In a recent announcement, EA has revealed that Criterion Games will be moving over to assist in the development of the Battlefield series. This isn’t the first time Criterion has supported Battlefield, with both Battlefield V and Battlefield 2042 benefiting from their help. However, with Criterion the main developer of the Need for Speed series, this news has got Need for Speed fans asking the same question.
Has EA abandoned Need for Speed Unbound? And where does this leave the Need for Speed franchise as a whole?
Has EA abandoned Need for Speed Unbound?
The official news from EA is that Criterion will be moving from EA Sports to EA Entertainment, switching their main focus onto working on the Battlefield series moving forward. With Battlefield 2042 not reaching the heights of Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V, it seems EA is looking for all hands to help save the franchise.
The good news is that Criterion has a good track record when it comes to game development, so Battlefield will benefit. The bad news is that with Criterion moving to Battlefield, this leaves Need for Speed in limbo. It still hasn’t been a year since the release of Need for Speed Unbound, yet it appears as though EA is leaving the game to die, with the main studio behind it moving on to new projects.
Many Need for Speed fans are disappointed with the news. Battlefield is a lucrative IP for EA, but in the eyes of racing fans, the priority should be rescuing the iconic Need for Speed franchise instead of wasting resources on a waning IP.
The EA announcement did mention that a small ‘core team’ will remain working on Need for Speed, both on Unbound and the future of the series. What this means we don’t fully know, but there are some rumours swirling that the series remains in good hands.
Codemasters to the rescue
May last year brought the news that Codemasters Cheshire had been merged into Criterion, with the new team dedicated to developing the future of Need for Speed. At the time of the merge, Need for Speed Unbound still hadn’t been officially confirmed, but the rumour was a new game was already in development.
With Criterion now moving onto Battlefield, the rumour is Codemasters Cheshire is the core team remaining with Need for Speed. This isn’t the worst news, with Codemasters also having a very good track record with racing games.
Codemasters it seems are now the go-to studio for EA’s racing titles. The F1 series, GRID series, EA Sports WRC series, and now Need for Speed series are all developed under Codemasters stewardship. Codemasters Cheshire is also responsible for DiRT 5, which was warmly received when it launched back in 2020.
What’s interesting about the EA announcement is the fact they don’t mention Need for Speed Unbound by name. Instead, they refer to the series as a whole. With a rumoured Need for Speed Most Wanted remake in the works for next year, it could be that the future of the series lies in the past.
This might just spell the end for Need for Speed Unbound though, with EA seemingly willing to pull the plug now Criterion is moving on.
For more articles like this, take a look at our Need for Speed page.