EA Montreal's Need for Speed Nitro is an original take on the franchise and appeares exclusively on Nintendo systems. It was part of a new initiative to split the Need for Speed franchise into three genres: arcade, simulation, and multiplayer-online game.
Nitro was the first entry in the arcade genre. The game is designed to attract new fans to the franchise, which at the time of the game's release, had seen declining sales. One way in which it differs from the preceding Need for Speed games is through a new, graffiti-style art direction. For example, the environment will change color to match the racer in first place.
The game supports four-player splitscreen and all controller types, including GameCube controllers.
Need for Speed Nitro-X
An enhanced version of the DS incarnation was later released under the name Need for Speed Nitro-X on the DSiWare store as a digital-only title. Nitro-X featured all the content from the retail game with the addition of brand new police cars to choose from as well as a cop-mode that lets players chase after speedy racers as the police.
The DS and DSiWare version were developed by Firebrand Games in partnership with EA Montreal who handled the Wii version as the main SKU.