Criterion Games appears to have relinquished his stewardship of the Need for Speed franchise just one year in, with Swedish developer Ghost Games taking over.
Studio head Marcus Nilsson told VideoGamer that Ghost Games now “owns” Need for Speed and that we won’t see the franchise going back and forth between Criterion and Ghost.
“It cannot go from black to white between Black Box and Criterion, and that’s why we’re now thinking about the brand as Ghost owns it,” he said.
“We’re going to build it, we’re going to build it on Frostbite 3, [and] people will see something they are familiar with every time we release the game. And I think that is the core basis of building a brand; that people know what to expect.”
Nilsson said the brand’s previous habit of bouncing between studios and different game types wasn’t “consistent”.
“When you go from a Shift experience to The Run experience to a Hot Pursuit experience, then it loses credibility. I think we now have the work of re-establishing that credibility with building the brand. You know, it’s still a really strong brand, absolutely. We just need to make sure people know what to expect when they get it, and Rivals is absolutely the first step toward that,” he said.
“Need For Speed is not going to go away, right? It’s not the final or last step of that. But what you see in Rivals, a lot of those things will carry on going forward and myself and Rivals will be involved in shaping that.”
Need For Speed Rivals is coming to PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in November, with PS4 and Xbox One versions not yet dated.
In June 2012, Criterion told GameInformer it had been nominated as the Need for Speed series developer; it looks like it may be getting out of racers altogether. Its last Need for Speed game was 2012’s Most Wanted.