New Need for Speed Delayed to Focus on Next Battlefield, EA Confirms

EA has shifted Criterion Games off of its current Need for Speed project to help EA DICE with development on the next Battlefield game.

This game, which is currently untitled, is expected to release this Fall on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and it seems DICE needed some extra help getting the game ready for that release, according to a new report from Polygon. EA insists that Criterion Games will return to development of its Need for Speed title in 2022, though.

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EA made the call to have Criterion work with DICE on the next Battlefield project due to pandemic-related working conditions and because of the fact that following the Codemasters acquisition made last month, EA will have at least one racing game release this year — likely its annual Formula One title. EA chief studios officer, Laura Miele, told Polygon that neither the Battlefield franchise or the Need for Speed franchise are in trouble.

“There’s no way we would have made a decision like this without including [Criterion] and discussing this with them first, and the impact that they could have on [Battlefield],” Miele said. “They’ve worked on [Star Wars] Battlefront, they’ve worked on Battlefields, and they have a really tight, close collaborative partnership with DICE. I’m really confident that this is going to be a pretty positive win for them.”

As far as the Need for Speed franchise goes, Miele told Polygon that Criterion owns the Need for Speed franchise, which is why they managed the recent remaster of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and why the studio is responsible for the next project in the series.

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Miele said an urgent solution for Battlefield, which is expected to release this Holiday season, was needed as a result of the potential the project has and the difficulty in developing a game during a pandemic with work-from-home conditions.

“Making games is one of the most sophisticated and complicated forms of media that exists, and it requires creative energy and connection to team members,” Miele said. “I think that there’s been, you know, fatigue and some burnout, working from home. A lot of that even has to do with just the needs that people have with their families. Some people are taking care of their kids at home. So our productivity is not as high, and then the creative connection and creative energy isn’t as high when they’re working from home.”

She continued and said that rather than pushing to get the next Need for Speed game out this year at a time when it might be cannibalized by a Codemasters racing game release, Criterion’s efforts are better suited for working on the next Battlefield at the moment.

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She also insisted that the Need for Speed series is not being taken away from Criterion in any form and that the studio will return to its development next year, where the team will work to launch the game on current and previous PlayStation and Xbox generations of hardware.

It was announced last June that Criterion Games, the studio behind the Burnout series, was taking the reins of the Need for Speed franchise from Ghost Games. While waiting for the next Need for Speed, check out this story about EA’s $1.2 billion acquisition of racing game developer, Codemasters, and then read about how Codemasters is to remain an ‘independent group’ even after this acquisition.

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Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance news writer and guide maker for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @LeBlancWes

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