Ride a fast car on the motorway! A game for boys! Cars!
Need for Speed, also known by its initials NFS, is a series of racing video games published by Electronic Arts and developed by several studios including EA Black Box, Criterion Games and Ghost Games.
The series released its first title, The Need for Speed in 1994. Initially, it was designed exclusively for use on fifth generation video game consoles, but later on was reworked to be able to be used on all seventh generation consoles by 2008. The title comes from a quote from character Maverick in the film Top Gun. All members of the series consist of racing cars on various tracks, with some titles including police pursuits in races. Since Need for Speed: High Stakes, the series has integrated car body customization into gameplay.
Need for Speed is the most successful racing video game series in the world, and one of the most successful video game franchises of all time. Over 150 million copies of games in the series have been sold to date. In June 2012, following Black Box's restructuring, British developer Criterion Games announced that it was in full control of the Need for Speed franchise. However, in August 2013, Swedish and British developers Ghost Games, Ghost Games UK and Criterion Games joined forces for the foreseeable future of the Need for Speed series. At the time, Ghost Games UK staff consisted of 80% of former Criterion Games employees.
Almost all of the games in the NFS series employ the same fundamental rules and similar mechanics: 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 and tracks. Before each race, the player chooses a vehicle, and has the option of selecting either an automatic or manual transmission. All games in the series have some form of multiplayer mode allowing players to race one another via a split screen, a LAN or the Internet.
Although the games share the same name, their tone and focus can vary significantly. For example, in some games the cars can suffer mechanical and visual damage, while in other games the cars cannot be damaged at all; in some games the software simulates real-car behavior (physics), while in others there are more forgiving physics.
With the release of Need for Speed: Underground, the series shifted from racing sports cars on scenic point-to-point tracks, to an import/tuner subculture, and street racing in an urban setting. To date, this theme has remained prevalent in most of the following games.