Need for Speed - Complete Game Series Listed - Prima Games

Need for Speed – Complete Game Series Listed

Let take a trip down the NFS history road

by Nikola "Nick" Jovanovic
Need for Speed - Complete Game Series Listed

Well, this is going to be a lengthy one! The legendary street racing series, whose latest sequel we welcomed recently in the form of Need For Speed Unbound, began its journey in the 90s, marking numerous generations of game systems and many eras. What has remained the same is, of course, fast cars, cool music, and arcade racing fun. So, let’s check out the complete Need for Speed game series from the early days of Road & Track, through many changes and reboots, to the anime-inspired Unbound that we play today.

Need for Speed – Complete Game Series Listed

The first Need for Speed game was released for 3DO way back in 1994, only to be ported to the then more popular consoles – PlayStation and SEGA Saturn. The rest is history, and the history is represented in a long list that you can check out below.

The Classic NFS Era

I will fight you in the parking lot for the honor of this game

If you ask me, these were the days. Yeah, I know only the old… I mean, gamers with a long and rich experience, will even remember these games, but the reason Need for Speed even became a franchise and a world-wide recognized name is right in these games and the impact that they had.

  • The Need for Speed (1994)
  • Need for Speed II (1997)
  • Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998)
  • Need for Speed: High Stakes (1999)
  • Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed (2000)
  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (2002)

Black Box / Underground Era

Riders of the storm…

Fast and Furious movies hit and EA followed, Need for Speed got cool and hip, yo! Millennial street racing and tuner culture came to replace the boomer’s fantasy of driving exotic cars in beautiful locations. Now it’s night in the gritty city and the neon lights lit Supra goes BRRRRRR. It was fun while it lasted, but they ran it to the ground after Undercover.

  • Need for Speed: Underground (2003)
  • Need for Speed: Underground 2 (2004)
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)
  • Need for Speed: Carbon (2006)
  • Need for Speed: ProStreet (2007)
  • Need for Speed: Undercover (2008)

We Don’t Know What NFS is Anymore so Let’s Try Everything Era

Need For Speed Nitro (Nintendo Wii, 2009, colorized)

Now for the sad part, after Undercover, they just wanted to cancel the series altogether. But no, in a 180 degree turn overnight, EA decided not to cancel Need for Speed, but to try to make as many vastly different games as they could to see if anything stuck. So in the year 2009 alone, we had a track-based racing simulation (???), a kiddy arcade game on Wii (?!?), and a car MMO (?!?!?!). We even had an interactive movie-like experience later in 2011 with The Run… it was just a big mess. The only high points of this random era were two Criterion-made games – Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted reboots.

  • Need for Speed: Shift (2009)
  • Need for Speed: Nitro (2009)
  • Need for Speed: World (2010)
  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)
  • Shift 2: Unleashed (2011)
  • Need for Speed: The Run (2011)
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012)
  • Need for Speed Rivals (2013)
  • Need for Speed: No Limits (2015)

Reboot / Ghost Era

It’s just.. Need for Speed officer

So it was time for another reboot, and this time around instead of a bunch of studios doing a bunch of stuff, EA hired Ghost to work exclusively on new NFS games with a two-year development cycle. So, we got a game that could have been called Underground 3, and two debatable sequels (I personally liked Payback!), after which there was another break.

  • Need for Speed (2015)
  • Need for Speed Payback (2017)
  • Need for Speed Heat (2019)

Return of Criterion Era (Current)

…and then the zoomers came to take over, like “it’s our turn, yo!”

Studio Criterion is reassembled and finally given a green light to return to NFS games, after slaving away as support on Battlefields and whatnot. So we got a solid Remaster of their most popular game from 2010 and, just recently, a brand new game that we are having fun with these days.

  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered (2020)
  • Need for Speed Unbound (2022)

What does the future hold for the Need for Speed game series? Well, more Criterion games we hope, and while Unbound turned out decent, we wouldn’t mind having another throwback title from Criterion that focuses more on this rich NFS history.

For more Need for Speed here on Prima Games, check out – Need For Speed Unbound: All Cars Listed, Does NFS Unbound Have Steering Wheel Support, and All Licensed Clothing Brands in Need for Speed Unbound – Listed.

Nikola "Nick" Jovanovic

Nick has been a Prima Games Staff Writer since May 2022, an old-school gamer, and a gamer journalist with over 25 years of expertise. Our resident micro-influencer from Serbia! When he's not driving through Belgrade, he's probably racing in Gran Turismo or Forza, playing some strange JRPG games or just watching pro wrestling.