Last year, Electronic Arts told Gamesindustry.biz that they were internally reshuffling their studios to bring the long-running Need for Speed back to Criterion, the studio which developed that and the Burnout games during their heyday. It was welcome news to fans of that decade of racing games from EA as it signaled a shift back to the arcade-y racing style that Criterion had mastered.
EA revealed to Polygon today that the first Need for Speed title under Criterion is being pushed to next year as the studio is being dragooned into help with the upcoming Battlefield 6. Criterion’s unannounced-but-alluded-to NFS title is apparently still in the works, but won’t hit this year with the split resources they have going with DICE, a studio which Chief Studios Officer Laura Miele describes as “also fatigued.”
Miele also offers the reasoning that the recent EA acquisition of Codemasters, developers of the Dirt series and other racing games, makes it so a Need for Speed release this year cannibalizes their own sales. This is an issue that EA is fairly familiar with, having released games like Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1 only a week apart.
As previous Need for Speed games have been critical and often financial disappointments for EA, taking the time to make a good one is likely in their best interest and in the best interest of the audience.