- For other games in the Hot Pursuit subseries, see - Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
EA Black Box developed the PlayStation 2 release of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 whilst EA Seattle developed the PC, Xbox, and Gamecube releases. The PlayStation 2 release offers significantly more game features compared to other releases.
The game was first released on October 1st, 2002 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Gamecube with an October 21, 2002 release for PC. In France, the game was marketed as Need for Speed: Poursuite Infernale 2.
A reboot to both the original Hot Pursuit and Hot Pursuit 2 was made by Criterion Games entitled - Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010).
Unlike Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed, the gameplay consists of arcade-style races and police pursuits, featuring tactics that include roadblocks, use of spike strips, and a helicopter that now has the ability to drop explosive barrels against racers, and in the PlayStation 2 release, it can also drop spike strips and missiles. Similar to the original Hot Pursuit, players can be busted after being caught three times in EA Black Box's release, although being caught one single time in EA Seattle's release leads to being busted.
The diverse customisation options seen in the last two installments has been dropped as well as special weather effects and the day-night circle. Now players can only change the car paint similar to the original Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit.
With the exception of the last two Ultimate Racer and Championship events of the PlayStation 2 release, it is the first game in the series to not include cockpit camera.
Showcase Mode was not made available in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, although players are offered a narrated description of each vehicle.
Events in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 are sorted into two distinct Event Trees that include various types of competitions, in which players can participate to earn points, and unlock vehicles or courses.
- Hot Pursuit, also named Ultimate Racer in the PlayStation 2 release - Players compete in a series of events whilst being chased by the police force, and also having the opportunity to play as a cop.
- Championship - Players compete in a series of events in which pursuits don’t take place.
- Challenge - Races that have been customised by the player.
- Be The Cop, also named You're the Cop in the PlayStation 2 release - Players take the role of police officers and bust racers. Players can also call for a set amount of backup, roadblocks, and helicopter. Pursuit vehicles also has a boost feature in the PlayStation 2 release.
- Quick Race - Players will be instantly spawned to a randomly created race.
- Multiplayer - The PC release allows for online multiplayer, whilst console releases offer Split-screen.
- Circuit - Racers compete against each other with the first racer completing the set number of laps first being declared the winner.
- Knockout - A series of various races with the racer that finishes in last position being eliminated.
- Lap Knockout - A circuit race variation in which the racer that finishes in last position each lap is eliminated.
- Point to Point - Racers compete with each other along a set route from one point to another.
- Time Trial - The player needs to beat a set time record along a certain course.
- Tournament - A series of races in which players will receive points depending on their finishing position in each race. The racer with the highest score is declared the winner of the tournament.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 car list consists of various European sports and supercars, alongside some American, and a pair of Australian cars. Bonus editions, as well as police variants of some vehicles are also featured.
Courses are located in differing environments based on North American, Polynesian, and Mediterranean themes. Each environment features one Sprint course and two Circuit courses, and they can have their event parameters altered before a race.
Although Need for Speed: High Stakes included a few licensed songs, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 is the first game in the series to make extensive use of licensed music, and to feature EA Trax. Instrumental remixes of the songs can be heard during pursuits.
Need for Speed: GT
The PC release of the EA Seattle's release of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 was reformatted into an arcade title by Global VR and was renamed as "Need for Speed: GT."
- Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 is the first title in the series to be released on the sixth console generation.
- Holden and HSV cars made their last appearance in the series in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, although rebadged variants of the Monaro were featured in some of the later titles.
- This is also the last title to feature playable police until Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010).
- Hot Pursuit 2 is also the last Need for Speed title in the 1st era.
- Hot Pursuit 2 is the 1st title to have an Arcade port followed by Need for Speed: Underground.