EA has announced that several older Need for Speed games are now being delisted from online storefronts, removing from sale games that will no longer have online connectivity when their servers are shut down later this year.
Starting from yesterday, 31st May 2021, the following five games from the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era have been removed from sale:
- Need for Speed Carbon
- Need for Speed Undercover
- Need for Speed Shift
- Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed
- Need for Speed The Run
Additionally, their in-game stores for added content have also been closed.
This is all in preparation for the online server shutdown that is set to take place on 31st August 2021, meaning you can only play these games offline after that point. This will include both online multiplayer and online features, like Rivals.
Need for Speed’s community manager explained:
Decisions to retire games are never made easy, but we are now shifting gears to focus on the future of Need for Speed. The development teams and operational staff have put a lot of time and passion into the development, creation, release and upkeep of the game over the years, and we love to see you play. But the number of players has come to a point where it’s no longer feasible to continue the work behind the scenes required to keep Need for Speed Carbon, Need for Speed Undercover, Need for Speed Shift, Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed and Need for Speed The Run up and running.
There’s still a whole host of Need for Speed games that will continue to have online features, including 2012’s Need for Speed Most Wanted, Need for Speed Rivals, Need for Speed (2015), Need for Speed Payback, Need for Speed Heat and Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered.
In fairness, the games that are being delisted and shut down are all a decade old, and come from a time where the quality of Need for Speed games was wildly inconsistent. The Run was seen as a low point for the series as it forced a story into the racing experience, NfS Shift and its sequel were track-racing spinoffs, while Carbon and Undercover are simply very old games with the series’ earliest takes on multiplayer.
The Need for Speed franchise is currently in limbo at EA. After the release of Need for Speed Heat, EA announced that they would be reshuffling the series’ development status, taking it away from Ghost Games and transferring most of that studios’ staff to effectively reform Criterion in February 2020, getting to work on a new generation of Need for Speed.
Or they would have been. EA announced in March that the next Need for Speed’s development has been put on hold so that Criterion could join the multi-studio effort to get Battlefield 6 shipped later in 2021.
Speaking of the decision to switch Criterion over to working on Battlefield, and concerns surrounding recent moves like the cancellation of Anthem NEXT, EA chief studios officer Laura Miele said, “There’s no way we would have made a decision like this without including [Criterion] and discussing this with them first, and the impact that they could have on [Battlefield]. They’ve worked on [Star Wars] Battlefront, they’ve worked on Battlefields, and they have a really tight, close collaborative partnership with DICE. I’m really confident that this is going to be a pretty positive win for them.”