Retro Racer: The Evolution of Need for Speed

Retro Racer: The Evolution of Need for Speed

The Need for Speed series is one of the most iconic and popular franchises in the racing genre. We take a look back at its incredible 25-year history.

Photo credit: EA

There is almost no other racing game franchise that has had as much impact on the general games industry as Need for Speed. Since its first iteration some 25 years ago, it has received much acclaim and almost every sequel has been a success. We take a look at the game’s evolution throughout the years in our latest format, Retro Racer. Have fun!

Humble beginnings

The original The Need for Speed was released in 1994 for a console called 3DO. Does the name ring a bell? Probably not, as it was widely considered a failure. However, The Need for Speed became so popular that it was ported to PC as well. It already featured the series’ characteristic chases which would be the basis for a later, incredibly well-received sequel in 1998, Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit.

Until today, Hot Pursuit boasts the highest Metacritic rating of all parts of the franchise. As a result, the Hot Pursuit spin-off would get a dedicated sequel in 2002, further expanding on the cat-and-mouse chases in high-speed cars.

Need for Speed enters pop culture

Especially thanks to Need for Speed: Underground (2003), which drew much inspiration from the Fast & Furious films, EA reinvented the franchise once more. Not only did they introduce drift action, car tuning and night races, they also catered to a lifestyle portraited in the popular action car movies. The crossover with famous hip hop and rock artists contributed to Need for Speed‘ development into a pop cultural artifact.

Until today the series has seen 24 games, with Need for Speed: Heat being the latest offspring of the famed family. We are thrilled to see where the franchise is going in the future and which exciting new features it will introduce.

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