The game was developed by Slightly Mad Studios, overseen by Black Box producer Michael Mann and senior vice-president of EA Games Europe Patrick Soderlund.
Shift also marks the return of in car dash views in the Need for Speed series since their last appearance in Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed.
Race cars and historic cars are included in this game, notably the Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R (C10), which first appeared in the special Japanese PlayStation only release of Over Drivin': Skyline Memorial.
The player is tasked with driving a BMW M3 E92 along a two lap course of Brands Hatch at the beginning of the title.
The title will suggest a difficulty level for the player depending on their performance within the Brands Hatch race. Players are allowed to change the difficulty level at any time in Need for Speed: Shift. The levels distinguish themselves by driving assists and physics.
The goal of Need for Speed: Shift is for the player to unlock the NFS World Tour event although the player is required to collect 280 stars from other events before they are allowed to enter it. Collecting stars allows the player to level up with both a Driver Level and driving style.
Cars provided in the title are allocated into four tiers; Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4. Tier 1 features everyday vehicles, Tier 2 features sports vehicles, Tier 3 features high performance vehicles and Tier 4 features super cars.
Players purchase and modify their cars as they progress through the career. Players unlock greater rewards, higher performance vehicles, more difficult events and greater competition as they progress through the career.
The Quick Race Mode seen in Need for Speed: Shift is the same as in previous Need for Speed titles. Players can choose cars, tracks and settings individually. Parts are only available if they are unlocked in career mode.
- Car Battle - Two drivers compete with specified cars in three various race events.
- Driver Duel - Racers face off against each other in the vehicle of their choice.
- Drift Race - Racers compete against each other to see whom can earn the most amount of style points whilst drifting.
- Endurance Race - Racers compete against each other along a Circuit course with a large number of laps.
- Lap Knockout Race - The last racer to complete the lap of a course is eliminated from the race.
- Time Knockout Race - The racer in last place is eliminated from the race once the time expired
- Time Attack Events - The player has to beat the fastest lap record before the final lap is declared.
- Manufacturer Competition - Two racers face off against each other in the same vehicle.
- Series Competition - Racers compete against each other in a tournament competition.
- Circuit Race - Racers compete against each other along a Circuit course.
- Time Trials - The player must complete a set distance of a course in a specific amount of time.
The game features an interior perspective that responds to G-forces that the driver of the car would be subjected to.
The title has a larger variety of performance tuning than visual modification.
Fine-tuning is just as comprehensive as in Need for Speed: Underground 2. The title has simplified options like steering lock and gearing adjustments for beginners and inexperienced racing simulation players. These options are listed under Quick Tuning.
Players may also use the Advanced Tuning option to fully enhance a car's performance. In this category it's possible to individually calibrate some parts of a car such as its suspension and tyre pressure.
Need for Speed: Shift also allows players to convert their 'normal' cars to full race-spec vehicles with such conversions being known as Works Upgrades. Works upgrades greatly improve every performance statistic of a car and can only be applied once a car has been sufficiently upgraded.
Team Racing Pack
The Team Racing Pack was included as part of the 1.02 patch for Need for Speed: Shift.
It was released on December 1st, 2009 for the Xbox 360 and December 3rd, 2009 for the PlayStation 3 in Europe with a later release of December 10th for the PlayStation 3 in North America.
- 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray
- 1967 Shelby GT500
- 1969 Dodge Charger R/T
- 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T
- 1998 Toyota Supra
Ferrari Racing Series
The Ferrari Racing Series pack was exclusively released for the Xbox 360 with a price of 800 Microsoft Points on February 16th, 2010.
The pack includes 10 Ferrari vehicles and 46 Ferrari only career events.
- Ferrari 575 Superamerica
- Ferrari Scuderia Spider 16M
- Ferrari California
- Ferrari 599 GTB
- Ferrari F430 Spider
- Ferrari F430 Scuderia
- Ferrari F430 GTC
- Ferrari F430 Challenge
- Ferrari F50 GT
- Ferrari FXX
Exotic Racing Series
The Exotic Racing Series pack was released for the Xbox 360 with a price of 800 Microsoft Points and the PlayStation 3 on March 18th, 2010.
The pack includes 7 cars, the Rivera race course and 50 Exotic Racing only career events.
- Maserati GranTurismo S
- BMW M1 Procar
- Acura NSX
- Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss
- Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
- Gumpert Apollo
- McLaren MP4-12C
- Joystiq Hands-On - Need for Speed: Shift
- IGN: Need for Speed Shifts Into Gear (Interview with Development Team)
- Gamesradar - Need for Speed SHIFT preview
- Joystiq - Need for Speed SHIFT careening to release in September
- Complete Car Roster
- IGN: Need for Speed Shift Review
|Need for Speed Series|
|Games||The Need for Speed • II • III: Hot Pursuit • High Stakes • Porsche Unleashed • Motor City Online • Hot Pursuit 2 • Underground • Underground 2 • Most Wanted (2005) • Carbon • ProStreet • Undercover • Shift • Nitro • World • Hot Pursuit (2010) • Shift 2: Unleashed • The Run • Most Wanted (2012) • Rivals • Need for Speed (2015) • Edge • Need for Speed (2017)|
|Handheld||Underground Rivals • Most Wanted 5-1-0 • Carbon: Own The City • Hot Pursuit (iOS) • No Limits|
|Compilations||The Need for Speed Collection • Collector's Series|
|Films||Need for Speed|