How to Play the Need for Speed Games in Order

I feel the need, the need for speed. Oh, wait, wrong franchise...

by Matthew Kevin Mitchell

Are you wondering how to play the Need for Speed games in order? Did you crush through the latest entry, Need for Speed Unbound, or are you looking to catch up on titles you missed playing back in the day? This may be a tough decision because there have been an insane 25 titles created since the Need for Speed debuted in 1994. However, the Need for Speed has been one of the most reliable racing game franchises for almost 20 years, and we get a new entry every two years. Here is everything you need to know about how to play the Need for Speed games in order so you can experience the franchise’s evolution.

How to Play the Need for Speed Games in Order


The only games that carry the story from one title to the next are Need for Speed: Underground, Need for Speed: Underground 2, Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2005, and Need for Speed: Carbon. You can view the main story arc similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where the games’ stories above are in the same universe but aren’t directly related. Still, if you genuinely want them in the order, you should do so by the order they were released in. Since none of the other games are related to each other, you can play them in release order, which will be how we recommend you play all 25 Need for Speed games, as shown below:

  1. The Need for Speed (1994)
  2. Need for Speed 2 (1997)
  3. Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit (1998)
  4. Need for Speed: High Stakes (1999)
  5. Need for Speed: Porsche Unreleased (2000)
  6. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (2002)
  7. Need for Speed: Underground (2003)
  8. Need for Speed: Underground (2004)
  9. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)
  10. Need for Speed: Carbon (2006)
  11. Need for Speed; ProStreet (2007)
  12. Need for Speed: Undercover (2008)
  13. Need for Speed: Shift (2009)
  14. Need for Speed: Nitro (2009)
  15. Need for Speed: World (2010)
  16. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)
  17. Shift 2: Unleashed (2011)
  18. Need for Speed: The Run (2011)
  19. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012)
  20. Need for Speed: Rivals (2013)
  21. Need for Speed: No Limits (2015)
  22. Need for Speed (2015)
  23. Need for Speed Payback (2017)
  24. Need for Speed Heat (2019)
  25. Need for Speed Unbound (2022)

Note: While there are a few other spin-off games, the above list hits all mainline games.

- This article was updated on December 7th, 2022

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