Nobody disputed the quality of Need for Speed Rivals when it arrived late last year, but there was a sense the series had quietly run out of road. First, Criterion shrunk down to 17 staff to work on a YouTube-inspired extreme sports experiment. And then Ghost Games, the studio most of Criterion had decamped to, was hit by layoffs.
Last we heard, the new Need for Speed was in a state of flux – but EA have just now started talking about it again.
In an investor call yesterday, the publisher listed the next Need for Speed among a “tremendous new slate of titles” destined for release in 2016.
From the sounds of it, Ghost Games’ UK division are still EA’s keepers of the go-faster stripes – and may even have benefitted from a little extra production time.
“Need for Speed will be back in a year having had a full two-year development cycle for the first time in its history,” said CEO Andrew Wilson.
Later in the call, there was a suggestion that EA are currently working on more than one entry in the series – when EA money man Blake Jorgensen named Need for Speed alongside FIFA as a series the publisher plans to push in South-East Asia.
“Our strength [in South-East Asia] has been partnering with third parties – Nexon in the case of Korea for FIFA Online 3 and Tencent in China,” said Jorgensen. “We’re in early days there, but we see a huge opportunity to play off of some of our strong IP.”
Hmm! Should the next Need for Speed stick to the Criterion open-world formula, do you think? Or drive off in a new direction?