EA says that future games in the Need for Speed series will be developed by Criterion Games, while the series’s previous developer Ghost Games will be rebranded as a support studio to aid in various projects under the EA umbrella, according to GamesIndustry.biz.
Criterion Games is best known for creating the Burnout series. However, the studio previously produced two games in the Need for Speed series — 2010’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and 2012’s Need for Speed: Most Wanted, which are some of the more popular installments in the franchise.
Personally, I felt that 2012’s Most Wanted was a high point in the series because it felt like a spiritual sequel to Burnout, while maintaining the identity of Need for Speed. Meanwhile, my editor Sean says 2005’s Most Wanted was his everything and refuses to acknowledge the sequel. But because Criterion’s Burnout 3: Takedown is his favorite racer of all time, both of us are actually pretty excited to see what the studio does with Need for Speed now.
Ghost Games took over Need for Speed in 2013 with the release of Need for Speed: Rivals, which was received well, but the next two games were met with mixed reviews. The most recent installment, Need for Speed: Heat, has fared a bit better, though.
As our sister site Polygon points out, Criterion has actually spent its recent years as a support studio for EA’s other franchises, creating the Star Wars: Battlefront series’s much-loved space battles and Battlefield V’s epic Firestorm battle royale mode. It’ll be neat to see the studio build its own games again.