What do you think Criterion might be working on? If you made an educated stab at a new Need for Speed, or Burnout, or Black, or Road Rash, or any of the likely suspects, then I’m afraid you’re on a fast track to disappointment.
Update: Criterion head Alex Ward tweeted this morning: “The key word was ‘personally’….#tothefuture #weseefarther”. The implication being that his personal inclinations don’t preclude others from pursuing the Need for Speed, Burnout or Road Rash series’ further.
“Here is what I want folks to know,” wrote Criterion CEO Alex Ward in a slew of tweets. “Some folks are eternally disappointed. Nothing I can do about that. So many tweets asking for new Burnout.
“Equally many tweets asking for a new NFS game from us. Also Road Rash. Whilst I love all of those games, I am personally not doing any.”
Ward said that as a diehard NES gamer in the late ‘80s, he’d been misled by UK gaming magazines hinting at PAL releases of games that never came: “Hence I hate to mislead ANYONE.”
“No point saving up hard earned money for your fave game not to come. Trust me, I have been there.”
He continued: “After over a decade of making racing games it’s time to make something new. It is early days thus I have nothing to ‘announce’ or talk about.
“I will do my best to keep folks in the loop who want to follow what we play or what inspires us. Or what we might be listening to.
“But if you are following me expecting some Megaton of a new Burnout game, or an Underground remake then I have to disappoint you.”
Ward said that more Burnout will come “when it feels right sometime”, but confirmed that the decision would lie with Criterion, not EA.
“I am proud of all of the Burnout games. When it feels right we will make another one. We are creative people.
“So I hope you will join us on a new journey. Hope it makes sense. #Butit’syourkidsMarty! #PromiseMeWe’llBeBackInTime.”
He added: “No Black2 either folks. Volumes to tell on that topic, but will save that for when I get a book deal…
“Thanks for the support everybody. We won’t let you down! #tothefuture.”
The Need for Speed series will continue in the hands of new EA Gothenburg studio Ghost, currently working on a Frostbite-powered racer, and presumably in the palms of other, unannounced developers too.
It’s strange to watch Criterion distance themselves from the genre that made their name, even as Codies carry out their new car-game-only mission statement – a statement that followed the closure of fellow Guildford outfit Codemasters Action Studio two years ago. Swings and roundabouts, albeit the kind that determine good peoples’ livelihoods.
What would you like to see Criterion turn all that high-velocity talent to next, then?