In what is probably the best news for the Need For Speed series since, well, Criterion took over for Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, the one and only Criterion Games is now back in the driving seat for the Need For Speed series.
The British games studio made its name with the Burnout franchise (although I will never forget you, TrickStyle), before briefly dabbling with Need For Speed during its Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted heyday. For whatever reason, EA then decided one of the most talented racing games in the world would better suited making Star Wars: Battlefront single-player content. Thankfully, EA has now seen the light.
As for the current Need For Speed developer, Ghost Games, this studio is being rebranded as EA Gothenburg once again. Need For Speed Heat will have been its final NFS title. It’ll now be a games engineering hub which will weigh in on other projects and game engine development. Many of the Ghost Games creative staff should be transferred over to Criterion, although around 30 jobs are at risk.
"The engineering expertise in our Gothenburg team, some of whom are architects of the Frostbite engine, is vital to a number of our ongoing projects, and they would remain in that location,” EA told GI.biz.
To be honest, the trials and tribulations of the Need For Speed series has actually getting a tiny bit tedious for a while now. NFS hasn’t been at its peak for the best part of a decade now, and we’d be more inclined to see Criterion work on an all-new Burnout rather than Need For Speed. Still, there’s some serious pedigree there and we wouldn’t mind seeing Need For Speed push even further into the arcade-like action of the Burnout franchise.
Could this be the breath of fresh air the Need For Speed franchise sorely needs?