Former Motorstorm, Driveclub, DIRT 5 studio now working on Need for Speed

Thomas Harrison-Lord
Originally a Sony Studio, Evolution Studios worked on WRC, MotorStorm and Driveclub, before being purchased by Codemasters to create Onrush and DIRT 5. Now, they will be working on Need for Speed.
Former Motorstorm, Driveclub, DIRT 5 studio now working on Need for Speed

With a new Need for Speed game due before the end of Electronic Art’s current financial year – 1st April 2023 – it now looks to have additional development support thanks to the Codemasters Cheshire team.

Under development by former Burnout creators Criterion Games, the Guildford-based team was hauled in to help develop the then-nascent Battlefield 2042. As a result, the new Need for Speed game was pushed back.

Now, the game is a priority once more and the Codemasters Cheshire team is involved, highlighted thanks to this sponsored LinkedIn post for job vacancies.

EA and Codemasters recruiting for next Need for Speed, Cheshire

“What better way to kick-start the week than by sharing some details regarding an exciting opportunity based at Codemasters Cheshire studio, but also the future of the studio itself!

“We are looking for an experienced Producer to join the studio, as we embark on an extraordinary journey to deliver the future of Need for Speed,” explains Pete Johnson, Senior Recruiter at EA.

While that hints at work on the title currently in development, the rest of the post indicates that the team could be working on the future Need for Speed titles too.

“Codemasters Cheshire will come together with Criterion Games to create the future of Need for Speed.

“Starting with the next Need for Speed title then extending to future-facing initiatives, Codemasters Cheshire will work with Criterion on creative, technical and feature execution in service to the vision outlined in the Need for Speed strategy.”

WRC Rally Evolved
WRC Rally Evolved was created by Evolution Studios for the PlayStation 2 in 2005.

The back story of the Cheshire team is fascinating. Originally Evolution Studios, the Sony-owned department made five PlayStation 2-exclusive official FIA World Rally Championship games between 2001 and 2005.

For the PlayStation 3 era, Evolution then created the MotorStorm series followed by Driveclub on PlayStation 4.

This latter project is seen by many with rose-tinted spectacles as one of the greatest arcade racing games of all time, once it was complete. It was tarnished by an awkward earlier development phase that resulted in delays and online functionality that simply didn’t work as intended for several months.

Codemasters purchase Evolution Studios

Despite a full season pass, a Driveclub Bikes expansion and a VR spin-off, the team was spurned by Sony, only to be picked up by then-independent Codemasters to create Onrush.

Its next project was 2020’s DIRT 5 ahead of the studio’s purchase in February 2021 by EA for $1.2 billion.

Of note, some of the DIRT 5 team who worked for Sony at Evolution Studios remain at EA and therefore will now work on Need for Speed.

DIRT 5 Anton Marklund 2020 WorldRX
The remaining DIRT 5 team will now expand and work on Need for Speed

However, and perhaps justifying the recruitment drive, several of the senior team responsible for DIRT 5 such as the Technical Director and Lead Programmer have moved to Forza Horizon and Fable creators Playground Games and other former Evolution employees can be found at Avalanche Studios Group’s 2020-founded Liverpool outpost.

There’s no official news other than earnings call statements about the next Need for Speed game, but with development heading towards the latter stages, we hope we see it in action soon.

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