EA has decided to delay Criterion Games’ new Need for Speed title so the British studio can support DICE with its next installment of Battlefield instead. The shift in development was revealed by EA’s chief studios officer, Laura Miele, who clarified to Polygon that neither franchise was in trouble—the decision simply has to do with pandemic working conditions and the fact that Codemasters, which was recently acquired by EA, already has a racing game ready for release later this year. Criterion has not been taken off its new Need for Speed project.
“[Battlefield] is shaping up great, the team has been working incredibly hard, they pushed hard last year, and yes, we have been working from home,” Miele told Polygon. “And it’s hard; it’s hard to make games from home, and the [EA DICE] team is fatigued a bit.”
“There’s no way we would have made a decision like this without including [Criterion] and discussing this with them first, and the impact that they could have on [Battlefield]. They’ve worked on [Star Wars] Battlefront, they’ve worked on Battlefields, and they have a really tight, close collaborative partnership with DICE. I’m really confident that this is going to be a pretty positive win for them.”
EA handed the Need for Speed franchise back to Criterion Games after the last three entries (Need for Speed, Need for Speed Payback, Need for Speed Heat) developed by Ghost Games/EA Gothenburg failed to meet expectations. As for Battlefield 6, recurring rumors have suggested that the latest installment of the popular first-person shooter will return to a modern-day setting and feature large-scale battles comprising as many as 128 players. EA is expected to reveal the title sometime in the spring.