Image: Ghost Games/EA

Big changes could be coming to the Need for Speed franchise, which hasn’t been doing well in review circles as of late. According to a report from, EA is giving the keys to the racing series back to UK-based studio Criterion Games – best known for the high-speed, crash-heavy Burnout series.

Ghost Games, the creator of the last four Need for Speed titles, is reverting back to its EA Gothenburg banner, where it will serve as an “engineering hub” to assist EA’s other studios. Many of its creatives are moving to Criterion and other positions within the company, but the technical wizards will remain for their expertise in Frostbite and other critical applications.

“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,” said EA.

Criterion is the developer that was responsible for Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010) and Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012). These were pretty well reviewed, but the franchise – and many of the studio’s employees – were transferred to Ghost Games due to a downsizing in 2013.

It’ll be interesting to see how the next title fares against Ghost Games’s efforts, which comprised Need for Speed: Rivals (2013), the Need for Speed reboot (2015), Need for Speed: Payback (2017), and Need for Speed: Heat (2019). Judging by Criterion’s last attempts, the next game could make a return to a more arcade-like experience that revolves around extreme drifting and carnage.

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  1. Overall have been a fan of NFS since its debut in the PSone and PS2 era. Really loved Hot Pursuit Back then and thought the 2010 release had some nice ties to it. “The Run” was very mixed for me but it was the first game that came close to an old 8 bit Atari computer game that I loved that had similar themes.

    I think it’s going to take more than a developer or studio change to make the difference for the franchise though. Pumping out a game nearly every two years definitely gives some fatigue to fans. After a while it’s kind of a ‘why bother’ when a new release comes out. Graphics API’s don’t normally change enough in two years to make visual upgrades that dramatic and at some point they’ve got to have figured out their physics so visuals are the only real gain. Other than different cars and tracks of course. Either way I hope for the best for them. They’ve outlasted more than a few competitors. Anyone remember “Test Drive”?

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