Electronic Arts is delaying the next, as-yet-untitled Need for Speed game by a year as it nudges its developer, Criterion Games, over to support EA DICE on Battlefield 6.
A new report from Polygon has revealed that Electronic Arts is planning to delay the launch of the next game in the Need For Speed franchise. For the time being, the developer will be moved over to help with the development of Battlefield 6 - which is still aiming to launch on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X later this year.
In the interview, EA’s chief studios officer Laura Miele noted that a mix of issues involving the pandemic, EA's acquisition of Codemasters, and the launch of a racing game in the past 12 months all contributed to Criterion's reassignment. Neither Battlefield nor Need For Speed is in trouble, Miele stresses.
“There’s no way we would have made a decision like this without including [Criterion] and discussing this with them first, and the impact that they could have on [Battlefield],” Miele said. “They’ve worked on [Star Wars] Battlefront, they’ve worked on Battlefields, and they have a really tight, close collaborative partnership with DICE. I’m really confident that this is going to be a pretty positive win for them.”
Miele seems to note that pandemic working conditions have been hard on DICE, and auxiliary developmental support from another veteran studio will likely help the in-house team hit deadlines and make a project EA is aiming for. EA Los Angeles has also been drafted to help with the project and is mainly taking care of its live service facets.
“[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.”
Don't worry, racing fans – this isn't the end of Need For Speed. EA insists the title will come back once the bulk of work on the next Battlefield game has been completed. In terms of timings, Polygon reports that EA told its investors that both Need for Speed and Battlefield would both get new games on Xbox Series S|X and PS5 by March 2022. For now, though, EA is 'putting all the resources [it has]' into Battlefield 6 – or whatever it ends up being called.
EA seems a bit reorganization-happy at the moment; just last week it was revealed that the publisher had killed BioWare's work on Anthem Next and rumors began flying about EA canceling Motive's Gaia project after six years in development.
If you're hungry for more Battlefield content, Sherif recently wrote about what he'd like to see Battlefield 6 take from Battlefield 3.