It was announced by publisher Electronic Arts to be released for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 8, 2019. An earlier 10-hour trial release date of November 5, 2019 was outlined alongside the reveal for EA Access through PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as Origin Access on PC for the same date.
The name of the 2019 game was revealed on August 14, 2019 with a reveal trailer showing the setting, a contrast of legitimate and illegal racing, the presence of police, and unique player avatars. The official Need for Speed website was also updated with a second countdown timer, which ended on August 19, 2019 at 8pm (BST) / 12pm (PDT) / 7pm (UTC), and concluded with the release of a gameplay trailer during the Gamescom Opening Night Live event.
Following the reveal of Need for Speed: Heat, an Under The Hood article was posted to the r/needforspeed subreddit by F8RGE; the Global Community Engagement Manager at Electronic Arts. The post highlights aspects unique to Need for Speed: Heat, and that the game will not feature any loot boxes, which appeared as Shipments in Ghost's previous game; Need for Speed: Payback.
It marked the series' 25th anniversary, following the first game's release in 1994 - Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed - and the second game denoting the series' long history following the Black Edition of Need for Speed: Most Wanted; released in 2005 to mark the series' 10th anniversary.
The story follows the player participating in the Speedhunters Showdown, an organised racing event held on the streets and surrounding countryside of Palm City.
As they participate in more events at the Speedhunters Showdown, they attract the attention of Lieutenant Mercer; the leader of a task force within the PCPD. The player eventually becomes a target for the task force, alongside them becoming an influential participant of the Speedhunters Showdown.
The player ascends through the Speedhunters Showdown, earning bank and fame for their legitimate racing; and through the Palm City underground racing scene, earning a reputation and notoriety for their illegal street racing.
Missions are story centred events that occur as the player proceeds through the Speedhunters Showdown and as they reach higher Rep Levels.
Driving Stories are side-story centred events that are unlocked alongside missions, but focus on characters outside of the main narrative. They can appear during day or night and will reward rep.
Players will join an AllDrive session - which can be played offline - with an AllDrive session's server including up to 16 players for PlayStation 4 and PC, up to 12 players on Xbox One, and will allow those players to transition between day and night as those instances are sharded from each other within an AllDrive session.
Players can invite others to join their party, with up to 8 players in a party within a single AllDrive session.
Players can participate in pursuits together in freeroam by being in proximity of each other and the PCPD.
Invites can be send server-wide or to the player's current party by pulling up to an event and sending the desired invite through an onscreen prompt.
The event types available are offered during both day and night, with the rewards offered differing between the two time periods.
During the day, players earn bank () from participating in events hosted by the Speedhunters Showdown.
During the night, players earn rep () from participating in illicit street racing events and engaging with the PCPD.
Each event has a optimal performance level before entering as well as an Autolog recommendation from either a friend or a rivals. Players can also swap their vehicle before entering an event.
- Circuit Race - Complete all laps and reach the finish line in first place.
- Drift - Beat the target score before reaching the finish line.
- Sprint Race - Pass through checkpoints and reach the finish line in first place.
Day - Speedhunters Showdown
Pursuits can be engaged with the PCPD, but their tactics and ability to escalate a pursuit is limited during the day.
Bank earned can be used to purchase cars, improve car performance with parts, and modify cars through visual customisation.
Night - Underground Racing
Racing during the night will attract the attention of a rogue police task force that patrols the streets of Palm City. They're tasked with shutting down street racing in Palm City, which can lead players to risk their earned rep against the police or lose their earnings in handcuffs.
Driving at night will result in the player being noticed by the PCPD's task force and will result in their vehicle being allocated a heat level. Reaching higher heat levels from engaging with the police will act as a multiplier for earned rep during the current night session, and can only be earned by reaching a safehouse or owned garage.
Being busted by the PCPD will end the player's current night session and they will only be rewarded their earned rep without any multiplier.
High Heat Events
High Heat (HH) events requires the player to be at a certain heat level before they are permitted to enter.
They typically feature a more pronounced police presence that allow the player to unlock Ultimate and Ultimate+ performance parts, but they will have to win the event and evade the police to unlock the part for all cars.
Pursuits in Palm City can take place during day or night, but the PCPD's response to a pursuit differs depending on the time period. Players earn rep from participating in pursuits, with great amounts offered during night than day.
Day time pursuits limit the PCPD's available tactics, their ability to escalate a pursuit, and their options for apprehending a street racer.
Night time is handled by a task force lead by Lieutenant Mercer and is funded by the PCPD. The tactics, resources, and options utilised by the task force is not limited, with Lt. Mercer authorising any force required, as they're not held to the same discretion as their day time patrolling officers.
Police will not intervene with a sanctioned day event, but will step in to any night time events, and will continue to pursue any street racers after the event has ended.
Both players and PCPD units have a strength bar, which will indicate the structural integrity of their vehicle. Any vehicle that completely depletes their strength bar will 'wreck'; wrecked police units will leave a pursuit, but a wrecked player will be busted.
A heat level represents the pursuit condition a street racer's vehicle should be treated with; 1 being the lowest engagement and 5 being the highest engagement. Each heat level also equates to the amount a player's earned rep for a current night session will be multiplied by, should they successfully reach a safehouse or garage.
Escaping a pursuit will trigger a cooldown state, in which the player has to elude the police long enough for a pursuit to disband. Evading a pursuit during the day will reset a player's heat level, although at night the player's car will retain their current heat level.
Evading a pursuit will allow the player to successfully complete their night session by entering either a safehouse or an owned garage.
While escaping means that a player is no longer being pursued by the PCPD, it does not meant they have be awarded their earned rep. Their earned rep isn't awarded to them until they reach a safehouse or owned garage, which will also end their current night session.
Busted is when a player has been pinned by PCPD units for a certain amount of time, is completely immobilised during a pursuit, or has depleted their strength bar.
Being busted will reward the player with any rep they have earned during the current night session, but will not be multiplied based on their heat level. They will also have to pay a fine using bank.
Players busted by the PCPD will not have an impound strike applied to their vehicle or any other form of marks that would result in them losing their vehicle. They will only be fined and have their current night session consequently concluded.
CarsCars can be purchased for bank and each can be customised using visual components or performance parts.
Each car has an associated performance level from 0 to 399, with a higher number denoting better performance. A car's overall performance level is also made up of four section:
- Power - The amount of power and torque produced by the car's engine
- High Speed - The top speed of a car
- Acceleration - The car's ability to gain speed
- Nitrous - The additional power produced by the car's engine when using nitrous
Alongside a performance level, each car also has a category:
- Hot Hatch
Cars are unlocked as players progress through, and increase, their Rep Level by earning rep at night, and special edition cars can be unlocked with certain downloadable content packs or through specific events.
Customisation allows players to alter the look and performance of their owned cars, with various body kits, spoilers, wheels, underglow, air suspension, and performance parts.
- Bumper Front
- Bumper Fear
- Canard Front
- Canard Rear
- Fender Front
- Fender Rear
- Licence Plate
- Side Skirt
- Trunk Lid
- Wheels Front
- Wheels Rear
- Wing Mirror
Paint & Wrap
The base colour of the bodywork paint for a car can be selected with sliders ranging from 0 to 100 for three aspects to make up its HSL colour:
- Hue - The value of the colour along the visible spectrum.
- Saturation - The value of the colour's intensity.
- Lightness - The value of the colour's brightness.
The specifications of the bodywork paint for a car can be selected with options from three fields:
- Material - The type of paint
- Brushed Aluminium
- Carbon Fibre - Style A1, A2, B, or C
- Composite Carbon
- Flake - Large or Small
- Non-Metallic Paint
- Satin Metal
- Effect - Any surface enhancements to the paint
- Analogous Colour Shift - A colour group near the base colour
- Complementary Colour Shift - A colour group mixed with the opposite colour of the base colour
- Chameleon Paint - The base colour changes hue based on the viewing angle of glass-like flakes
- Iridescent - The base colour changes hue based on the viewing angle of magnesium fluoride flakes
- Single Colour - The base colour without any effects applied
- Coat - A paint layer applied over the primer
- Gloss - Reflective shine
- Matte - Flat shine
- None - No additional coat layer
- Satin - Dulled reflective shine
The wrap option allows players to apply up to 80 decals to each individual section of a car:
- Window Front
- Window Left
- Window Rear
- Window Right
- Nitrous Colour
- Tyre Smoke Colour
- Underglow Pattern
- Air Suspension
- Camber - Front
- Camber - Rear
- Tone - Can be adjusted to be more simple or throaty
- Timbre - Can be adjusted to be more smooth or aggressive
- Overrun - Can be adjusted to be more subtle or raw
- Resonance - Can be adjusted to be more metallic
Performance customisation allows players to improve the performance of their cars through various means including bespoke components and engine swaps.
Performance parts can be purchased with bank or from winning events. These parts can be unlocked by reaching higher reputation levels through earning rep and successfully evading police following a high heat event.
There are multiple stages to performance parts from stock to Ultimate+:
Equipping higher rated engine performance parts will increase the performance level of a car, but some cars may require an engine swap before they care capable of reaching the highest performance level available.
- Positive x results in a drifter setup
- Negative x results in a grippy setup
- Positive y results in a better off-road setup
- Negative y results in a better road setup
Performance parts that can be equipped to a car are divided into four sections; engine, chassis, drivetrain, and auxiliary.
The engine of a car can be swapped for that of another, but the available selection differs depending on what can fit within each car.
Engine parts can be equipped to improve the performance level of a car:
- Forced Induction
- Naturally Aspirated
- Dual Turbocharger
- Roots Supercharger
- Centrifugal Supercharger
- Number of stored nitrous shots (1 to 5)
Chassis parts can be equipped to alter the handling characteristics of a car:
- Tyre Compound
Drivetrain parts can be equipped to alter how power is delivered to the wheels of a car:
Auxiliary parts are unique components that can be equipped to a car for passive, active, or player triggered benefits during pursuits, but they have a recharge timer that must regenerate after each use before they can be used again. Only two auxiliary parts can be equipped to a single car at the same time:
- Reinflating Tyres - Will re-inflate any tyres that have popped or been shredded by a spike strip after a short period of time.
- Killswitch Jammer - Counters the effects of a police killswitch.
Players can swap performance parts whilst in AllDrive by using a Live Tuning menu. The menu can be used to swap installed performance parts with other owned parts for individual cars, and can allow players to experiment with performance tuning of their cars without having to continually visit a garage.
An avatar will be used to represent the player's character in-game; during races and cutscene animatics, and they can swapped from a pool of pre-made characters.
There are twelve available avatars, made up of varying ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, with both male and female represented.
There are five aspects of an avatar than can be customised:
- Head - Hairstyles, baseball caps, beanies, bucket hats, bandanas, and combinations with hairstyles.
- Accessories - Sunglasses, hockey masks, face masks, and tactical masks.
- Top - Crop top, long sleeve crop top, jackets, waterproof jackets, waistpacks, gym vests, one shoulder jerseys, shirts, t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, and combinations.
- Bottom - Pants, pants with braces, jeans, shorts, running pants, sweatpants, gym shorts, skirts, jorts, boxers, and cargo pants.
- Shoes - Trainers, high socks, boots, hiking boots, running shoes, hi-top canvas shoes, low top canvas shoes, and kicks.
Hairstyles can also have their colour modified through an additional editor:
- Hue - The value of the colour along the visible spectrum.
- Saturation - The value of the colour's intensity.
- Lightness - The value of the colour's brightness.
Palm City is a fictional representation of south-east United States, with inspiration coming from two states in particular; Florida and Georgia, and can be explored during either during the day or at night.
A dynamic weather system can change the driving conditions from dry to wet through differing amounts of rain, as well as fog and mist.
Palm City Police Department
The Palm City Police Department will engage in pursuit of illegal street racers, with a rogue task force lead by Lt. Mercer leading the police's efforts to stop street racing.
The PCPD has patrol and interceptor units on the streets, and a aerial helicopter unit fitted with an extremely luminous searchlight.
Garages can be found across Palm City and can be purchased with Bank. Each garage offers more opportunities to escape the police at night and be rewarded earned rep.
Safehouses found across Palm City can be used to escape the PCPD during the night.
Cars can be purchased from dealerships found across Palm City.
Gas Stations can be driven through to fix any car damage and replenish nitrous shots, but can only be used three times during a single pursuit.
Various activities can be found and participated in across Palm City. They have multiple targets that the player can beat to earn rewards.
A Jump activity has a set distance target that the player can beat for a reward.
Collectables can be found hidden across Palm City. Finding a certain amount of all of them in a specific region will unlock unique parts for cars.
Flamingos hidden across Palm City can be collected for a reward.
Graffiti tags and street art found across Palm City can be collected and unlocked as a decal that can applied to the player's car.
This includes car packs and a time savers pack for collectables scattered around Palm City.
A couple of comments made by Ben Walke, the Global Community Engagement Manager at Electronic Arts, noted that Need for Speed: Heat would not feature any loot boxes or "surprise mechanics", and that there would be post-launch car packs released as paid-for downloadable content.
|“||We plan to have post launch paid-DLC in the form of car packs. Later this year we'll introduce a time-save pack, which will show all collectables on the map.|
— F8RGE (Ben Walke), Global Community Engagement Manager
The reveal trailer featured "Redlight" by NGHTMRE & A$AP Ferg and was remixed by 2WEI.
- "Redlight" - NGHTMRE & A$AP Ferg (Remix by 2WEI)
Pre-ReleaseLeading up to the release of Need for Speed: Heat, a series of announcements, rumours, leaks, and hints of the game came to surface preceding its official reveal on August 14, 2019.
- ↑ Article: businesswire.com (2019) Need for Speed Heat Arrives on November 8th, Burning All Limits Available at: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190814005427/en/Speed-Heat-Arrives-November-8th-Burning-Limits
- ↑ Website: reddit.com/r/needforspeed (2019) Under the Hood: NFS HeatAvailable at: https://www.reddit.com/r/needforspeed/comments/cq9c1n/under_the_hood_nfs_heat/ewuqqy4/
- ↑ Website: ign.com (2019) Need For Speed Heat Won't Have Loot Boxes - Different approach. Available at: https://uk.ign.com/articles/2019/08/16/need-for-speed-heat-wont-have-loot-boxes
- ↑ Website: reddit.com/r/needforspeed (2019) Under the Hood: NFS Heat - "Speedcards, yes, 100% gone". Available at: https://www.reddit.com/r/needforspeed/comments/cq9c1n/under_the_hood_nfs_heat/ewuq363/
- ↑ Website: reddit.com/r/needforspeed (2019) Under the Hood: NFS Heat. Available at: https://www.reddit.com/r/needforspeed/comments/cq9c1n/under_the_hood_nfs_heat/ewusedb/
- ↑ Website: reddit.com/r/Games (2019) Need for Speed Official Reveal Trailer. Available at: https://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/cq9bql/need_for_speed_official_reveal_trailer/ewuyuoo/?context=3
- ↑ Article: vg47.com (2019) Need For Speed Heat has a “modern” soundtrack with urban and electronic influences. Available at:https://www.vg247.com/2019/08/23/need-for-speed-heat-soundtrack/
- ↑ Tweet: @2WEIMUSIC "Brand new remix of @ASAPferg ft. @NGHTMRE for @EA's @NeedforSpeed reveal trailer. Thanks to ReauBeau, @cdeenen, Raphaella Lima & everyone involved! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ewiJJe_nYI". Available at: https://twitter.com/2WEIMUSIC/status/1161627350121029633