Need for speed, popularly known as NFS is a car racing video game which allows players to customize their supercar while in a race with the competition or the police. It was first published by Electronic Arts and currently developed by Ghost Games.

Since 1994, there have been twenty-four games released in the Need for Speed Series. The game series has been so well received through the years that it has been adapted into a film and hot wheels toys. This is a comprehensive list of every game in the series from first to last.

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The Need for Speed

This was the first Need for Speed series to be released in 1994. It contained a very realistic positing of car handling and sounds made by cars could be heard as though it was not just a game. It had various cars, tracks, and themes and also featured chases by police cars.

The Need for Speed II

This series was released in 1997. It first featured a new racing mode where the last players to finish the race were eliminated until it was down to the final player. This was called “knockout”. There was also an introduction of shortcuts in this series.

Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit


This was released in 1998. It had an amazing feature of letting the player decide to either be the cop and takedown speedsters or to be a player attempting to outrun the police. It was widely renowned as the first game to support direct 3D hardware. It was also the first series to permit the downloading of new cars from the official website of the NFS.

Need for Speed: High Stakes

This series, released in 1999 was also known as Road Challenge in Europe and Brazil. It introduced the upgrade of cars and allowed players to purchase repairs at the end of each race to ensure the perfect functioning of the cars. The AI in the game was also more advanced than every other series released before due to the introduction of the play station version of the game.

Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed

Porsche Unleashed which was released in 2000 was very different from all the other series because it featured only Porsches. The player had to win races to unlock various models of Porsches from 1950 to 2000

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2

It was released in 2002 and took the same pattern as Need for Speed III of 1998, in which the player had to evade the police and over-the-top tracks. It was, however, less realistic than others in that whereas, in the other series, the player had to find a way to maneuver a speeding vehicle, in this series, the player only simply had to tap a speeder to arrest them. It was the first Need for Speed game to use songs sung by artists under the EA Trax label. It was also the last game to feature the split-screen two-player mode introduced in Need for Speed II of 1997.

Need for Speed: Underground


This was released in 2003. It was popularly known because it introduced drifts and nitro and It was largely criticized because the series eliminated the police pursuit feature. Most gamers felt that this removed the suspense from the game. It was also the first game in the series to feature a story.

Need for Speed: Underground II

This game series was released in 2004. Having a close semblance with that of NFS 2003, it kept on with the story mode. However, Underground II made provisions for SUVs. It also featured actresses and models as characters in the game, helping the players through the campaign.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Most Wanted, released in 2005 was one of the first games released for Xbox 360. It featured the blacklist which constituted of 15 players. A player was expected to beat these 15 blacklist players to complete the career mode, unlock cars, tracks and paths. Most wanted became the best selling game as it’s graphics, sound effects and general gameplay is largely said to be top-notch.

Need for Speed: Carbon

Released in 2006, Carbon took over the story of Most Wanted with a lot less emphasis on the police. Drift events were widely featured in this series. It also introduced two new races: Canyon duel and Autosculpt. Need for Speed: Carbon also introduced a new game pattern whereby the player was allowed to form a crew that helps the player in races.

Need for Speed: ProStreet


This was released in 2007. Unlike the Carbon, it brought back drag races. It also featured the speed challenges (speed races and speed traps), grip races and drift races. Its disadvantage was that all races were on closed race tracks that took place on organized race days.

Need for Speed: Undercover

This was released in 2008 and is the twelfth installment in the Need for Speed series. The game sees players conducting illegal street races within the fictional Tri-City Area, with the main mode’s story focused on the player operating as an undercover police officer to investigate links between a criminal syndicate, stolen cars, and street racers. It could be played on single-player and multiplayer modes. It was also available to be played on many platforms, unlike previously released series.

Need for Speed: Shift and Need for Speed: Nitro

These two series were both introduced in 2009. Shift featured over 60 cars and 19 tracks, some of which are licensed tracks and others, largely fictional. Its focus was mostly racing stimulation rather than the arcade racing of the previous titles.

Need for Speed: Nitro, on the other hand, had several updates which comprised of 18 licensed vehicles, new police units, custom tags, 16updated tracks, local multiplayer matches for up to four players, a revised career mode and unlockables and new rewards.

Need for Speed: World

This was released in 2010 and took most features of the Carbon and Most Wanted. It mostly focused on illegal street racing, tuning and police chases. The series also included replicas of cities of Carbon and Most Wanted in its gameplay.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

This series was also released in 2010. It focused mainly on racing and police chases. One of the most enticing features introduced in this series was the Autolog which tracked the players’ progressions and recommended which events to play. It had no customization and the game was featured in a fictional rural area called the Seacrest County.

Shift 2: Unleashed

It was released in 2011 and was a sequel to the Need for Speed: Shift of 2009.

Need for Speed: The Run

Also released in 2011, the Run series featured in quick time events with the player for the first time in the Need for Speed history, actually coming down from their car and traveling on foot. The Autolog was also used in the game and it enabled the players to comment and post pictures while still in the game. It featured a lot of real-world cars which could be altered with visual upgrades

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

It was released in 2012. It featured open-world racing. Most of the cars in the series was also available from the start, the only difficulty being that they were hidden in strategic positions. It did not feature any story. It, however, featured a blacklist of 10, upgrades and also ran on the Autolog.

Need for Speed: Rivals

Released in 2013 for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. It had the basic features of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit of 2010 with very few differences.

Need for Speed: No limits


Released in 2015, No limits platforms were available only on iOS and Androids. It was the first series designed to be available only on a mobile. It had a heavy focus on street racing, vehicle customization, and avoiding the police.

Need for Speed 2015

This particular series after being released met with a lot of critics from fans. It was described as “boring” and “slow” and this went a long way to pushing down the fan base of the game.

Need for Speed Payback:

Released in 2017. This is the twenty-third installment in the Need for Speed series. Unlike the Need for Speed 2015, It can be played offline and had amazing graphics.

Need for Speed Heat


This is the most recent in the series and was released in November 2019.