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‘Need for Speed’ Shifting Lanes Again

  • Series will be returning to the hands of Criterion.
  • Despite improvements with Need For Speed: Heat wasn’t what EA was looking for.
  • That’s all well and good that Criterion is back at the helm, but…

 

Need for Speed: Heat was a surprisingly good game last year. Leading up to release, it felt like it was going to be one of those too-good-to-be-true scenarios, because all the footage we saw was looking like exactly what the fans wanted. So the common question was: what was lurking in the shadows? Would it be overbearing microtransactions? Would it be an obscene level of grinding? Would quality control just completely wet the bed leaving a buggy, near unplayable mess? No, not with Need for Speed: Heat. We just got a solid fast-paced racing game where at most the police AI wasn’t nearly as intimidating as we were hoping.

Just as the series seemed like it had found its footing again after stumbling over prior titles, another shakeup has come along. EA has pulled Ghost Games off of Need for Speed and is instead giving the keys back to Criterion. The future of Ghost Games will be in the form of a support role as they are formed into EA Gothenburg, and according to a statement made by EA to gamesindustry.biz their focus will primarily be in assisting on games utilizing Frostbite:

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.

Outside of the engineers and those that we plan to transfer to other positions, there would be 30 additional staff in Gothenburg, and we would hope to place as many of them as possible into other roles in the company.

On paper, at least it looks like the employees at both studios have a lot to look forward to, although of course until everyone is saddled into their new roles the thought of layoffs is likely to be on minds there. Personally, I find it surprising that there is being another developer switch up after Need for Speed: Heat I’d argue was the best one that Ghost Games had developed yet but there must be more going on behind the scenes than anyone outside of these parties can see.

I’m glad to see Criterion behind the wheel again on one hand, on the other I think that their talents as a studio are going to waste on Need For Speed. Need For Speed may be the bigger name among racing games, but after so long laying dormant is now not the perfect time to revive the Burnout series? I want some high octane racing with over the top crashes again. What’re your thoughts on Criterion in the driver seat for Need for Speed again? Let us know down below.