This is year EA plans to publish three flavored options for Need for Speed games. Need for Speed SHIFT, Need for Speed NITRO and Need for Speed World Online, respectively are scheduled for release during 2009, with the latest debuting in winter.

Each tailored to specific formats and featuring a radical change of focus from previous titles.

The first, Need for Speed: Shift - is a hardcore racing simulation in the works for the Xbox 360, PS3, PC and PSP, and PlayStation 3, due out sometime this fall. SHIFT will be the game for the hardcore NFS fans, delivering a true driver's experience that reflects contemporary motorsports. It is being developed by a hybrid team of internal and external developers in the UK, including Black Box executive producer Michael Mann and EA Games Europe senior vice president and Digital Illusions CE cofounder Patrick Soderlund. Slightly Mad Studios includes developers and designers that worked on the critically acclaimed games GT Legends and GTR 2. Game features will include a realistic first-person cockpit view camera and an all-new crash mechanic.

Secondly, The Need for Speed: NITRO (Working Title) - Developed and crafted by the Boogie-makers at EA Montreal and it will be the new Need for Speed entry on the Nintendo side of the street, popping up on the Wii and DS. NITRO is designed for players of all skill levels, providing more of an arcade-style racing experience. The game will sport a unique visual style and, like Need for Speed Shift, will sport many real-world automotive licenses. Gamers can build up boost drifting and dragging behind their opponents, while dodging the watchful eye of the cops. It will ship in North American this fall.

Lastly, The third and final addition the Need for Speed: World Online - is being co-developed by Black Box and EA's online studio in Singapore. World Online will be a Play 4 Free title which will offer players a range of licensed, customizable vehicles to race against other gamers from around the world. The game will debut in the Asian market this summer and then be opened up to Western players in winter. NFS: World Online is expected to make use of a micro transaction-based system, though everyone involved is keeping their lips sealed for the time being. There you have it; the NFS revamping is under way! How do you like that?