EA has put British developer Criterion in charge of its Need for Speed and Burnout franchises going forward.
Previously, EA alternated development between Criterion and other internal EA Studios. The decision may have been prompted following the underwhelming critical and commercial success of last year’s Need for Speed: The Run developed by EA Black Box. In stark contrast, Criterion developed 2010’s acclaimed Hot Pursuit.
“Our stamp’s going to be in everything you see in Need for Speed and Burnout going forward in the future,” said Criterion vice president Alex Ward. “It’s not going to be spread anymore across different companies. Different studios have had a crack at it – it’s definitely a Criterion gig now.”
Currently, it’s unclear if Criterion will develop all Need for Speed and Burnout games internally, or whether it will simply oversee the franchise as a whole.
Over the years, the Need for Speed brand has become fragmented – Shift, Underground, Most Wanted, Hot Pursuit all exist side-by-side – and in the same interview with Game Informer, Ward expressed an interest in there one day being an ‘all-encompassing’ NFS title. “I think it would be amazing in the future if there was one big game that had all of these in it. That would be amazing.”
But Ward was quiet on the return of Burnout, saying that Criterion “[thinks] about it all the time”.