Need for Speed 2021 DELAYED: Criterion supporting Battlefield 6

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It's been a fairly miserable 2021 for racing fans so far.

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First Gran Turismo was pushed back into 2022 by Polyphony Digital and Sony, now EA is delaying the next Need for Speed title until 2022 too.

EA delays Need For Speed 2021

The decision to delay the expected title by a year has come as a shock to many, but was revealed in an interview with Polygon.

Laura Miele, EA's chief studios officer, explained that pandemic working conditions plus the acquisition of Codemasters, which gives EA at least one racing game this year, were behind the decision to move Criterion onto Batlefield 6 over the next Need for Speed title.

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“[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.

“We have a great game and some incredible potential with this game,” Miele added. “We’re playing to win; we’re playing to put a great Battlefield game out in the market.”

What this means for the future of NFS

Back in November EA told investors that Need for Speed would be getting a new next-gen console release by March 2022. Taking Criterion off that project and onto Battlefield 6 not only shows EA's priorities, but also puts that timeline in a lot of doubt.

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Criterion is NOT getting pulled from NFS, which they got back after Heat released in 2019. However, the purchase of Codemasters gave EA the flexibility to make the move. Especially as Codies usually releases a November title, right around the same window as NFS lands.

The next NFS will launch on the previous generation of consoles as well as the new one, and is not moving to Codemasters at all, said Miele.