The Need for Speed
Developer(s) EA Uprise
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Writer(s) Steven Bochco
David Milch
Composer(s) Brian Tyler
Hans Zimmer
Steve Jablonsky
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Release Date(s)
WW 13 September 2014
Single-player, Co-op
Age Rating(s)
PEGI: 18
Genre(s) Racing
Series Need for Speed
Engine Frostbite 3

The Need for Speed is an open world racing video game developed by EA Uprise and EA ROCK and published by Electronic Arts for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. It is the twenty-second installment in the long-running Need for Speed series and a reboot of the 1994 video game of the same name developed by Pioneer Productions and EA Canada. The game was released on 13 September 2014 worldwide, celebrating the series' 20th anniversary.

Pre-production of the game began in 2010. Electronic Arts approached both ROCK and Uprise to revived the 1994 classic. The co-operative mode was added to the main game. The development teams hoped the game would appeal to both newcomers and players of the original game; they maintained the theme of the original. NYPD Blue creators Steven Bochco and David Milch were hired to write the game's story. It marks the franchise's first return to the import scene and tuner culture focus since the release of 2010's Need for Speed: World.

The Need for Speed received much anticipation and hype. Upon release, the game was well received, with critics praising the gameplay, style, graphics, art direction, artificial intelligence, multiplayer and the co-operative mode, but the game's story and it's depiction of nudity was criticized. The game's budget was around $56 to $61 million and was consisted a commercial success for Electronic Arts.

A full reboot of the series, Need for Speed, developed by Ghost Games, was released on 3 November 2015 in North America and 5 November in Europe on PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It was later released on Microsoft Windows on 15 March 2016.


The Need for Speed (2014) takes on the gameplay style of Need for Speed: ProStreet, but also the styles of Need for Speed: Underground, Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. The open world features a similar set-up to Most Wanted, with several jumps, speed traps, and unlockable cars, as well as shortcuts that are not shown on the map.

The car customization menu returns. Cars can be altered with performance upgrades and visual upgrades, such as paint colors, vinyls, neon, custom front and rear bumpers, custom side skirts, spoilers, custom hoods, exhaust tips, roof scoops, and wide body kits.

Players have the ability to increase their car’s performance by applying performance upgrades to the car. The player can upgrade their car’s engine, drivetrain, suspension, tires, engine control unit (ECU) as well as add nitrous oxide, turbo chargers and reduce the car’s weight (in the form of “weight reduction packages”).

The game has a two-player online co-op mode for the campaign. The co-op shares the same gameplay as the single-player.


Characters and setting

Ben Foster 59th Berlin Film Festival Award OUViM85323bl
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Ben Foster (top), and Angie Stevenson (bottom) provided the voice and motion capture of Kyle Harrison and Savanna Alexis.

The Need for Speed takes place in the year 2026. The game features around twenty-seven characters, sixteen of which are playable. The sixteen characters are split into four teams of four with each team driving their own type of car.

"Team Blue" is led by Kyle Harrison. Blue includes Sloane Leo, Mike Tuzla, and Raymen Keyes, Kyle's three best friends, and Ned Elias, a computer nerd and one of Kyle's new friends.

"Team Red" is led by Mark Liam, the head bully at Kyle's school and basketball star of the school's basketball team. Red includes Savanna Alexis, Mark's girlfriend, Tyler Jeanne, Cameron MuTable, Dyke Von Grisha, Mark's friends and members of the school basketball team.


In 2026, Kyle Harrison, and his friends are invited to take part in the Ex World Grand Prix, a contest where the top winning team will receive $6 million dollars. There are a total of six courses in the game: City, Coastal, Alpine, Rusty Springs, Autumn Valley and Vertigo. Each is a distinctive environment. City, Coastal and Alpine have three sections each, while the others are circuit races.


The original 1994 Need for Speed was developed by Pioneer Productions and EA Canada. In early January 2005, Electronic Arts acquired Calgary, Alberta, Canada based development team EA Robotic Operational Creative Kilo-meter (EA ROCK for short). Electronic Arts tasked EA ROCK with reviving the 1994 Need for Speed game. ESN renamed it's EA Uprise in 2012 after Electronic Arts acquired the company. EA ROCK contacted Uprise and asked for assistants

After the commercial and critical success of 2010's Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit,[1] Criterion Games executives stated that they wanted to draw from the series' roots and re-introduce old Need for Speed ideals. However, in 2011, EA Black Box released Need for Speed: The Run, which received mixed reviews.[2][3][4] In 2012, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau said that although he was proud of the Black Box-developed installment, "he didn't want a 60, I want an 80+".[5] On the subject of EA Black Box, Gibeau said the publisher would not be changing its alternating studio strategy.[5]

At Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012, Criterion Games vice president Alex Ward announced that the days of random developers churning out yearly Need for Speed installments were over. Ward would not confirm that all Need for Speed titles for the future would be developed wholly by Criterion, but did say that the studio would have "strong involvement" in them.[6][7]

In April 2013, Electronic Gaming Monthly published a report that a reboot of 2004's Need for Speed: Underground 2 could be the next NFS game;[8] that report was contradicted hours later by Criterion's Alex Ward.[9][10] Initially it was suspected that Criterion would not be developing racing games in the short-term, but Ward clarified that he was speaking personally instead of speaking for the studio.[11] In a 2013 interview with VideoGamer, Ghost's Marcus Nilsson stated that they were working to restore the credibility of the franchise.[12] He also suggested a sequel to 2004's Underground 2 if the conditions were right.[13] Later in the year, at the Eurogamer Expo, Nilsson hinted that the franchise might return to a style of progression in the future similar to the Underground - Most Wanted (2005) - Carbon series.[14]

On 19 November 2013, EA confirmed their next Need for Speed game, The Need for Speed, a revival of the 1994 video game of the same name, with a teaser trailer,[15] following marketing material tease days before.[16][17] It was also confirmed that The Need for Speed would require an online connection to play the multiplayer and co-op, but would not always need the online requirement to play the single-player.[18] The Need for Speed uses Frostbite 3.[19]

Because of the low sales of Most Wanted on the Wii U and PlayStation Vita, The Need for Speed was not developed for those platforms.[20]


The Need for Speed was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on 13 September 2014 worldwide.

On 21 February 2015, The Need for Speed: Signature Edition was released. It features all DLC packs (as well as all pre-order bonuses previously re-released in the "Fully Loaded Garage" DLC pack) along with the main game.



Artist Song Other games
Snoop Dogg ft. The Doors Riders on the Storm (Fredwreck Remix)
Capone I Need Speed
Chingy I Do
Sly Boogy That'z My Name
Xzibit LAX
Terror Squad Lean Back The Hip Hop Dance Experience, Def Jam Rapstar

Racing (default)

Artist Song Other games
Fluke Switch/Twitch
Christopher Lawrence Rush Hour
Felix Da Housecat Rocket Ride (Soulwax Remix) (Soulwax Rock It Right Mix)
Sin Hard EBM
FREELAND Mind Killer (Jagz Kooner Remix) Origins Unknown Mix in Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights
Paul Van Dyk Nothing But You (Cirrus Remix) original in FIFA 04, DJ Hero; cover in Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party
Sonic Animation E-Ville
Killing Joke The Death & The Resurrection Show Battlefield Hardline
Rise Against Give It All FlatOut 2, MX vs ATV: Unleashed, WWE WrestleMania 21
Killradio Scavenger
The Bronx Notice of Eviction
Ministry No W Tony Hawk's Underground 2
Queens Of The Stone Age In My Head Rock Band (DLC)
Mudvayne Determined
Septembre I Am Weightless
Helmet Crashing Foreign Cars
Cirrus Back On A Mission Cool Boarders 2001, Apocalypse
Spiderbait Black Betty
Skindred Nobody MX vs ATV: Unleashed
Snapcase Skeptic
Unwritten Law The Celebration Song MX vs ATV: Unleashed, Project Gotham Racing 3


Artist Song Other games
Atmosphere Keys to Life vs 15 Minutes of Fame
Lil Jon Get Low (NFS2 Remix)
Elise Estrada Unlove You
Shawn Desman Red Hair
Beyonce Me Myself and I
Justin Timberlake Cry Me a River



The Need for Speed was well received by critics at E3 2014 and was awarded with "Best Racing Game" from Game Critics Awards.[21] Previewers who had access to The Need for Speed called the game a uprising revival to the 1994 classic.[22] Other called it an improved version of Ghost Games' Rivals, citing similar gameplay mechanics.[23][24]

Critical reception

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS3) 93%[25]
(PC) 93%[26]
(X360) 92%[27]
(PS4) 97.59%[28]
(XONE) 95.08%[29]
Metacritic (PS3) 94/100[30]
(PC) 94/100[31]
(X360) 93/100[32]
(PS4) 97/100[33]
(XONE) 93/100[34]
Orange 94% (PS4)
93% (XONE)
90% (PC)
87% (PS3)
87% (X360)
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 9/10[35]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 10/10[36]
Eurogamer 10/10[37]
Game Informer 10/10[38]
GameSpot 9/10[39]
GamesRadar 95 / 100
IGN 9.5/10[41]
Joystiq 95 / 100
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 10/10[43]
Official Xbox Magazine 9.5/10[44]
PC Gamer UK 91%[45] 8/10[46]
Polygon 8.5/10[47]
Entity Award
PlayStation Official Magazine - UK 6th best PS4 game of all time[48]

The Need for Speed received critical acclaim upon release. Aggregating review websites GameRankings, Metacritic and Orange gave the PlayStation 4 version 95.79%, 95/100, and 94%,[28][33] the Xbox One version 91.08% and 91/100, and 93%[29][34] the PlayStation 3 version 89.00% and 88/100, and 87%,[25][30] the Microsoft Windows version 93.67%, 93/100, and 90%,[26][31] and the Xbox 360 version 87.43%, 86/100, and 87%.[27][32]

In a 'world exclusive' review, GamesMaster magazine gave the game a score of 91%, as well as the "GamesMaster Gold award" (awarded to games that manage a score of 90% or above). The editor regarded the quality of the photo realistic visuals, the length and depth of the gameplay and custom design, and the "spectacular" last third of the game as the highlights. The summary said "sitting back exhausted we were left with just one question dribbling forth from our gaping jaws. How on earth are they going to top this in the sequel? Because of one thing there can be no doubt. Need for Speed is back."[49]

IGN's Keza MacDonald also spoke extremely positively, stating that they felt the game was "exciting" and "beautifully presented", included "great characterization" and "more depth than you would expect". They gave the game an overall score of 9.1 out of 10, the highest score they have given a game in the series since 1994's The Need for Speed, describing it as "amazing" and concluding that the game "did justice" to both the character and franchise.[50]

Ryan Taljonick of GamesRadar lauded the location's setting and environment, and expressed that "not one area ever feels like a rehash of another". Taljonick also felt that the game had great pacing, and that it is "unrivaled by any other game in the genre". Furthermore, the reviewer considered The Nicktoon's character development as "an integral part" of the whole game's experience, and concluded that The Need for Speed "is a fantastic game and an excellent origin story for one of gaming's original race classics".[51]

Giant Bomb gave the game four stars out of five, stating that "The Need for SpeedTemplate:'s tone is somewhat at odds with its action, but the reborn of the first Need for Speed game seems primed for a successful new adventuring career".[52]

Many critics favorably compared The Need for Speed to Need for Speed Rivals, with some even believing that The Need for Speed had surpassed it. Entertainment WeeklyTemplate:'s Darren Franich stated that "if Need for Speed Rivals was BioShock, then The Need for Speed is BioShock Infinite"[53] with Adam Kovic of calling them "two similar-yet-separate games that can co-exist and remain equal in quality."[54]

Philip Kollar of Polygon gave the game an 8.5 out of 10, writing: "The Need for SpeedTemplate:'s technical shortcomings are frustrating primarily because almost everything else about the game is so well-designed and impressive. It builds on the series' legacy but also stretches into meaningful new directions. It may hit a few bumps, but if this is what Uprise and EA ROCK can pull off in their first release and the first next-gen Need for Speed, the future is bright for this franchise."[47]

The game's depiction of nudity was strongly criticized, which prompted the American Family Association (AFA) to call it a "soft-core porn" racing game and take out full page ads in major newspapers, asking gamers to boycott the game.


The game had sold more than 3 million copies in less than forty-eight hours of its release. In the United Kingdom, The Need for Speed debuted at number one on the charts, and became the biggest UK title launch in 2014, until being overtaken by Hot Wheels: Colosseum X Games. The Need for Speed set a new record for the franchise, more than doubling the debut sales of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.

Furthermore, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of The Need for Speed set new week one records as the fastest-selling individual formats of any Need for Speed title so far. The Need for Speed also topped the charts in France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States. In the United States, The Need for Speed was the top selling title, excluding download sales.

In Japan, the game debuted at number four with 150,250 units sold. On 30 September 2014, Electronic Arts announced that the game sold 5.4 million copies worldwide at retail. By April 2015, Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore announced that the sales had reached 10.7 million, making the game the best-selling Need for Speed title to date.


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