All Need for Speed games in order

Published: 2022-12-19T17:25:47

Updated: 2022-12-19T17:26:10

It’s been more than 25 years since the Need for Speed franchise came into existence and many players may be wondering about their order of release. So, here are all the Need for Speed games in order, from 1994 to 2022.

Need for Speed has always been about intense races filled with an exhilarating rush to finish first place. Ever since it came into existence in the mid-90s, Need for Speed quickly became one of the most popular racing game series.

More than 20 installments have been released to date, with NFS Unbound being the latest game that has joined the roster. With this in mind, we’ve listed all the Need for Speed games in their order of release, from the very first installment to the most recent.

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The Need For Speed (1994)

Electronic Arts

This game marks the beginning of a historic video game series.

  • Release date: December 2, 1994
  • Developer: EA Canada (originally known as Pioneer Productions)
  • Platforms: 3DO, MS-DOS, Windows, PlayStation, Saturn

The first-ever NFS game was released in 1994, with the aim to provide a realistic car simulation to all racing game fans out there. It’s far from what the series has to offer at present, but it sure did create a long-standing legacy.

Need For Speed II (1997)

some cars racing in Need For Speed IIElectronic Arts

Need For Speed II featured exotic vehicles.

  • Release date: March 31, 1997
  • Developer: EA Canada (PS), EA Seattle (PC)
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation

Need For Speed 2 is the second installment of the series and is a bit different from its predecessor. It featured more open-ended track designs, along with some of the rarest and most exotic vehicles from that time.

Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998)

a car in Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998)Electronic Arts

This Need For Speed featured cops for the first time ever.

  • Release date: March 25, 1998
  • Developer: EA Canada (PS), EA Seattle (PC)
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation

Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit was a notch above all the previously released titles. The graphics were way more appealing, with improved physics and track designs when compared to the previous installment.

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It also introduced cops into the game for the first time via the Pursuit system. The AI could track down speeding racers and lay spikes on the road in an attempt to arrest them. It also gave birth to modding opportunities as players could download additional cars from the official website.

Need For Speed: High Stakes (1999)

a car in nfs high stakesElectronic Arts

This game was more realistic than the previously released ones.

  • Release date: March 24, 1999
  • Developer: EA Canada (PS), EA Seattle (PC)
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation

Released in 1999, Need For Speed: High Stakes introduced the damage system for the first time in the game. This means your car’s appearance and performance (speed, acceleration, etc) will be impacted if it collided with objects.

It introduced new game modes and players could directly buy cars and upgrade them with better gear.

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Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed (2000)

a porsche in need for speed porsche unleashedElectronic Arts

This NFS title had the most realistic controls.

  • Release date: March 29, 2000
  • Developer: Eden Studios (PS), EA Canada (PC), Pocketeers (GBA)
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance

This installment was unique as it only featured cars from one particular brand — Porsche. The game became quite popular in the early 2000s as it featured close-to-realistic car controls and tons of vehicles from the German sports car manufacturer.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (2002)

a car racing in nfs hot pursuit 2Electronic Arts

You could play as a cop in NFS Hot Pursuit 2.

  • Release date: October 2, 2002
  • Developer: EA Black Box, EA Seattle
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Gamecube

Released in 2002, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 was the opposite of the former installment. It featured a ton of fast supercars, police chases, and several similar game modes from NFS 3.

Need for Speed: Underground (2003)

several cars racing in nfs undergroundElectronic Arts

NFS Underground adopted a street racing style.

  • Release date: November 17, 2003
  • Developer: EA Black Box, Pocketeers, Global VR
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Gamecube

With Underground, NFS shifted from semi-professional racing to street racing. Drag and Drift were the two new modes introduced in the game and they are still prevalent to date.

Players could also modify their cars in new ways starting from paint jobs, spoilers, rims, and a lot more. It’s also the first Need For Speed game that featured pre-rendered videos as a part of storytelling.

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Need for Speed: Underground 2 (2004)

main menu in nfs underground 2Electronic Arts

NFS Underground 2 brought new game modes along with it.

  • Release date: November 9, 2004
  • Developer: EA Black Box, Pocketeers, Team Fusion
  • Platforms: PC, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS

The next Need for Speed game in order is the Underground sequel. What the developers did was bring in new events, cars, and customization & made it an open-world game. This was quite a welcome change and the concept is still going strong in current releases.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)

some cars racing in nfs most wantedElectronic Arts

NFS Most Wanted is one of the best games of the franchise.

  • Release date: November 11, 2005
  • Developer: EA Black Box, EA Canada, Team Fusion, Sensory Sweep Studios, Pocketeers
  • Platforms: PC, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is one of the most iconic installments and a smashing hit from the franchise. It is still considered one of the best racing games and carried forward the open-world concept from Underground 2, while also maintaining the cop chases from NFS Hot Pursuit.

The game’s story was a bit different from others as it featured a Blacklist of 15 racers who need to be beaten to unlock new cars, gear, and more.

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Need for Speed: Most Carbon (2006)

a red car in nfs carbonElectronic Arts

NFS Carbon featured nighttime-only racing.

  • Release date: October 30, 2006
  • Developer: EA Black Box, EA Canada, Team Fusion, Exient Entertainment, Pocketeers, Rovio Mobile, Global VR
  • Platforms: PC, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Mac OS X

Need for Speed: Most Carbon is the next game in order and almost replicated the success of Most Wanted. It also dealt with the concept of street racing culture combined with certain elements taken from Hot Pursuit and Underground.

It was also the first NFS game released for the PS3 and introduced a new feature where players could form a ‘crew’.

Need for Speed: ProStreet (2007)

some speeding cars in nfs prostreetElectronic Arts

The controls were quite difficult to handle in this game.

  • Release date: November 14, 2007
  • Developer: EA Black Box
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Wii

ProStreet can be considered a flop for the car racing franchise. Some factors like extremely difficult-to-handle cars and the lack of an open-world environment were responsible for its failure.

Need for Speed: Undercover (2008)

a red car in nfs undercoverElectronic Arts

This game featured over 50 cars.

  • Release date: November 18, 2008
  • Developer: EA Black Box, Exient Entertainment, Piranha Games, Firebrand Games
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Wii

Undercover was the last game for the PS2 where players had to play as a cop undercover. It tried to restore some of its lost glory and featured more than 50 vehicles, police chases, and more.

However, it did not quite manage to make the mark and went on to become one of the least popular NFS games.

Need for Speed: Shift (2009)

a black lamborghini in nfs shiftElectronic Arts

NFS Shift features several licensed tracks.

  • Release date: September 15, 2009
  • Developer: EA Bright Light, Slightly Mad Studios
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, Android, iOS
  • Need for Speed: Shift was a hit unlike some of the last releases and specialized in racing simulation instead of arcade racing. More than 60 vehicles and 19 tracks were featured, and the handling was close to perfect in this installment.

    Need for Speed: Nitro (2009)

    a look at nfs nitro on a nintendo handheldElectronic Arts

    NFS Nitro is the only Nintendo-exclusive title.

    • Release date: November 3, 2009
    • Developer: EA Montreal, Firebrand Games
    • Platforms: Nintendo DS, Wii

    This NFS title was exclusive to the Nintendo platform. It had a more casual approach by featuring arcade-styled gameplay instead of hardcore racing.

    Need for Speed: World (2010)

    some supercars in nfs worldElectronic Arts

    NFS World is the franchise’s one and only free-to-play title.

    • Release date: July 27, 2010
    • Developer: EA Singapore, Quicklime Games
    • Platforms: PC

    Exclusive only to the Windows platform, Need for Speed: World was the first free-to-play title of the franchise. It was an MMO and its gameplay was inspired by the likes of Most Wanted and Carbon.

    Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)

    a lamborghini in nfs hot pursuit 2010Electronic Arts

    The best feature of this game are the police chases.

    • Release date: November 16, 2010
    • Developer: Criterion Games
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Android, iOS, Wii

    The next NFS game is Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. This title was a reboot of 1998’s iteration and was one of the best racing games of the franchise. It focused more on police chases and races than customizations.

    Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed (2011)

    some supercars in nfs shift 2 unleashedElectronic Arts

    NFS Shift 2: Unleashed features 40 real-world locations.

    • Release date: March 29, 2011
    • Developer: Slightly Mad Studios, Straight Right
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS

    The next Need For Speed game in order is a sequel to 2009’s iteration. However, it did not live up to its hype. It featured a ton of real-world locations and had a more in-depth career mode.

    Need for Speed: The Run (2011)

    a car with its brake lights on in nfs the runElectronic Arts

    Players could exit their cars and walk in this game.

    • Release date: November 15, 2011
    • Developer: EA Black Box, Firebrand Games
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, Wii

    Need for Speed: The Run featured coast-to-coast racing, quick-time events, and a ton of real-world cars. However, like Shift 2, it did not perform well for the franchise in terms of sales.

    Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012)

    some cars racing in nfs most wanted 2012Electronic Arts

    2012’s is only half-baked in comparison to 2005’s iconic title.

    • Release date: October 30, 2012
    • Developer: Criterion Games
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, iOS, Android, Wii U

    In 2012, Need for Speed tried to replicate the success of the most popular title of their franchise, the Most Wanted. It featured an open world but lacked several other crucial features like customization and a story.

    Need for Speed: Rivals (2013)

    a police supercar in nfs rivalsElectronic Arts

    NFS Rivals shares a similar concept with Hot Pursuit.

    • Release date: November 15, 2013
    • Developer: Ghost Games
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360

    The next Need For Speed game in order is 2013’s Rival. The mechanics of the game were inspired by Hot Pursuit with several other additions like a dynamic weather system, AllDrive system, and more.

    Need for Speed: No Limits (2015)

    a bmw in nfs no limitsElectronic Arts

    No Limits is a mobile-only NFS game.

    • Release date: September 30, 2015
    • Developer: Firemonkeys Studios
    • Platforms: iOS, Android

    2015’s Need for Speed: No Limits was released exclusively for the mobile platform. Most of the elements in the game are adaptations from some of the most popular titles released by the franchise.

    Need for Speed (2015)

    cars racing at night in NFS 2015Electronic Arts

    This game had a PC release in 2016.

    • Release date: November 3, 2015
    • Developer: Ghost Games
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

    Also released in 2015, this Need for Speed title was supposed to serve as a reboot to the franchise but didn’t quite manage to make its mark. The game’s controls were far from what it was in some of the previous titles as they primarily focused on “action driving” this time around.

    Need for Speed Payback (2017)

    some cars racing in nfs paybackElectronic Arts

    Payback features an offline single-player mode.

    • Release date: November 10, 2017
    • Developer: Ghost Games
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

    It seemed like NFS Payback took a lot of inspiration from the Fast and Furious series. This game was one of the underperforming ones in the franchise in terms of sales and featured an offline single-player mode.

    Need for Speed Heat (2019)

    a car speeding inside a tunnel ;it with neon lights in nfs heatElectronic Arts

    NFS Heat allows switching between day and night periods.

    • Release date: November 8, 2019
    • Developer: Ghost Games
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

    As the name suggests, this NFS game featured a ‘Heats’ system where players have to earn a reputation in every race. There are different rewards offered both during the day and the night time, signifying both the day and night lives of the city.

    Need for Speed Unbound (2022)

    Need For Speed UnboundEA

    Need For Speed Unbound is the next chapter in the racing series.

    • Release date: December 2, 2022
    • Developer: Criterion Games
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S

    Need for Speed Unbound is the latest iteration of the franchise that features a realistic look for cars while rocking a cartoon-shaded look for the characters.

    So, there you have it — that’s every Need For Speed game in their correct order of release. To follow more games in their correct order, be sure to check our other content and guides:

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