Need for Speed was first launched in the mid-90s, and it quickly became one of the most popular racing games of all time. Initially, EA had all the development rights of NFS, but now the company only owns the ownership of the gaming franchise, and the developers keep on changing every few years. Criterion (famous for the Burnout series) and Ghost Games are two of the most popular studios involved in the development of NFS.
Considering the racing franchise releasing a new game after almost every one or two years for the last two decades, they are very keen on highs and lows. In this post, we will be listing all the Need for Speed games in the order they were released.
Need For Speed Games In Order
Here’s a detailed collection of all the Need for Speed games in order of their release date. We have also mentioned the devices on which these games are compatible.
1. The Need For Speed (1994)
The franchise’s first game, “The Need For Speed,” was initially only made compatible with a 3DO gaming console. This game offers a thrilling high-speed adventure to players using the flashiest sports car they could buy using in-game money. While the game was not completely perfect, it managed to leave a mark because of various aspects.
First, it contains a huge number of licensed vehicles from the most popular brands, which was a rarity at that time. Not only this, every vehicle was having a very good interior and looks very much similar to its real-life counterpart. Moreover, the game was released on August 31, 1994, and was compatible with DOS, 3DO, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn.
2. Need For Speed 2 (1997)
One of the most awaited releases in the series Need For Speed 2 came up with a completely new concept. It ditched the generic highway racing shown in the first Need for Speed game. It came up with unique courses that helped the game to gain a much-needed personality. The game featured some of the most popular cards of that time, including McLaren F1, Ferrari F50, and even some unconventional picks in the form of cars like Ford GT90 and Isdera Commendatory 112i.
Unfortunately, the game doesn’t perform well on the PlayStation because of its bad graphics, making it hard to appreciate its unique vehicle collection. Moreover, the game was released on March 31, 1997, and was compatible with PC and PlayStation.
3. Need For Speed 3: Hot Pursuit (1998)
Need for Speed 3 Hot Pursuit was the best reply to all the critics who were complaining about the graphics of Need For Speed 2. The graphics were good enough to satisfy Sony to use the game as a display for what the PlayStation games can achieve. The game also made a very noticeable improvement in physics, and the tracks were revised from NFS 2 and were added to the game.
However, the concept that made this game a hit was the Pursuit system, which added cop cars into the game. In the game, cops were arranging roadblocks, busting tires using spike straps, and issuing tickets to stop any illegal race going on in the City. Moreover, the game was released on March 25, 1998, and was compatible with PC and PlayStation.
4. Need For Speed: High Stakes (1999)
The next game on the list is Need For Speed: High stakes which was launched in 1999 for Windows and Playstation. Most of the tracks of this game are similar to the Hot Pursuit version of Need For Speed, but they did launch new modes in the game. The game features a single-player mode, and it also allowed gamers to buy cars directly.
The game also featured a damage system which means if your car gets damaged, then it will lose its maneuverability and speed. It also launched a Getaway mode where you must dodge the police and escape within time limits.
5. Need For Speed: Porsche Unreleased (2000)
As it is quite clear by the name, Need for Speed: Porsche Unreleased was the franchise’s first game that was completely focused on a particular sports car brand. It was one of the most popular racing games of the time, resulting from a 20-year exclusive deal between EA and the car manufacturing company Porsche.
The game consisted of notable vehicles made by the German automaker. Players were given the option of playing the single-player campaign, and it became one of the greatest it’s for the game manufacturing company, EA. On the negative side, critics were having issues with the awful handling and very low speed of old Porsche cars that were present in the game. Moreover, the game was released on February 29, 2000, and was compatible with PlayStation, PC, and GBA.
6. Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (2002)
The Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 was the complete makeover of the game’s first version. It was launched in 2002 for PlayStation 2, Windows, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube. It also introduced a lot of supercars to its roster, which made it more interesting among gamers. All the tracks from the first version were improved for the better.
This version had a similar style, police chases, and game modes to Need For Speed 3. The developers of this game improved the maneuverability of the Police AI, making it difficult for gamers to avoid high pursuits.
7. Need For Speed: Underground (2003)
After the end of the Hot Pursuit craze, Electronic Arts tried to do something new with Need For Speed: Underground. This new game of the NFS series was developed on the NFS formula along with the new option of car modification. Instead of spending use amount of money on expensive cars, players were given the option of modifying their ordinary cars with the in-game crash that they could win by competing in racing events. Players had the option of modifying spoilers, tires, rims, paint jobs, decals, and more. Moreover, the game was released on November 17, 2003, and was compatible with platforms such as PC, PS2, Xbox, GameCube, and GBA.
8. Need For Speed: Underground 2 (2004)
Building off the popularity of NFS: Underground, EA introduced NFS Underground 2 with new events, vehicles, and customization options. Along with all this, this new NFS game also had the option of open-world exploration. Even the critics were impressed with the physics, and most importantly, they liked the car handling in this game.
NFS Underground 2 was missing the cop chases; however, anyone barely anyone cared about it, as everyone was busy riding their Mitsubishi eclipse and Nissan 240sx. Moreover, NFS Underground 2 was released on November 15, 2004, and was compatible with platforms like PC, PS2, Xbox, Nintendo DS, GameCube GB, and Mobile.
9. Need For Speed: Most Wanted (2005)
Need For Speed: Most wanted, we are finally at the name that has changed the fortune of the NFS franchise. This game was launched to fill the gap between classic and NFS and the upcoming modern games in the NFS franchise, but EA got a game that had the best handling and physics of NFS Underground and cop chasing the concept of NFS Hot Pursuit.
Based in the city of Rockport, NFS Most wanted is considered as one of the best open-world racing games till now. Its unique scenery, vibrant City blocks, mountain roads, and twist and turns during high-intensity cop chases were enough to keep the audience hooked for hours with this game. Moreover, this game was released on November 15, 2005, and was compatible with platforms like PC, PS2, PSP, Xbox, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, GameCube, Mobile, and GBA.
10. Need For Speed: Carbon (2006)
EA was able to give back-to-back hits with the Need for Speed: Carbon. This game was mainly built to recreate the history created by NFS Most wanted, and it contains the elements of Hot Pursuit and Underground, with a completely new story that revolves around Street racing culture.
However, NFS Carbon failed to replicate the personality and charisma of any of the NFS games on which it was based. Moreover, this game was released on October 31, 2006, and was compatible with platforms like PC, PS2, PSP, Xbox, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, GameCube, Wii, Mobile, and GBA.
11. Need for Speed: ProStreet (2007)
In the year 2007, when gaming franchises like Grid and Forza started to gain an audience, EA decided to launch NFS: ProStreet to compete against them. Unlike other NFS games, this game was based on Street racing; instead, races were done on some of the best tracks in the series history. Some of the most famous circuits that were included in this game are Japan Autopolis and Ebisu circuits, Portland International Raceways, and the Avus loop in Germany.
However, as per critics, NFS ProStreet was the worst game of the NFS franchise in terms of physics. It was almost impossible to drive some vehicles in the game because of its tough handling. Moreover, the game was released on November 14, 2007, and was compatible with platforms like PC, PS2, PSP, Xbox, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, GameCube, Mobile, Wii, and GBA.
12. Need For Speed: Undercover (2008)
After facing a complete failure in the form of NFS ProStreet, EA tried to come back on the success path with NFS Undercover. This game is considered a desperate attempt to tackle the increasing popularity of NFS competitors like Forza and Grid. However, the attempt failed as the game was far away from the glory witnessed by NFS Most Wanted, Hot Pursuit, and Underground.
NFS Undercover completely missed the technical polish for which NFS was famous, and its lackluster graphics was one of the major reason behind its failure. Moreover, the game was launched on November 18, 2008, and was compatible with devices like PS2, PSP, Xbox, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, GameCube, Mobile, Wii, and GBA.
13. Need For Speed: Shift (2009)
Developed by Slightly Mad Studios, Need for Speed: Swift was considered a successful game in the NFS franchise. The response that the game received was better than anyone could have imagined.
NFS: Shift became famous for providing touring car simulation racing, in which NFS ProStreet failed. In short, the game was perfect in vehicle handling, graphics, and career mode. Moreover, the game was released on September 15, 2009, and was compatible with PC, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, and Mobile.
14. Need For Speed: Nitro (2009)
Need for Speed: Nitro was a kind of casual game released by EA. As it is quite clear by the name, this came mainly focused on speed and excitement over realistic driving mechanics. NFS Nitro was only released on Wii and Nintendo DS. The game was given more of a cartoonish look to make it more family-friendly. Moreover, the game was released on November 3, 2009.
15. Need For Speed: World (2010)
With Need For Speed: World, EA put their hand on the multiplayer racing industry. NFS World was one of the best racing games, indefinitely much ahead of its time.
Most racing game lovers consider NFS World as a mixture of Most Wanted and Carbon. This game includes tons of activities you can do with other races in real-time. Moreover, the game was released on July 27, 2010, and was compatible with the only PC.
16. Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)
By the time of the NFS Hot Pursuit release, the popularity of the NFL franchise was in the rearview, and the company started to show more interest in sim-based racers. To make the new game for their franchise, EA went to Criterion Games, which was famous for the Burnout series, to make a remake of 1998 Hot Pursuit.
However, the new NFS: Hot Pursuit doesn’t give the feel of the original, but still, it was a modern NFS formula and helped to improve Hot pursuit branding. Graphic square is more prominent and detailed than ever before if we neglect the handful of technical hiccups. Moreover, the game was released on November 16, 2010, and was compatible with platforms like PC, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii.
17. Shift 2: Unleashed (2011)
With Shift 2: Unleashed, EA was trying to produce a sequel of NFS Shift, but actually, they produced something that was not even close to the original. Shift 2 mainly focuses on true-life racing and comes with dynamic crash physics, highly detailed cars, drivers, and tracks. The game was a great success, considering the performance of the original. Moreover, the game was released on March 29, 2011, and is compatible with PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.
18. Need For Speed: The Run (2011)
Like NFS World, The Run was also way ahead of time and didn’t offer anything that the NFS franchise lovers were hoping to offer. Instead of going with a circuit racing campaign, The Run focused on coast-to-coast racing.
However, the game resulted in a flop, all thanks to its long-cut scenes that players were forced to watch as there wasn’t any skip option. Moreover, the game was released on November 15, 2011, and was compatible with platforms like PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, and Wii.
19. Need For Speed: Most Wanted (2012)
After witnessing success in the form of the 2010 Hot Pursuit remake, the Criterion Games was on a go-to make a remake of another famous game from the NFS franchise, NFS Most Wanted. The new NFS Most Wanted 2012 edition was completely based on the NFS formula with a little bit of spice of Burnout Paradise.
However, many important aspects were missing in this game, including car customization and aggressive AI and reductions in campaign length. According to many NFS fans, the developer didn’t spend as much time developing this game as they should have, considering the original game’s popularity. Moreover, the game was released on October 30, 2012, and was compatible with PC, PS3, PS Vita, PS4, Xbox 360, Android, iOS, and Wii.
20. Need For Speed: Rivals (2013)
Developed especially for PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Need for Speed Rivals is considered the most underrated game released within the NFS franchise. This was the first game developed by Ghost Games, who later on also developed NFS Heat in 2019.
NFS Rivals come with better quality graphics, faster loading time, and a completely new dynamic weather system; however, some changes were made to make the game compatible with consoles like Xbox One and PS4. Moreover, the game was released on November 15, 2013, and is compatible with PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
21. Need For Speed: No Limits (2015)
Need For Speed: No Limits is the first fully 3D graphics NFS game developed by Firemonkeys Studios. Most importantly, the game was only made for iOS and Android users.
Most of the in-game elements of the game were copied from the previous NFS games, such as illegal Street racing, police pursuits, and car customization. Other than this, races where are also of short duration. Moreover, the game was released on September 30, 2015.
22. Need For Speed (2015)
With Ghost Games and EA working together, Need for Speed 2015 was developed to start a new generation for the NFS franchise. Through this game, the developers wanted to display super visuals and the most robust customizations that players can do with their cars.
However, nothing went as expected with this game. The 2015 Need for Speed had the worst vehicle handling that was developed under a premium AAA game. Moreover, the game was released on November 3, 2015, and was compatible it platforms like PC, Xbox One, and PS4.
23. Need For Speed Payback (2017)
After the launch of Need For Speed 2015, all NFS lovers thought that this was the worst NFS franchise could deliver to them, but NFS Payback was the tight slap on their face to wake them from their dream. The game was totally a waste of time that was completely based on the Fast and Furious movie franchise popularity.
To make things more inferior, the game development company Ghost Games repeated the same mistakes that they had already did with NFS 2015 edition. Moreover, the game was launched on November 10, 2017, and was compatible with platforms like PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
24. Need For Speed Heat (2019)
Need for Speed Heat is the latest release of the NFS franchise. This is the last NFS game that was developed by Ghost Games production, and now they have been replaced by Frostbite Engine.
It’s definitely not the worst NFS game developed by Ghost Games, but it’s also not the best NFS game launched till now. Since its release, Need for Speed Heat has received a mixed review from critics, all thanks to the bad test left behind by the NFS 2015 and NFS Payback. Moreover, the game was released on November 8, 2019, and is compatible with devices like PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
So, this was the complete collection of all the NFS games released till now. Let us know which NFS game you love to play in the comment section.