Sorry, peeps, they’ll be no new Need for Speed game in 2021, as EA has taken the decision to place developer Criterion Games – who is well underway in developing a new addition to the popular racing franchise – on the next Battlefield game as EA DICE closes in on completion.
With both a new NfS and Battlefield originally due before the end of March 2022, EA’s chief studios officer spoke to Polygon recently about the shift in tactics.
“[Battlefield] is shaping up great, the team has been working incredibly hard, they pushed hard last year, and yes, we have been working from home. And it’s hard; it’s hard to make games from home, and the [EA DICE] team is fatigued a bit.”
This sounds more like a Battlefield crunch-time problem, rather than a Need for Speed quality issue to us. Also, the interview confirms that Criterion’s work is simply paused until 2022, the game has not been cancelled.
An upgraded version of Criterion’s Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, entitled ‘Remastered’ was released last year and as recently as last week it received a 60fps/4K update for the PS5 and Xbox Series. Meanwhile, the developer of the recent all-new Need for Speed games such as Payback and Heat – Ghost Games – has been taken off the franchise and downscaled to ‘EA Gothenburg’. Most of the UK-based team who worked there on NfS have now moved back to Criterion for the next instalment.
More importantly, though, that makes it two games from our ‘2021 racing game preview’ podcast that we have jinxed. Not long after recording, Gran Turismo 7 was shifted to 2022 and now Need for Speed. Following that logic, we are now mildly concerned for even Formula One and MotoGP…