Need for Speed Unbound marks the first NFS game by Criterion Games in a decade since 2012’s Need for Speed Most Wanted.
In recent years, the Guilford-based team has worked as a support studio for EA on titles such as Star Wars Battlefront II and Battlefield 2042 but is best known for the Burnout series.
Sadly, we haven’t had a new Burnout game in well over a decade if you discount Burnout Paradise Remastered. However, Criterion is hopeful Burnout could return in the future in an interview with Eurogamer.
Criterion would “love” to make a new Burnout game
“It's not something we're looking at doing now,” Need for Speed Unbound creative director Kieran Crimmins told Eurogamer when asked about the potential of Criterion bringing back Burnout.
Crucially, however, he didn’t rule it out either. Crimmins is optimistic about Burnout returning, saying that Criterion would “love” to make a new Burnout game as it would be “absolutely phenomenal” on current hardware.
“If you're talking about the two games that the studio has the most passion for, they're obviously Need for Speed and Burnout,” he said.
“We love those two franchises, and Burnout has a unique take on racing that I think would be absolutely phenomenal now. So I guess what I'm saying is, I would love to do that."
"I hope that if everything goes well with these games, and we can expand the team, then maybe we can make one of those as well. It's not in the immediate future plans or anything like that but man, it'd be really fun.”
A new Burnout game has been a long time coming. The last mainline game was Burnout Paradise way back in 2008, taking the beloved arcade racing series open world for the first time.
Burnout Paradise Remastered followed in 2018 as an enhanced version of the original on PS4 and Xbox One, but this is the first time Criterion has referenced the Burnout games in a long time.
It’s encouraging to see the studio hasn’t forgotten about its racing roots. It gives us hope that Burnout could return one day - but that may depend on Need for Speed Unbound’s sales and reception at a time when arcade racers are long past their heyday.
Burnout’s spirit lives on
While we may have to wait a while for a proper Burnout sequel, its spirit will live on in Wreckreation next year.
With former Criterion developers behind the wheel at Three Fields Entertainment, Wreckreation combines the chaotic racing and open-world exploration of Burnout Paradise with the track creation tools of Trackmania.
News on Wreckreation has been quiet since it was announced in August, but it could be one to watch in 2023.
In fact, we may have not one but two Burnout spiritual successors in the pipeline. Recent job listings suggest Stellar Entertainment (the team behind Burnout Paradise Remastered and Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered) is also working on an AAA arcade racer in the vein of Burnout.
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