exotics, sports cars, and tuners in addition to special race cars.

Most of the games in the franchise include police pursuits in some form or other. In some of the games featuring police pursuit, the player can play as either the felon or the cop.[5] The concepts of drifting and dragging were introduced in Need for Speed: Underground. These new mechanics are included in the tournament/career mode aside from the regular street races. In drift races, the player must defeat other racers by totaling the most points, earned by the length and timing of the drift made by the player's vehicle.[6] In drag races, the player must finish first to win the race, though if the player crashes into an obstacle, the race ends.[6]

The concept of car tuning evolved with each new game, from focusing mainly on the mechanics of the car to including how the car looks. Each game has car tuning which can set options for items like ABS, traction control), or downforce, or for upgrading parts like the engine or gearbox. Visual tuning of the player's car becomes important in tournament/career mode after the release of Need for Speed: Underground 2, when the appearance is rated from zero to ten points. When a car attains a high enough visual rating, the vehicle is eligible to be on the cover of a fictional magazine.[7]

Like all racing games, the Need for Speed series features an list of cars, modeled and named after actual cars. Cars in the franchise are divided into four categories: exotic cars, muscle cars, tuners, and special vehicles.[8] Exotic cars feature high performance, expensive cars like the Lamborghini Murciélago, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford GT; muscle cars refer to the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and the Chevrolet Camaro; while tuner cars are cars like the Nissan Skyline and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. The special vehicles are civilian and police cars that are available for use in some games, such as the Ford Crown Victoria in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010 video game) and garbage trucks, fire engines and taxis in Need for Speed: Carbon.[8]

Originally the series took place in international settings, such as race tracks in Australia, Europe, and Africa.[9] Beginning with Underground, the series has taken place in fictional metropolitan cities.[10] The first game featured traffic on "head to head" mode, while later games traffic can be toggled on and off, and starting with Underground, traffic is a fixed obstacle.[10]

Development[edit]

The Need for Speed series was originally developed by Distinctive Software, a video game studio based in Vancouver, Canada. Prior to Electronic Arts' purchase of the company in 1991, it had created popular racing games such as Stunts and Test Drive II: The Duel. After the purchase, the company was renamed Electronic Arts (EA) Canada. The company capitalized on its experience in the domain by developing the Need for Speed series in late 1992.[11] EA Canada continued to develop and expand the Need for Speed franchise up to 2002, when another Vancouver-based gaming company, named Black Box Games, was contracted to continue the series with Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2.[12] EA Black Box has been the primary series developer on a yearly cycle from 2002-08. In 2009, EA brought in Slightly Mad Studios, due to sagging sales, and they released Need for Speed: Shift, and EA's own UK-based company Criterion Games came with Hot Pursuit in 2010. In 2011, Slightly Mad Studios released a sequel to Shift, Shift 2: Unleashed and EA Black Box released Need for Speed: The Run.

Series overview[edit]

There have been 20 games released in the Need for Speed series. Six games were developed by EA Canada, two by Eden Games and two by Criterion Games.

All games of the Need for Speed-series by system
Title Year PC PS3 X360 Wii PS2 Xbox GCN PS1 iOS Mobile PSP
PSVita
NDS
3DS
GBA Others Developer Comments
The Need for Speed 1994 Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 3DO, Saturn Pioneer Studios
EA Canada
3DO version was the first version to be released
Need for Speed II 1997 Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A EA Canada
EA Seattle
Prototypes and showcars available.
NFS III: Hot Pursuit 1998 Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A EA Canada
EA Seattle
NFS: High Stakes 1999 Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A EA Canada
EA Seattle
Road Challenge (Europe, Brazil)
NFS: Porsche Unleashed 2000 Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes N/A Eden Games
EA Canada
Pocketeers
Porsche 2000 (Europe), Porsche (Germany, Latin America)
NFS: Hot Pursuit 2 2002 Yes N/A N/A N/A Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A EA Black Box
EA Seattle
NFS: Underground 2003 Yes N/A N/A N/A Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes NDS Yes N/A EA Black Box
NFS: Underground 2 2004 Yes N/A N/A N/A Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A Yes PSP1 Yes NDS Yes N/A EA Canada
NFS: Most Wanted 2005 Yes N/A2 Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes PSP Yes NDS Yes N/A EA Black Box
NFS: Carbon 2006 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A Yes Yes PSP Yes NDS Yes Zeebo EA Canada
EA Black Box
NFS: ProStreet 2007 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes Yes PSP Yes NDS N/A N/A EA Black Box
NFS: Undercover 2008 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A Yes Yes Yes PSP Yes NDS N/A Windows Mobile & Phone EA Vancouver
Exient Entertainment
Firebrand Games
Piranha Games
NFS: Shift 2009 Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes Yes Yes PSP N/A N/A Windows Mobile, Android Slightly Mad Studios
EA Bright Light
NFS: Nitro 2009 N/A N/A N/A Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes NDS N/A N/A Firebrand Games
EA Montreal
Casual game, Nintendo exclusive, an improved version of the DS edition of the game called Need for Speed: Nitro-X, was released for DSiWare.
NFS: World 2010 Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A EA Singapore Free-to-play MMO racing game
NFS: Hot Pursuit 2010 Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A Windows Phone, Android Criterion Games Wii version by Exient Entertainment
Shift 2: Unleashed 2011 Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Slightly Mad Studios Also known as Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed
NFS: The Run 2011 Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A No3 Yes N/A Yes 3DS N/A N/A EA Black Box Wii/3DS versions by Firebrand Games
NFS: Most Wanted 2012 Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes Yes Yes Vita N/A N/A Wii U, Android Criterion Games The Wii U version was called Need for Speed: Most Wanted U, it was released in 2013.
NFS: Rivals 2013 Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A PS4, XOne Ghost Games
Criterion Games

^1 The PSP version was called Need for Speed: Underground Rivals, it was released in 2005.
^2 This game was not released on the PS3, but the PS2 version is available as a digital download on PlayStation Network as of 2012.
^3 The iOS version was canceled due to low sales of The Run.

Installments[edit]

The Need for Speed (1994)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (SAT) 95.00%[13]
(PC) 83.00%[14]
(PS) 68.50%[15]

The original Need for Speed was released for 3DO in 1994 with versions released for the PC (DOS) (1995), PlayStation and Saturn (1996) following shortly afterwards. The Need for Speed and its Special Edition were the only games in the series to support DOS, with subsequent releases for the PC run only within Windows.

The first installment of the NFS was one of only two serious attempts by the series to provide a realistic simulation of car handling elements (the other being Porsche Unleashed). Electronic Arts teamed up with automotive magazine Road & Track to match vehicle behaviour, including the sounds made by the vehicles' gear control levers. The game contained vehicle data with spoken commentary, several "magazine style" images of each car, and short video-clips highlighting the vehicles set to music.

Most cars and tracks are available at the beginning of the game, and the objective is to unlock the remaining locked content by winning tournaments. This version featured chases by police cars, a popular theme throughout the series, and also featured an obnoxious opponent who taunted the player if the computer won the race or the player is arrested.

Another version, called The Need for Speed: Special Edition, was released only for the PC in 1996. It featured support for DirectX 2 and TCP/IP networking, two new tracks, and time of day variations for most tracks.

Need for Speed II (1997)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS1) 71.39%[16]
(PC) 68.25%[17]
Metacritic (PS1) 71/100[18]

Need for Speed II (NFS II) featured some rare and exotic vehicles, including the Ford Indigo concept vehicle, and featured country-themed tracks from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The PlayStation port of NFS II was the first PlayStation game to take advantage of the NeGcon controller, and the Dual Analog and DualShock controllers as well. A new racing mode was also introduced, dubbed "Knockout", where the last racers to finish laps will be eliminated. In addition, track design was more open-ended; players could now "drive" off the asphalt, and cut across fields to take advantage of shortcuts. Need for Speed II: Special Edition includes one extra track, extra cars, and support for Glide.

Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS1) 85.63%[19]
(PC) 84.82%[20]
Metacritic (PS1) 88/100[21]

Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit added Hot Pursuit mode, where the player either attempted to outrun the police or be the cop, arresting speeders.

NFS III took advantage of the multimedia capabilities by featuring audio commentary, picture slideshows and music videos. This game was the first in the series to allow the downloading of additional cars from the official website. As a result, modding communities sprang up to create vehicles. The PC version was also the first game in the series to support Direct 3D hardware.

Need for Speed: High Stakes/Road Challenge (1999)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS1) 84.38%[22]
(PC) 83.08%[23]
Metacritic (PS1) 86/100[24]

High Stakes (North American and Australian title), also known as Road Challenge (European and Brazilian title), Conduite en état de liberté (French title) and Brennender Asphalt (German title), was released in the summer of 1999.

High Stakes introduced several new types of gameplay: High Stakes, Getaway, Time Trap, and Career. High Stakes was a racing mode; Getaway required the player to outrun numerous pursuing police vehicles; Time Trap is was a time lap trial; and Career was a tournament mode which incorporated a monetary reward system. Another innovation was the introduction of damage models, where after a race the player is given the option to purchase repairs. The mode also allows players, for the first time, to upgrade cars.

The PlayStation version of the game, released some months before the PC version, featured improved gameplay. The AI in the game was more advanced: the five AIs known as Nemesis, Bullit, Frost, Ranger, and Chump featured different driving characteristics. In the PlayStation version, the McLaren F1 GTR was based on the 1997 Long Tail, while the PC version was based on the original 95/96 version.

Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed/Porsche 2000 (2000)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 84.36%[25]
(PS1) 74.50%[26]
(GBA) 59.25%[27]
Metacritic (PS1) 78/100[28]
(GBA) 62/100[29]

Porsche Unleashed (North America and Latin America title), Porsche 2000 (European title) or simply Porsche (in Germany) is different from the previous versions, because it featured only Porsches.

The vehicle handling in the PC version was considered the most realistic in any NFS game, but the PS1 version has very simplified arcade handling. The player had to win races to unlock cars in chronological order from 1950 to 2000. Porsche Unleashed also featured a Factory Driver mode, where the player had to test Porsches to move forward in the game, and did not feature a split screen mode.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (2002)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS2) 88.01%[30]
(Xbox) 80.04%[31]
(PC) 72.77%[32]
(GC) 72.05%[33]
Metacritic (PS2) 89/100[34]
(Xbox) 75/100[35]
(PC) 73/100[36]
(GC) 68/100[37]

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 was the debut NFS title from EA Black Box, and the first NFS for the sixth generation consoles. Different versions of the game were produced for each game platform; the Xbox, GameCube and PC versions were developed in EA Seattle, while the PS2 version was developed by Black Box Games in Vancouver.

Hot Pursuit 2 draws primarily from the gameplay and style of NFS III; its emphasis on evading the police and over-the-top tracks. Although the game allowed players to play as the police, the pursuit mode was less realistic than preceding versions of NFS; players merely needed to "tap" a speeder to arrest them, as opposed to using simulated police tactics to immobilize a speeding vehicle.

This was the first version since the start of the series not to feature an "in the driving seat" camera view, transitioning EA from realistic racing to arcade street racing. It was the last game in the series for the PC version to feature the split-screen two player mode introduced in Need for Speed II. For the multiplayer mode of the PC version, GameSpy's internet matchmaking system was used in place of Local Area Network (LAN) play. Hot Pursuit 2 was also the first NFS game to use songs sung by licensed artists under the EA Trax label.

Need for Speed: Underground (2003)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS2) 84.29%[38]
(GC) 83.73%[39]
(PC) 82.29%[40]
(Xbox) 81.76%[41]
(GBA) 77.33%[42]
Metacritic (PS2) 85/100[43]
(GC) 83/100[44]
(Xbox) 83/100[45]
(PC) 82/100[46]
(GBA) 77/100[47]

Need for Speed: Underground was developed by EA Black Box and released on November 17, 2003. This was the first NFS game to require Hardware Transform and Lighting in Graphics Cards. Most of the new elements in Underground became defining marks of later installments in the Need for Speed series.

Underground shifted from semi-professional racing and isolated circuits to the street racing style of other arcade racing series: all circuits became part of a single map, Olympic City, except for drifts. Underground introduced three new play modes (Drag, Drift and Sprint), and more tuning options than in the earlier High Stakes. Underground was also the first game in the series to feature a story, told via pre-rendered videos.

Underground features tuner cars and has a wide variety of tuning options such as widebody kits, bumpers, spoilers, etc., as well as performance upgrades such as engines and nitrous. City street racing is the primary focus of the game.

There were no police in Underground and Underground 2, which drew criticism as police had been an important part of previous titles.

Need for Speed: Underground 2 (2004)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 83.50%[48]
(Xbox) 82.61%[49]
(PS2) 80.77%[50]
(GC) 79.98%[51]
(GBA) 69.45%[52]
(NDS) 65.44%[53]
Metacritic (PC) 82/100[54]
(PS2) 82/100[55]
(Xbox) 77/100[56]
(GBA) 72/100[57]
(NDS) 65/100[58]

Need for Speed: Underground 2, was released on November 15, 2004. A demo of the game was placed as a bonus in finished copies of NFSU2, as well as the EA/Criterion collaboration Burnout 3: Takedown.

In Underground 2, the story mode continued, but there were new racing modes such as Underground Racing League and Street X, more tuning options, and a new method of selecting races. Also included was an "outrun" mode where a player can challenge random opponents on the road (similar to Tokyo Xtreme Racer). Underground 2 also introduced several SUVs, used to race against other SUVs.

The customization features were significantly expanded on modifications which did not effect vehicle performance. Players were required to customize their car to a certain numerical value in order to be offered DVD and magazine covers, the only way to advance to higher game levels. The game featured more extensive product placement for companies with no connection to auto racing. This game also had extensive customization options in the form of suspension upgrades, nitrous systems and engine mods.

Need for Speed: Underground Rivals was the first Need for Speed game released on the PlayStation Portable. Different from Need for Speed: Underground 2 as it had no free roam and the cars were very limited, it was released on February 24, 2005 in Japan, March 14, 2005 in North America, and September 1, 2005 in Europe. The title went Platinum in Europe on June 30, 2006.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (X360) 83.05%[59]
(Xbox) 82.59%[60]
(PS2) 81.56%[61]
(PC) 81.50%[62]
(GC) 79.36%[63]
(GBA) 67.33%[64]
(NDS) 46.89%[65]
Metacritic (X360) 83/100[66]
(Xbox) 83/100[67]
(PS2) 82/100[68]
(PC) 82/100[69]
(GC) 80/100[70]
(NDS) 45/100[71]

Need for Speed: Most Wanted was developed by EA Canada, released on November 16, 2005, and was one of the first games released for the Xbox 360. It was released on the Nintendo GameCube, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, Microsoft Windows and Nintendo DS. The PlayStation Portable port of Most Wanted is called Need for Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0.

Police chases represent a significant body of the gameplay, and include the free-roaming aspect of Underground 2, but with less extensive vehicle customization features. The story mode is a different style from Underground, with CGI effects mixed with live action. The game featured the Blacklist, a crew consisting of 15 racers that the player must beat one-by-one to unlock parts, cars, tracks, and to complete career mode. The player had to meet certain requirements before they could take on the next Blacklist rival, such as races completed, bounty earned, etc.

A special Black Edition of Most Wanted was also released, featuring additional races, challenges, and a few bonus cars; it also included a behind-the-scenes DVD. Both versions were available for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo DS, and Windows-based PCs, while only the standard edition was available for GameCube and Xbox 360. Black Edition was made for the tenth anniversary of the Need for Speed series.

Most Wanted had extremely positive reviews and received universal acclaim from reviewers in many gaming websites and magazines, praising the graphics, sound effects and general gameplay. A reboot of the game, also named Need for Speed: Most Wanted, was announced in 2012 with British developer Criterion Games responsible for the development.

Need for Speed: Carbon (2006)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 78.47%[72]
(X360) 77.51%[73]
(PS3) 76.26%[74]
(PS2) 75.04%[75]
(GC) 74.25%[76]
(Xbox) 73.28%[77]
(PSP) 71.00%[78]
(GBA) 69.33%[79]
(NDS) 66.50%[80]
(Wii) 65.39%[81]
Metacritic (PC) 78/100[82]
(X360) 77/100[83]
(PS3) 75/100[84]
(GC) 75/100[85]
(PS2) 74/100[86]
(Xbox) 74/100[87]
(PSP) 73/100[88]
(NDS) 70/100[89]
(Wii) 67/100[90]

Need for Speed: Carbon was developed by EA Black Box and released on October 31, 2006. It was the first NFS game for PlayStation 3 and Wii and the last NFS game for the Nintendo GameCube and the Xbox. Carbon's handheld port is known as Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City. The Wii port lacked online play, but made full use of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk.

NFS: Carbon continued the story from Most Wanted, however, the game has far less emphasis on the police. Carbon saw the return of nighttime-only racing, with a selection of cars similar to that of Most Wanted. Carbon introduced a new feature wherein the player is allowed to form a "crew" that aids the player in races. Drift events returned to the series in Carbon.

Drag racing was removed from the series, but a new type of race called "Canyon Duel" was added, where the closer the player is to the leader, the more points they accrue. If the player overtakes the leader and remains in front for 10 seconds, they win automatically. Another new feature is "Autosculpt", which allows players to custom-fabricate their own auto parts.

Need for Speed: ProStreet (2007)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (NDS) 74.83%[91]
(PS3) 72.87%[92]
(X360) 72.17%[93]
(PC) 69.12%[94]
(Wii) 63.94%[95]
(PS2) 60.64%[96]
(PSP) 60.38%[97]
Metacritic (NDS) 74/100[98]
(PS3) 73/100[99]
(X360) 72/100[100]
(PC) 70/100[101]
(PS2) 62/100[102]
(Wii) 61/100[103]
(PSP) 57/100[104]

Need for Speed: ProStreet, developed by EA Black Box, was released in 2007. Key features of the game included realistic damage, a return to realistic racing, modeling, and burnouts.[105][106] The game lacked the free roam mode found in earlier releases, instead, all of the races were on closed race tracks that took place on organized race days. The game consisted of drag races, speed challenges, grip races (circuit racing), and drift races.[citation needed]

Need for Speed: Undercover (2008)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (X360) 64.58%[107]
(PS3) 62.66%[108]
(PC) 61.70%[109]
(NDS) 58.20%[110]
(PS2) 58.00%[111]
(Wii) 53.92%[112]
(PSP) 50.50%[113]
Metacritic (PC) 65/100[114]
(X360) 64/100[115]
(PS3) 59/100[116]
(NDS) 59/100[117]
(Wii) 54/100[118]
(PSP) 52/100[119]

Need for Speed: Undercover, developed by EA Black Box, was released on November 18, 2008. The game had a significantly longer development cycle than previous games, taking 16 months to develop.[120] EA Games president Frank Gibeau stated that since sales of ProStreet didn't live up to EA's projections, the franchise would go back to its "roots". The game received average reviews, in the 65% to 70% range, but higher than ProStreet.[121]

The game focused on tuning and police chases, featured over 50 cars, and took place in a fictional city. The player's role was as an undercover cop, trying to stop the racers. Containing live-action cutscenes which feature the actress Maggie Q, the game also featured a damage system where parts could break off after a crash.

The Collector's Edition for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 added another 5 new cars, twelve new circuits, and sprint and checkpoint track configurations. Also included were specially tuned versions of ten existing cars, plus 35 exclusive vinyls for adding a unique visual style.

EA ported Undercover to various mobile devices. It was the last Need for Speed game for PlayStation 2.

Need for Speed: Shift (2009)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS3) 83.59%[122]
(X360) 82.84%[123]
(PC) 82.36%[124]
(PSP) 69.60%[125]
Metacritic (PS3) 84/100[126]
(X360) 83/100[127]
(PC) 83/100[128]
(PSP) 69/100[129]

Need for Speed: Shift, developed by Slightly Mad Studios, was released on September 15, 2009. It features over 60 cars and 19 tracks, some of which are actual licensed tracks while others are fictional. Improved driving simulation was accompanied by an adaptive difficulty, while it reintroduced a cockpit view. NFS: Shift focused on racing simulation rather than the arcade racing of previous titles.

NFS: Shift received better reviews than the prior 3 games in the series. The Special Edition contained a special tuned BMW M3 GT2, and an Elite Series track. Two downloadable contents were released for the game.

Need for Speed: Nitro (2009)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (Wii) 73.31%[130]
(NDS) 71.71%[131]
Metacritic (NDS) 70/100[132]
(Wii) 69/100[133]

Need for Speed: Nitro is the first NFS game made exclusively for Nintendo DS and Wii, featuring arcade-style gameplay and targeting a casual audience. Nitro was released on November 3, 2009 in North America and in Europe on November 6, 2009. Need for Speed: Nitro was also available as a social multiplayer game on Facebook.[134]

Need for Speed Nitro-X (2010) was a newer installment for use with the DSi/XL and the 3DS system. Essentially the original release, it was updated with several updates: 18 licensed vehicles; new police units; custom tags; 16 updated tracks; a revised career mode; local multiplayer matches for up to 4 players; and new rewards and unlockables. The game was released as a digital download only, released on November 15, 2010 in North America and November 26, 2010 in Europe.[citation needed]

Need for Speed: World (2010)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 63.83%[135]
Metacritic 62/100[136]

Need for Speed: World is a free-to-play MMO racing game exclusively for Windows-based PCs.

It takes on the gameplay style of Most Wanted and Carbon, focusing on illegal racing, tuning and police chases, and adds classic MMO elements to the mix. World even incorporates almost exact replicas of the cities of Rockport and Palmont, the cities of Most Wanted and Carbon respectively, into its map design.It also features a bit of the "Underground 2" in the free roam. World was originally scheduled for an Asian release in the summer of 2009, however the game was not released at that time and it was released worldwide on July 27, 2010.[137][138] In October 2009, the game was in public beta-testing limited to residents of Taiwan.

The beta was launched on June 2, 2010. The game was released to players who had the starter pack on July 20, 2010 and to others on July 27, 2010. Previously, the players who didn't purchase the Starter Pack will not be able to progress further from level 10; the level cap for those players has since been removed on September 8, 2010, allowing all players' progression and availability. Currently players are limited to 60 levels only. It has a garage of 150+ Cars.[139]

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS3) 88.86%[140]
(X360) 87.21%[141]
(PC) 86.19%[142]
(Wii) 45.83%[143]
Metacritic (PS3) 89/100[144]
(X360) 88/100[145]
(PC) 86/100[146]
(Wii) 50/100[147]

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was developed by British games developer Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts on November 16, 2010.[148] It focuses on racing and police chases rather than car customization. The game won many awards at the E3 2010, including "Best Racing Game", becoming the first game in the NFS series since the original Hot Pursuit to win an E3 award.

There were over 60 cars, most available to both racers and cops, but a few were exclusive to either side.[149] Unlike previous NFS titles, there was no customization, and the game takes place in a fictional rural area called Seacrest County, which the "free roam" feature lets you explore. Hot Pursuit allows play as either police or racer.

The game also features many weapons, with some exclusive to the cops or racers. The biggest feature introduced in was the Need for Speed Autolog, which tracked player progressions and recommended events to play. In addition to its statistical system, Autolog also features Facebook-like speedwalls where players can post their comments and photos while in the game. Hot Pursuit has received some of the best reviews of the series.

The Limited Edition gives players exclusive access to the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and Ford Shelby GT500. Various downloadable content was released for the game:

  • The Super Sports Pack,
  • The Armed & Dangerous Pack.
  • The Lamborghini Untamed Pack.
  • The Porsche Unleashed.

Shift 2: Unleashed (2011)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 83.08%[150]
(X360) 81.91%[151]
(PS3) 80.40%[152]
Metacritic (PC) 84/100[153]
(X360) 82/100[154]
(PS3) 81/100[155]

The sequel to Need for Speed: Shift, Shift 2: Unleashed was developed by Slightly Mad Studios, and released on March 29, 2011. Shift 2 includes the Autolog feature introduced in Hot Pursuit.[156] It also includes features such as night racing, an in-helmet camera, and a more in-depth career mode. Shift 2 features more than 140 vehicles available for racing and tuning, a smaller number compared with other racing games such as Forza Motorsport 3 and Gran Turismo 5. There are also 40 real-world locations including Bathurst, Spa-Francorchamps and Suzuka as well as fictional circuits.[citation needed]

The Limited Edition features 3 unlocked cars, and an additional 37 career race events.[157] Two downloadable contents were released for Shift 2:

  • The Legends Pack.
  • The Speedhunters Pack.

Need for Speed: The Run (2011)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (Wii) 70.00%[158]
(X360) 69.92%[159]
(3DS) 68.20%[160]
(PS3) 64.04%[161]
(PC) 60.14%[162]
Metacritic (PC) 69/100[163]
(X360) 68/100[164]
(3DS) 65/100[165]
(Wii) 64/100[166]
(PS3) 64/100[167]

Need for Speed: The Run was developed by EA Black Box, and released on November 15, 2011. The game continued the street-racing gameplay of Black Box's previous titles, with a story based on a race across the United States from San Francisco to New York.

The game featured quick time events with the player, for the first time in NFS history, exiting their car and traveling on foot. The Run was powered by DICE's Frostbite 2 engine, making the game the first non-shooter and one of the first console titles to use the engine. Additionally, the NFS Autolog was also used in the game.

The Run employs a large range of real-world vehicles, which can be altered with performance upgrades and visual upgrades. An XP (Experience points) system is used for unlocking cars and events. The Limited Edition features three exclusive cars and five exclusive challenges with bonus rewards and achievements.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (WIIU) 86.46%[168]
(PS3) 85.09%[169]
(Vita) 83.44%[170]
(X360) 83.05%[171]
(PC) 81.50%[172]
Metacritic (WIIU) 86/100[173]
(PS3) 84/100[174]
(X360) 84/100[175]
(Vita) 79/100[176]
(PC) 78/100[177]

Need for Speed: Most Wanted was developed by British games developer Criterion Games, and released on October 30, 2012. The game picked up on the Most Wanted IP, as opposed to the Hot Pursuit extension.[178] This was the first game made subsequent to Criterion Games taking over the NFS series from Black Box.

It features open world racing, and most of the cars in the game are available from the start, hidden in different locations.[179] It also features a blacklist of 10 instead of 15, and there is no story for the game. It is powered by Autolog 2.0. Performance upgrades are available for all the cars in the game, such as chassis, tires, nitrous, and bodywork.[180] Milestones and achievements are unlocked through a variety of ways, e.g. completion of races and breaking through billboards.

Need for Speed Rivals (2013)[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS3) 85.00%[181]
(PS4) 81.62%[182]
(XONE) 79.33%[183]
(PC) 78.67%[184]
(X360) 77.50%[185]
Metacritic (PS3) 82/100[186]
(PS4) 80/100[187]
(XONE) 75/100[188]
(PC) 78/100[189]
(X360) 76/100[190]

Need for Speed Rivals was developed by Ghost Games (formerly EA Gothenburg) in association with Criterion Games, and was released on November 15, 2013 for the PlayStation 4,[191] on November 19, 2013 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360[191] and on November 22, 2013 for the Xbox One.[191]

Other games[edit]

There are three games which are associated with, but not part of, the NFS series.

Need for Speed V-Rally (1997)[edit]

When V-Rally: Championship Edition was released in 1997, it was developed by the European based company, Eden Studios, and had no connection with the Need for Speed games. EA bought the rights to the game, producing it in North America as Need for Speed: V-Rally.[192][193]) A rally racing video game, it was published by Infogrames. The budget Platinum re-release of the PlayStation version added support for DualShock controllers.The game was a bestseller in the UK for 3 months.[194]

Need for Speed V-Rally 2 (1999)[edit]

V-Rally 2 is a rally racing video game and the sequel to V-Rally. The PlayStation version is sold in Europe as V-Rally 2 Championship Edition and in North America as Need for Speed: V-Rally 2. The Dreamcast and Windows versions are known in Europe as V-Rally 2 Expert Edition and in North America the Dreamcast version is known as Test Drive V-Rally.[195]

Motor City Online (2001)[edit]

Originally conceived as part of the Need for Speed series under the title Need for Speed: Motor City,[196] all single player elements were discarded in favor of an online-only model. The result, Motor City Online was a racing MMO game released by EA on October 29, 2001. The point of the game was to buy classic cars, tune them, and race them against other players. The game went offline less than 2 years later to enable EA to focus on The Sims Online. Later, EA, would develop a new online racing game, called Need for Speed: World. [197]

Future[edit]

At E3 2012, Criterion vice president Alex Ward announced that random developers would no longer be developing NFS titles. Ward wouldn't confirm that all Need for Speed games in the future would be developed entirely by Criterion, but he did say the studio would have "strong involvement" in them, and would have control over which NFS titles would be released in the future.[2][198]

In April 2013, Electronic Gaming Monthly published a report that Need for Speed: Underground could be the next NFS game.[199] However that report was contradicted hours later by Ward.[200][201] Initially it was suspected that Criterion would not be developing racing games in the short-term, but Ward clarified that he was speaking personally and not speaking for the studio.[202]

As of October 2013, there are no known Need for Speed titles in development apart from Rivals. In an interview with VideoGamer, the head of Ghost Games, Marcus Nilsson, stated that Ghost owned the Need for Speed franchise, and they were working to restore the credibility of the franchise.[203] He also suggested a sequel to Underground 2 if the conditions were right.[204] Later in the year, at the Eurogamer Expo, Mr. Nilsson hinted that the franchise might return to a style of progression in the future similar to the Underground series.[205]

Film adaptation[edit]

EA had decided to work with DreamWorks Studios to create a film version of Need for Speed and it was released on March 14, 2014. Aaron Paul played the starring role as Tobey Marshall, a mechanic and street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate.[206]

References[edit]

[207]

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