Electronic Arts' massive takeover of Codemasters earlier this year sent a shockwave through the world of racing.
While F1 2021 was already well into development, the world of possiblities the takeover opened up had some of us salivating. It looks like we aren't the only ones, as a recent confrence call from EA CEO Andrew Wilson revealed.
Wilson on the Codemasters acquisition
During the call, Wilson acknowledged the Formula 1 series' strong standing with its players, recognising it as "the highest-rated sports franchise in the world".
Comments like that give fans some hope that EA won't alter with the winning formula Codemasters has perfected too much over the next few years. But Wilson would go on to give us a reason to think the relationship between Codies and EA will go much, much further than F1 and the DiRT franchise...
A holistic racing strategy
It's no secret that racing, both sim and arcade, exploded in 2020 as more people were stuck indoors. This may well have fueled the bidding war that finally saw Codemasters come under the EA umbrella. And now they are starting to ramp up their racing vision.
"[Acquiring Codemasters] was an opportunity for us to really think more broadly about our holistic racing strategy," Wilson said.
When you think EA and racing, Need For Speed is naturally the first title that comes to mind. The franchise was the racing series in the early 2000s, as Underground and Most Wanted took the gaming world by storm. Since then the franchise has bounced around in quality and playability, and a return to Criterion was going to see a Need For Speed 2021 release until other projects forced the title to be delayed.
There's been no talk of moving the NFS franchise from Criterion to Codemasters, though we would love to see what Codies could do with it!
"Need for Speed will absolutely be a meaningful part of our future… With the combination of EA and Codemasters, we can actually expand and extend and enhance an interesting franchise.”
However it sounds like there could now be some movement toward that idea. Perhaps it could see NFS become an annual title, or simply put some remasters in the hands of Codemasters? Who wouldn't want an updated Underground on the PS5?
What about Burnout?
Of course, Need For Speed isn't the only racing franchise that EA has. Burnout is also a beloved franchise with plenty of space for expanding and enhancing.
Burnout: Paradise Remastered hit PlayStation and Xbox in 2018 and was a hit. Like NFS, Burnout peaked in the early 2000s with Burnout 3: Takedown, a game that millions would love to play again on modern hardware. Could EA look to shift that IP over to Codemasters to reinvigorate?
Codemasters usually has a game land in November every year. The last few years that's been DIRT 5 and Grid, in 2021 that might be DiRT Rally 3 but it could also be when the first flower of the EA/Codemasters relationship blooms.
A new Burnout, a remastered Need For Speed, or even something entirely new... The possibilities are endless. And hopefully we don't have to wait too long until find out.
EA Play Live 2021
EA Play Live 2021 is now set for 22 July 2021. While this event is likely to focus on FIFA 22, Madden 22, and Battlefield 6, there will undoubtedly be a slot for Codemasters to shine.
The event is now after the launch of F1 2021, so there can't be any big reveals there. Which means the stage is clear for a big, headline-grabbing announcement!