The news that no racing gamer wanted to see was confirmed yesterday, as we'll have to wait until 2022 for the next Need for Speed game.
Criterion has been bought in by EA to help with Battlefield 6, and as a result the expected NFS 2021 title has been delayed.
EA happens to have more options for studios than it used to though...
The beginning of a beautiful friendship
EA had been interested in buying Codemasters for months before the purchase was confirmed earlier this year. As of right now, the only title which we know Codies have in development is F1 2021 for later this year.
Codemasters usually like to release a game around November in time for the Christmas rush. With both DIRT 5 and GRID arriving in the past few years in that slot. A slot that usually also features an NFS title.
It's inevitable that this was in EA's thoughts when they splashed the cash to acquire the British developers.
Need for Speed is one of the biggest racing franchises out there and Codemasters are one of the best racing games developers of them all. It's a match made in gaming heaven and it could happen!
What will an NFS by Codemasters look like?
We've often wondered this ourselves since the EA takeover was confirmed.
We believe that an NFS title by Codemasters could continue the NFS: Shift franchise on. This is because Slightly Mad Studios (a subsidiary of Codies) previously developed the series.
However, this wouldn't be a video game developed from the ground up by Codemasters. Instead, Codies would have the pick up from where Criterion left off.
It's currently unknown what the next NFS game is intended to be like, but we can make some informed guesses. Criterion was bought back onto NFS after almost a decade away and recently remastered 2010's Hot Pursuit.
It's very possible that Criterion were working on a game similar to Hot Pursuit (2010). It's also safe to assume that the upcoming NFS won't be like Heat, as Ghost Games were given the boot after that title was released.
So, expect a large world to explore with a focus on the racing rather than the story. It would also be good to get both racer and cop missions to play, although that is something that was unique to Hot Pursuit.
We don't know how far Criterion were into the development cycle of the upcoming NFS, but a November release date would give Codies eight months to complete the game in time for Christmas.
Codies may need a boost in manpower to make that deadline, but EA have the resources at their disposal to make this possible.
Not currently planned
This move isn't currently planned by EA, despite the seeming logic of it.
While the Codemasters acquisition gives EA a racing title this year regardless of NFS, it's also far too early to be making monumental shifts like this.
In the same interview as the delay was announced, EA said that Criterion will retain the NFS franchise moving forward.
Fans will have to wait for a potential Codemasters NFS game.