The Need for Speed franchise is doing a U-turn: and by that I mean EA is moving development back from Sweden to UK studio Criterion.
That’s because the current franchise developer, Ghost Games, is set to become EA Gothenburg once more as it becomes an engineering hub to assist with EA’s wider portfolio. This is partly due to issues finding the right talent to continue developing Need for Speed in Gothenburg.
EA is hoping to transfer many of its staff from Ghost Games to Guildford-based Criterion, although the publisher told GamesIndustry.biz that 30 roles remain at risk. “Outside of the engineers and those that we plan to transfer to other positions, there would be 30 additional staff in Gothenburg, and we would hope to place as many of them as possible into other roles in the company”, EA explained.
Ghost Games developed the last four titles in the Need for Speed franchise, including Need for Speed: Rivals (2013), the 2015 reboot, Need for Speed: Payback (2017) and 2019’s Need for Speed: Heat. Criterion, meanwhile, is known for creating the Burnout series, and previously developed both Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010) and Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012). The studio has spent the last few years supporting EA Dice, working on games such as Star Wars: Battlefront and Battlefield 5.
“With a strong history and passion for racing games and vision for what we can create, the Criterion team is going to take Need for Speed into the next-generation,” EA said. We’ll have to see if Criterion can give the franchise the burst of energy fans desire.