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Need for Speed (NFS) is a series of racing video games published by Electronic Arts EA and developed by several studios including Canadian based company EA Black Box. It 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 100 million copies of games in the Need for Speed series have been sold.
The series was originally developed by the Canadian based company Distinctive Software, which became known as EA Canada. The series debuted with The Need for Speed in North America, Japan, and Europe in 1994. Initially, the series was exclusive to the fifth generation consoles and was featured in all of the seventh generation video game consoles by 2008. The games consist mainly of racing with various cars on various tracks, and to some extent, include police pursuits in races. In Japan, the series was released as Over Drivin. After the release of Need for Speed: High Stakes, it adopted the western name. Since Need for Speed: Underground, the series has integrated car body customization into gameplay.
The Need for Speed series are racing games, all of which employ the same fundamental rules and have similar mechanics. In each game, 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, tracks, etc. Before playing each race, the player chooses a vehicle to race in and has the option of choosing the transmission of the vehicle, which includes automatic and manual transmission. All games in the series have some form of multiplayer mode allowing players to race one another via split screen, LAN or the internet.
Although the games share the same name, the tone and focus of the games has varied significantly, in one form or another. For example, in some games the cars can suffer mechanical and visual damage, while in other games the cars cannot be damaged at all, some games have physics—that is, the way the software simulates a real car behavior—that are reminiscent of a real car, while other games have forgiving physics (i.e. going through some curves at top speed).
With the release of Need for Speed: Underground, the series shifted focus from the racing of exotic sports cars on scenic point-to-point tracks, evocative of open road racing to import/tuner subculture, and street racing in an urban setting. To-date, this theme has remained prevalent in most of the following games.
Most of the games in the franchise include police pursuits in some form or other. In the first game, the player races against the X-Man, the objective is to beat him without getting arrested. In some of the games featuring police pursuit, the player can play as either the felon or the cop; as a felon, the player must elude the police, or if playing as the cop, must pursue and capture the felon. Introduced in Need for Speed: Underground were the concepts of drifting and dragging, which are used in drift and drag racing, respectively. 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 setting higher points than the other racers; these points are earned by the length and timing of the drift made by the player’s vehicle. In drag races, the player uses a car set in manual transmission. The objective in this type of race is to follow an opposing car and mimic its performance to gain a boost in the player’s speed. Like an ordinary street race, the player must finish first to win the race, though if the player crashes into an obstacle, the race ends.
The concept of car tuning evolved with each new game. In the earlier games in the series, it focused mainly on the mechanics of the car rather than the looks of it. Every game has some form of car tuning that can be set by toggling options on and off (i.e. ABS, or traction control), adjusting options (i.e. front downforce, rear downforce, brake bias, gear ratios) or upgrading parts (i.e. engine, gearbox). From Underground to the current game, customization of vehicles is similar to the vehicles depicted in the 2001 film The Fast and the Furious. The two categories in which the player can choose to modify his cars are visual and performance. Visual tuning of the player’s car becomes an important aspect in tournament/career mode after the release of Need for Speed: Underground 2. The player’s car appearance is rated using a scale from zero to ten points; the more visual points it has, the more likely it is to be featured in fictional automobile magazines. When a car attains a high enough visual rating, the player is told that their vehicle is eligible to be on the cover of a magazine; thereafter, the player must drive to a specific location to take the photo of the vehicle.
Like all racing games, the Need for Speed series features an extensive list of cars that are available for the player to use. The vehicles included in the game are modeled and named after actual cars in real life. Cars in the franchise are divided into four categories, the exotic cars, the muscle cars, the tuners, and special vehicles. The exotic cars feature cars like the Lamborghini Murciélago and the SLR McLaren, the muscle cars refer to cars like the Mustang GT and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06[disambiguation needed], the tuners are cars like the Nissan Skyline and the Mitsubishi Eclipse. The special vehicle category refers to the police cars that are available for use in the game.
Originally the series took place in international settings, such as race tracks in Australia, Europe, and Africa among other settings. Beginning with Underground, the series has taken place in fictional metropolitan cities. The first game featured traffic on “head to head” game mode and on later games traffic can be toggled on and off at the options screen. Starting with Underground, traffic is a fixed obstacle added during a race.
Development and spin-off series
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 already created popular racing games such as Stunts and Test Drive II: The Duel. After the purchase was made, the company was renamed Electronic Arts (EA) Canada. The company capitalized on its experience in the domain when it began developing the Need For Speed series in late 1992. EA Canada continued to develop and expand the Need For Speed franchise up to 2002, when another Vancouver-based gaming company, named Black Box, was contracted to continue the series with the title Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2. Black Box Games was acquired by Electronic Arts shortly before the game’s publication and the company was renamed Electronic Arts (EA) Black Box and became a subsidiary of EA Canada. Since its renaming, EA Black Box has been the series primary developer. After the release of Most Wanted has the Need for Speed franchise decline in both sales and quality. EA’s CEO John Riccitiello said “In the ’04 to ’07 period, we had a single studio, Black Box, up in Vancouver, building our [NFS games]. And we literally had them on a ‘death march’ building for five years in a row. [They were] annual iterations, they had to put it out; no rest for the weary.” With the release of Hot Pursuit and Criterion Games as developer, EA hopes to get on the top again.
When V-Rally was released in 1997, it was developed by the European based company, Eden Studios, and had nothing in common with the preceding Need for Speed games. EA however, bought the rights to title of the game and produced it in North America as Need for Speed: V-Rally. Eden Studios would develop V-Rally 2 in Europe, while EA would publish it in North America as Need for Speed V-Rally 2. V-Rally 2 however, followed the same formula as the other Need for Speed titles. In 1999, EA announced plans to make a spin-off of the Need for Speed series with the release of Need For Speed Motor City. The game however, was later confirmed that it would be included into the Need for Speed franchise and the spin-off series was never produced, and the game was renamed as Motor City Online.
Need for Speed installments
There have been sixteen games released in the Need for Speed series. Six games were developed by EA Canada, and two were developed by European-based video game developer Eden Games. One was also developed by Criterion Games.
The Need for Speed (1994)
The original Need for Speed was released for 3DO in 1994 with versions released for the PC (DOS) (1995), PlayStation & Saturn (1996) following shortly afterwards. 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. The first version featured chases by police cars which remained a popular theme throughout the series – the so-called Hot Pursuit editions (Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit, Need for Speed: High Stakes, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Need for Speed: Carbon and Need for Speed: Undercover) and have sold better in the marketplace than intervening versions. The initial version also featured an obnoxious opponent who taunted the player if the computer won the race or the player is arrested (if the player is ticketed several times).
The first installment of the NFS was one of only two serious attempts by the series to provide a realistic simulation of car handling and physics without arcade elements (the other being Porsche Unleashed). Electronic Arts teamed up with automotive magazine Road & Track to match vehicle behaviour, including the mimicking of the sounds made by the vehicles’ gear control levers. The game also contained precise vehicle data with spoken commentary, several “magazine style” images of each car interior and exterior and even short video-clips highlighting the vehicles set to music.
Another version of the game, called The Need for Speed: Special Edition, is based on the 1995 PC release of the game, and was released only for PC CD-ROM in 1996. It featured support for DirectX 2 and TCP/IP networking, two new tracks, time of day variations for most tracks (morning, midday and evening), and various enhancements in the game engine.
The Need for Speed and its Special Edition are the only games in the series to support DOS. Subsequent releases for the PC run only within Windows.
Need for Speed II (1997)
Need for Speed II featured some of the rarest and most exotic vehicles ever available, including the Ford Indigo concept vehicle, and features country-themed tracks from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. A new racing mode was also introduced in NFS II dubbed Knockout, where the last racers to finish laps will be eliminated until the only leading racer remains, and wins.
Foregoing the realism of the first Need for Speed, NFS II provided a more arcade-like gameplay style, while maintaining the intricately designed levels.[verification needed] In addition, track design was more open-ended; players could now “drive” off the asphalt, and even cut across fields to take advantage of shortcuts.
The PlayStation port of NFS II is the first PlayStation game to take advantage of not only the NeGcon controller, but both the Dual Analog and the DualShock controllers as well.
The special edition of NFS II, Need for Speed II: Special Edition includes one extra track, extra cars, and support for Glide, the then-burgeoning 3D graphics standard used in 3dfx‘s Voodoo and Voodoo 2 graphics cards.
Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998)
Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit added Hot Pursuit mode, in which the player either attempted to outrun the police or be the cop, arresting speeders.
NFS III took advantage of the multimedia capabilities of the CD-ROM by featuring audio commentary, picture slideshows and music videos. This game also is the first in the series to allow the downloading of additional cars from the official website. As a result, modding communities have sprung up to create more vehicles which would otherwise be unavailable to the game. The PC version is also the first game in Need for Speed series to support Direct 3D hardware 3D acceleration.
Need for Speed: High Stakes/Need for Speed: Road Challenge (1999)
High Stakes (North American and Australian title), also known as Road Challenge (European and Brazilian 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 is a racing mode (within Career) in which the reward was the losing player’s car. Getaway requires the player to outrun many pursuing police vehicles for a given time period. Time Trap is where the racer has to finish a certain amount of laps within the time limit, with police cars trying to slow them down. Career mode incorporates a monetary reward system that allows a player to purchase vehicles and performance upgrades while earning cash by racing in a chronological set of tournaments. Another innovation is the introduction of damage models. Vehicles which have been involved in accidents featured visibly crushed car bodies and suffered from performance penalties. After a race in Career mode, the player is given the option to purchase repairs. The mode also allows players, for the first time, to upgrade cars, although the feature simply consists of switching between three upgrade levels for each car.
The PlayStation version of the game, released some months before the PC version, features improved gameplay. Only all-new tracks were implemented without the additional rehashes from NFS III in the PC version. Additionally, the AI in the game was more advanced; the five AIs known as Nemesis, Bullit, Frost, Ranger, and Chump featured different driving characteristics (i.e. Nemesis would hound the player until a slipup occurs, whilst Bullit exhibits a more aggressive style, occasionally ramming into the player’s vehicle). Also, The Aston Martin DB7 was in the game at release while the PC version required that you would need to download it online to put it in the game. 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/Need for Speed: Porsche 2000 (2000)
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 and featured a wealth of information regarding them. The vehicle handling is considered the most realistic in any NFS game, and there is an in-depth catalogue of different Porsche parts that span throughout the years. The player had to win races in the Evolution career mode 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 with various stunts and move on with their career. The game is also the first in the series since the first NFS game to not feature a split screen mode. In later years, it was released for the Game Boy Advance.
In terms of game construction, it is most often hailed as Need For Speed’s best collaborated effort to bring forth one singular car brand and amplify and deepen the depth of knowledge both on history and motor functions. It features historical videos as well as several modern and older photos of Porsche vehicles. The Evolution concept was a hit for many people, creating many new Porsche fans due to the game’s high level of academia and depth of Porsche cars. The Factory Driver was also a different kind of unlocking, except to do with performing and excelling in certain slaloms, speed races, deliveries, etc.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (2002)
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 was the debut Need for Speed title from the newly formed EA Black Box (created after the purchase of Black Box Games in Vancouver), and the first Need For Speed for the sixth generation of consoles. Hot Pursuit 2 draws primarily from the gameplay and style of NFS III; its emphasis was on evading the police and over-the-top tracks featuring lengthy shortcuts. Although the game allowed players to play as the police, the pursuit mode was drastically less realistic than preceding versions of NFS; players merely needed to “tap” a speeder a certain number of times to arrest them, as opposed to using actual police tactics such as the PIT maneuver to immobilize a speeding vehicle.
This was the first Need for Speed version since the start of the series that did not feature a true “in the driving seat” camera view, complete with steering wheel, dashboard etc. In some ways this can be considered to be the landmark in EA’s move from realistic racing to arcade street racing. It is also the last game in the Need for Speed series for PC 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 is also the first Need for Speed to forego an original instrumental rock/techno soundtrack in favor of songs sung by licensed song artists under the EA Trax label.
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.
Need for Speed: Underground (2003)
Need for Speed: Underground proposed a shift from semi-professional racing and isolated circuits to the street racing style of other arcade racing series: all circuits are now part of a single map, Olympic City, except for drifts. This game introduced three new play modes (Drag, Drift and Sprint) and tuning with more options than in the previous attempt, High Stakes. Underground was also the first game in the series to feature a story, told via pre-rendered videos, completely rebooting the franchise.
The game features tuner cars and focuses on the import tuner culture shown in movies like the Fast and the Furious and 2 Fast 2 Furious. The game has a wide variety of tuning options such as widebody kits, bumpers, spoilers, rims, hoods, roof scoops, window tints, neon, decals, vinyls, paint and performance upgrades such as engine and NOS. City street racing is the primary focus of the game.
Due to law enforcement reasons, there were no cops in Underground and Underground 2, which drew criticism as cops were an important part of previous titles’ gameplay. The game received good reviews which generally criticised cops not being in the game.
Most of the new elements in Underground have become defining marks of later installments in the Need for Speed series.
This was the first Need for Speed to require Hardware Transform and Lighting in Graphics Cards.
Need for Speed: Underground 2 (2004)
Need for Speed: Underground 2, the sequel to the commercial hit Need for Speed: Underground, was released on 15 November 2004. A demo of the game was placed as a “late” easter egg in finished copies of the EA Games and Criterion Games collaboration Burnout 3: Takedown, and completed versions of NFSU2 also have a demo of Burnout 3 in the game.
In Underground 2, the story bob continues, but there are new racing modes such as the Underground Racing League and Street X, new and more tuning options, as well as a new method of selecting races—just driving around the city (similar to Grand Theft Auto and Midnight Club II) and selecting race “beacons”. Also included is an “outrun” mode where a player can challenge random opponents on the road and the race leader will attempt to distance themselves away from the opponent to defeat the opponent (similar to Tokyo Xtreme Racer). Underground 2 also introduces several SUVs, which could be customized as extensively as other Underground 2 vehicles and used to race against other SUV racers.
The customization features in the game was significantly expanded to modifications that have no actual effect on vehicle performance. The sound systems could be put in the trunk of cars, but served no purpose other than sheer flash. The game also features more extensive product placement for companies with no connection to auto racing, such as integrating the logo for Cingular Wireless, an American wireless communications company, into the game’s messaging system and displaying it on-screen for much of the gameplay.This game has extensive amount of customization.
The performance and handling of the car is not only affected from “performance shops”, but cosmetic modifications, like spoilers and hoods, which affect the downforce of the car.
Need for Speed: Underground Rivals was the first Need for Speed game released on the PlayStation Portable. It is the PSP equivalent of Need for Speed: Underground 2, and was released on 24 February 2005 in Japan, 14 March 2005 in North America, and 1 September 2005 in Europe. The title went Platinum in Europe on 30 June 2006. It had no free roam and the cars were very limited.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)
Need for Speed: Most Wanted was released on 16 November 2005, and was one of the first games released for the Xbox 360. Police chases make a comeback and represent a significant body of the gameplay, and includes the Grand Theft Auto-like free-roaming of Underground 2, but with less extensive vehicle customization features than in the Underground series. The customization options are improved slightly in the latter need for speed titles. The story mode is presented in a significantly different style from Underground, with CGI effects mixed with live action, which was used in later games, such as Need For Speed Carbon. The mode also features 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 has to meet certain requirements before he can take on the next Blacklist rival, such as races completed, bounty earned, etc.
A special “Black Edition” of Most Wanted was also released, which features additional races and challenges, and a few bonus cars, including a specially-tuned BMW E46 (M3) GTR, a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, a red Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, a Porsche, and a few others, and also includes a Black Edition-only behind-the-scenes DVD. Both versions of Most Wanted are available for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo DS, and Windows-based PCs. Only the standard edition of Most Wanted is available for GameCube and Xbox 360 (“Black Edition” was not produced for these platforms). Black Edition was made for the tenth anniversary of the Need for Speed series. In Germany the “Black Edition” was only released for PS2.
The PSP port of Need for Speed: Most Wanted is Need for Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0. It was released on the Gamecube, Xbox 360, PS2, Xbox, GBA, PC and DS.
Need for Speed: Carbon (2006)
Need for Speed: Carbon saw the return of nighttime-only racing, and a selection of cars similar to that of Most Wanted, including compact cars and sports cars associated with import culture, American muscle cars, and supercars. Carbon also introduces a new feature wherein the player is allowed to form a “crew,” to which members with different abilities may be chosen that aid the player in races. Drift events returned to the series in Carbon. It also continues the story of the player from NFSMW. However, the game has far less emphasis on the police than NFSMW.
The game was released on 31 October 2006 for Windows-based personal computers, Playstation 2 and Xbox 360, and this is the first Need for Speed game for Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii and it’s the last NFS game for Nintendo Gamecube and Xbox, followed by video game consoles and handheld game consoles. Carbon‘s handheld port is known as Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City. Drag racing was removed from the series, but a new type of race called “Canyon Duel” was added, where the player and a game boss take turns racing down a canyon, trying to stay as close to the leader as possible. The closer the player is to the leader, the more points they accrue. If the player is unable to overtake the leader and remain in front (10 seconds), it will go down to the next round where the player must stay as far ahead as possible to gain more points and win against the boss.
Another new feature is “Autosculpt”, which allows players to custom-fabricate their own ground effects, rims, hoods, and other parts. The cars featured on the front cover of game are the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX and Dodge Challenger. The car featured on the front cover of the Collector’s Edition is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.
The Wii port lacked online play, but made full use of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk.
The Need for Speed: Carbon “Collector’s Edition” features 4 exclusive cars, 10 pre-tuned cars, 6 new races, 3 unique challenge events, 10 unique vinyls and a Bonus DVD showing the making of Carbon and showcasing all the cars used in the game. The Collector’s Edition also features alternate box art and metallic finish packaging. Although the Mac edition doesn’t display the Collector’s Edition title, it contains all Collector’s Edition features.
Need for Speed: ProStreet (2007)
Need for Speed: ProStreet is the 2007 released title in the Need for Speed series. Key features of the game include realistic damage, a return to realistic racing (instead of the arcade-like racing of previous titles), modeling, burnouts and more. The game also lacks the free roam mode in which players can roam the streets. Instead, all of the races are on closed race tracks that take place on organized race days. The game consisted of Drag races, Speed challenges, Grip races (circuit racing), and drift races. you would progress through the career mode dominating racedays, unlocking events, and going to showdowns. you could improve your cars, but the main focus was on dominating each raceday to unlock more. you would eventually end up unlocking one or up to all of the elite kings-Drag, Speed, Drift, and Grip kings. you would go to racedays and compete against others that get progressively better and just race the certain kind multiple times, until you could face the king, and win. you would then receive their car as a “gift” for beating the highest level of that type of racing. There is also a king over all of the types- Ryo. he is very good at everything, and you have to be able to beat him in everything to win his car.
The game was released on 14 November 2007 in North America and on 23 November 2007 in Europe. However sales were poor and critics bashed the game because of its awkward, unrealistic physics engine, boring single player career mode and unresponsive controls.
The “Collector’s Edition” for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 adds another 5 new cars. It is available via download.
Need for Speed: Undercover (2008)
Need for Speed: Undercover was released on 18 November 2008. The game had a significantly longer development cycle than previous games, taking 16 months to develop.
The game focuses on, like NFS Most Wanted, tuning and cop chases. The game features 50+ cars. The game takes place in a fictional city, in a Tri-city Bay area. The player’s role is an undercover cop, trying to stop the racers. The game contains live-action cutscenes which feature the actress Maggie Q. The game also features a damage system and now parts can break off after a crash. However, the player doesn’t need to pay for the damage and the car is repaired automatically after each race, unlike 2007’s Need For Speed Pro Street.
EA Games president Frank Gibeau stated that due to the fact that the sales of ProStreet didn’t live up to EA’s hopes for the game, the franchise will go back to its “roots” with a number of features, including open-world racing and a new highway battle mode. The game was met with average responses, mostly in the 65% to 70% range, but the responses were higher than ProStreet (one response was higher than 70%, three of them were below a 65%).
The “Collector’s Edition” for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 adds another 5 new cars, plus twelve new circuit, sprint and checkpoint track configurations. Also included are specially tuned versions of ten existing cars which are available in quick race & online modes, plus 35 exclusive vinyls for adding a unique visual style to any of your cars.
EA also ported Undercover to various mobile devices. It is available for purchase and download in the iTunes App Store for the iPod Touch and iPhone, and in the Palm App Catalog for the Palm Pre, and Windows Mobile. It is also the last Need for Speed game for PlayStation 2.
Need for Speed: Shift (2009)
Need for Speed: Shift, released on 15 September 2009, primarily centers around legal races in real-life racing circuits around the world, and maintain its mix of exotic, import and muscle cars. It features 60+ cars, divided into 4 tiers. It features 19 tracks, some of which are actual licensed tracks and others which are fictional. In addition to improved driving simulation and an adaptive difficulty, the game reintroduces cockpit view, the first in the series since Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed. NFS Shift focuses on racing simulation rather than arcade racing of previous titles. The car featured on the cover page is a BMW E92 M3 GT2.
It has received better reviews than the last 3 games, Carbon, ProStreet and Undercover. It has gained a 9.0 rating from IGN and the Official Xbox Magazine while gained a 7.0 from Eurogamer and Gamespot, who were considerably less impressed. The reviewers generally praised the in-car view of the game and its sense of speed while most of the criticism revolved around the Drift aspect of NFS: Shift.
A Ferrari racing DLC pack was released. It was available on the Xbox 360 for 800 Microsoft Points. It featured 10 Ferrari cars and 46 specific Ferrari challenges in career mode.
An Exotic racing pack was also released. It features cars like the McLaren MP4-12C, the BMW M1, the Gumpert Apollo and the Honda NSX. It also features new races, a new championship & 5 more trophies for the PlayStation 3.
It is available for purchase and download in the iTunes App Store for the iPod Touch and iPhone, and Windows Mobile.
The “Special Edition” of Need For Speed Shift contains a special tuned BMW M3 GT2, and an Elite Series track.
Need for Speed: Nitro (2009)
Need for Speed: Nitro is the Need for Speed game and the first made exclusively for Nintendo DS and Wii, featuring arcade-style gameplay and targets a casual audience. Nitro was released on November 3rd, 2009 in North America while it was released in Europe on November 6th, 2009.
Need for Speed Nitro-X
A newer installment and the sequel to the original NFS: Nitro. Announced shortly after E3 2010 (after Hot Pursuit and Shift 2), EA released details on bringing the Need For Speed series onto Nintendo’s digital distribution DSiWare service for use with the DSi/XL and the upcoming 3DS system. Titled Need For Speed: Nitro-X, the game is essentially the original release with a couple of updates, such as 18 licensed vehicles, never-before-driven police units, custom tags for in-game usage with the DSi camera, 16 updated tracks from all 6 original Nitro locations, a revised career mode, local multiplayer matches for up to 4 players, as well as new rewards and unlockables. The game will be released as a digital download only and as such, be priced at a premium (800+ Nintendo points). It was originally going to be released on September 20, 2010, but EA delayed the game slightly to work on improving the in-game physics engine. It became re-scheduled for a release on October 8, 2010 in North America but was delayed once again and released on November 15, 2010 in North America and November 26, 2010 in Europe.
Need for Speed: Nitro is also available as a social multiplayer game in Facebook.
Need for Speed: World (2010)
Need for Speed World is a free-to-play MMO racing game in development 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. 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. In October 2009, the game was in public beta-testing limited to residents of Taiwan.
The world series 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. Now the Starter Pack’s level 50 cap has been removed giving all players of NFS World availability of levels over 10.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was developed by Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts on November 16, 2010. It focuses on racing and cop chases rather than car customization. Hot Pursuit, as the name implies, tends to return the series to the roots, and is inspired by the original 3DO Need For Speed game. The game won many awards at the E3 2010, including “Best Racing Game” and other “Best of E3”-awards. It is the first game in the Need For Speed series since the original Hot Pursuit to win an E3 award.
There are 60+ cars: most of them are available to both racers and cops, but a few are exclusive to each side. Most of them are exotics and feature cars such as the Lamborghini Reventon, McLaren F1, Bugatti Veyron and Pagani Zonda Cinque. Unlike previous NFS titles, however, there is no customization. The game takes place in a fictional county called Seacrest County, where there are no skyscrapers. The scenery ranges from dense forests to snowy mountains to deserts. The “free roam” feature in the game lets you explore Seacrest County. NFS Hot Pursuit lets you play as either a cop or racer, and has a separate career mode for each side. The game’s primary focus is to provide players with high speed cop vs racer chases.
The game also features many weapons. Some are exclusive to the cops or racers. Power-ups include spike strips, which are used by both cops and racers and activate a spike strip from the back of the car and lay it on the road, and EMPs (ElectroMagnetic Pulses) which are used by both cops and racers and can be used for taking down cops or racers, or for performing takedowns (which is an important feature of the Burnout series). Other weapons include helicopters and roadblocks for cops and turbo and jammers for racers.
The game is released on the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and Microsoft Windows. The biggest feature about NFS Hot Pursuit is NFS Autolog, which track player progressions and statistics compared to other player and recommends players 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. This autolog feature will carry on in its next generation in Shift 2: Unleashed. NFS Hot Pursuit has received some of the best reviews of the series, which generally praise the Autolog feature of the game and the cop vs racer chases.
The “Limited Edition” gives players exclusive access to the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and the Ford Shelby GT500. There was a lot of downloadable content for the game:
- The Super Sports Pack, features 13 new events, additional trophies/achievements and 3 new cars, Porsche 911 GT2 RS, Gumpert Apollo S and Bugatti Veyron Super Sport.
- The Armed & Dangerous Pack, features 2 new online game mode, Most Wanted and “Arms Race”, along with 3 achievements/trophies.
- The Lamborghini Untamed Pack, features 3 Lamborghini cars, Lamborghini Diablo, Countach, and Sesto Elemento, with 10 new events and 4 achievements/trophies.
- The Porsche Unleashed, features 3 Porsche cars, Porsche 911 Turbo (1982 Edition), 959 and 911 Speedster, with 10 new events and 4 achievements/trophies.
Shift 2: Unleashed (2011)
Shift 2: Unleashed has been developed by Slightly Mad Studios and is the sequel to Need for Speed: Shift. It expands on the gameplay and features introduced with the original. Shift 2 includes the Autolog feature introduced with Hot Pursuit, which allows players to keep track of their friends’ progress of achievements as well as best lap times, etc. It was released on March 29, 2011. It also includes extra features such as night racing, an additional helmet camera, a more in depth career mode with different areas to complete. The driver aggression/precision aspect of scoring has been taken away to free up the game, and to focus more on the driving experience rather than getting points divided into two sections. There were many minor improvements (including a full damage model now, and improved car flip physics) that were added to NFS Shift 2 and polished the game in its entirety.
The “Limited Edition” package unlocks 3 cars from the start: the Nissan Silvia spec.R Aero, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV and the Lamborghini Murciélago LP640.
Need for Speed: The Run (2011)
Need for Speed: The Run has been officially announced by Need for Speed via their official Facebook profile. A trailer has been posted including pursuits and races, which suggests that the new Need for Speed title is action based rather than simulation based. The trailer has also shown a character, which foretells the game will most likely include a storyline. The game is scheduled for release on November 15, 2011. The trailer shows that the story is based on a race across the United States from San Francisco to New York. Notable cars seen in the trailer includes the Audi R8 V10, Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Super Snake, Ford Taurus SHO Police Interceptor, BMW M3 GTS, Pagani Huayra, Mazda RX-7, Nissan GT-R, Aston Martin V12 Vantage and Porsche 911.
At the end of the trailer, a female voice is heard calling out ‘Jack’. So it is likely that the protagonist will have a name or will be named in this franchise.
EA’s strategy is to provide the mass-market audience with an action adventure type NFS game annually for the holiday season. They alternate between several studios to ensure sufficient development time is given to provide a high quality entertainment experience in each product. With Criterion’s Hot Pursuit released in November 2010 the next game is in development by Black Box and due November 2011. In addition, more authentic NFS games, i.e. under the Shift sub-series, will be released when the market permits and the developers feel ready.
On April 28, the UK online video game store ShopTo leaked a trailer for a new Need for Speed game, entitled “Need for Speed: The Run”.
According to Kotaku, “It appears to be a story-focused, cross-country driving affair with players fleeing from the cops”, a similar affair to that of “Need for Speed Undercover”.
The next day, on the official Need for Speed Facebook page, a post stated “The Run is an illicit cross-country race stretching from San Francisco to New York”, as well as revealing the new game’s website; http://www.NeedForSpeedTheRun.com/
It is set to be released on November 15, 2011.