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Criterion Now In Charge of All Things Need for Speed

The UK developer will manage all titles in the Need for Speed and Burnout franchises for the foreseeable future.

Need for Speed is now under Criterion's rule.

It's probably not too far out of turn to say that Criterion's rendition of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was the best thing to bear the name Need for Speed in several years. It's also probably reasonable to say that if you enjoyed Hot Pursuit, you probably felt some twinge of disappointment with the lackluster effort that was last year's Black Box-developed effort, Need for Speed: The Run. Well, you needn't worry about EA playing developer switch-up any longer, as Criterion has officially taken the reins of the Need for Speed series for itself.

The news comes from a Game Informer interview (via Polygon) with Criterion VP Alex Ward, saying, "Our stamp's going to be in everything you see in Need for Speed and Burnout going forward in the future."

"It's not going to be spread anymore across different companies. Different studios have had a crack at it — it's definitely a Criterion gig now," he said. "Going forward now, with Most Wanted and what we'll do in the future [will have], shall we say, a strong Criterion involvement."

Criterion's upcoming update of NFS: Most Wanted drew a number of raves from critics at E3 this year, including our own Jeff Gerstmann. As for Burnout, there hasn't been any major release in the series since the critically acclaimed, but marginally sold Burnout Paradise. Ward, sadly, didn't say anything to G.I. about a potential Burnout sequel, though to be fair, elements of the Burnout games have been seeping their way into Need for Speed ever since Criterion got its hands on the franchise.

I have no complaints personally about this move, as Criterion has yet to really disappoint me with any driving game they've produced. Of course, now we're left to wonder what the hell Black Box is up to now. Skate 4? Helping with NHL stuff? Nothing at all?

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Posted by Alex
Need for Speed is now under Criterion's rule.

It's probably not too far out of turn to say that Criterion's rendition of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was the best thing to bear the name Need for Speed in several years. It's also probably reasonable to say that if you enjoyed Hot Pursuit, you probably felt some twinge of disappointment with the lackluster effort that was last year's Black Box-developed effort, Need for Speed: The Run. Well, you needn't worry about EA playing developer switch-up any longer, as Criterion has officially taken the reins of the Need for Speed series for itself.

The news comes from a Game Informer interview (via Polygon) with Criterion VP Alex Ward, saying, "Our stamp's going to be in everything you see in Need for Speed and Burnout going forward in the future."

"It's not going to be spread anymore across different companies. Different studios have had a crack at it — it's definitely a Criterion gig now," he said. "Going forward now, with Most Wanted and what we'll do in the future [will have], shall we say, a strong Criterion involvement."

Criterion's upcoming update of NFS: Most Wanted drew a number of raves from critics at E3 this year, including our own Jeff Gerstmann. As for Burnout, there hasn't been any major release in the series since the critically acclaimed, but marginally sold Burnout Paradise. Ward, sadly, didn't say anything to G.I. about a potential Burnout sequel, though to be fair, elements of the Burnout games have been seeping their way into Need for Speed ever since Criterion got its hands on the franchise.

I have no complaints personally about this move, as Criterion has yet to really disappoint me with any driving game they've produced. Of course, now we're left to wonder what the hell Black Box is up to now. Skate 4? Helping with NHL stuff? Nothing at all?

Staff
Edited by iAmJohn

Just fucking make a new Burnout already. Argh.

Not that I'm opposed to what they've done with Need for Speed, but it's not Burnout and never will be. And we haven't had a really great Burnout in over six years at this point; Paradise was great for what it was but lacked that extra something that made Takedown and Revenge so awesome. Like defined tracks.

Also, not going to lie, I just wanted to steal the quest from someone.

Edited by StriderNo9

That's great news. I'm a bit fan of Burnout Paradise and this new NFS Most Wanted looks great.

Posted by Mijati

Sounds good to me. Wouldn't surprise me if one year we see "Need for Speed: Burnout" and combine the two franchises that way (but the game would be entirely a Burnout game) .

Posted by WJist

@iAmJohn said:

Just fucking make a new Burnout already. Argh.

THIS. THIS. THIS.

Edited by RVonE

They should make Burnout: The Need For Speed.

Posted by Ben_H

IT'S ABOUT GODDAMN TIME. 
 
Ditch Need For Speed, MAKE BURNOUT.

Posted by Cybexx

I think this means whatever remained of Black Box within the EA Burnaby campus is now officially dead. There has not really been a EA Black Box since the studio was closed in late 2008. Some people moved to Burnaby, a bunch refused to, and Black Box has more or less been just an EA Label for the last few years.

I wonder what this means for Shift? Need for Speed was on the box but not in the title for Shift 2, so maybe they will truly spin that out into its own thing. Or maybe not, VGChartz seems to think Shift 2 sold less than a third of the first one so maybe that is dead too.

I just hope this doesn't mean annualized Need for Speed releases out of Criterion.

Posted by aurahack

This news is exciting for two reasons, one being that Criterion is fucking pro at making racing games. The second is god dammit, now Black Box has no excuse not to make Skate 4.

Please? Pretty please?

Posted by sickVisionz

@iAmJohn: Burnout is dead. The last one did so well that they kicked the developer off the franchise and told them to make NFS games. NFS always sold well despite the quality and Burnout always sold poorly despite the quality. EA just finally had the light go off in their head that they should have the Burnout guys call their games Need For Speed, then they'll have games that aren't shit and sell well.

I wonder what will happen to the old NFS dev? They were kinda sucky and in any other industry they'd be kicked to the curb due to the quality of content they made, but maybe EA will let them stick around like Activision did Treyarch in hopes that one day they'll get their act together and start making games that aren't garbage compared to the other studio making titles in the franchise.

Posted by TPoppaPuff

I suggest their next title should be Need For Speed: Burnout or Burnout NFS. Those are the only two options.

Scratch that; their next game should be Black 2.

Posted by Doppelgamer

Dashboard views, automatic AND manual transmission options, and a somewhat less arcade-like playstyle with how the cars handle, and I'll buy from you again. Otherwise, sorry but no.

Posted by Delta_Ass

And they're gonna rename themselves BioWare Criterion, right?

Edited by Zaxex

I am now a fan of the Need For Speed series. Though I didn't like the Hot Pursuit demo, Criterion taking the reigns of the whole franchise sounds like good news to me.

A new Burnout would be even better, Paradise was such a unique game and it's hard to believe how long it's been since that was released.

At this point they could announce Burnout Paradise as a reboot without changing the name.

Posted by Seppli

Criterion made my favorite racing game of all times (2010's Hot Pursuit), outside of the future combat racer 'Rollcage', that is.

Just hope Criterion is given enough time to live up to their name.

Posted by MjHealy

Burnout 6.

C'MON PLEASE!

Posted by ZenGaijin

Need for Burnout!

Posted by Fascismo

The writing was on the wall ever since EA bought Criterion

Posted by Grissefar

Annual franchise with one developer.

Posted by superfunhappygun

Did Burnout: Paradise really did that bad? I thought it sold a few million copies across all platforms?

Online
Posted by Phatmac

BUT WHAT ABOUT BLACK 2!!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?

Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam

I'm okay with this.

Posted by cloudnineboya

fuck that new burnout paradise NOW

Posted by Rolyatkcinmai

@aurahack said:

This news is exciting for two reasons, one being that Criterion is fucking pro at making racing games. The second is god dammit, now Black Box has no excuse not to make Skate 4.

Please? Pretty please?

Let's hope it's a sequel to Skate 2, not Skate 3.

Posted by vinsanityv22

Weak. Need for Speed needs a break. Seriously. Criterion should focus on Burnout - by far the superior series -, and original IPs, and EA should just let NFS die for good long while.

Does this at least mean Black Box will get to work on something that's NOT NFS related? Is EA finally getting serious about a Road Rash reboot?

Posted by Pop

Do they have to make a NFS game every year? cause I don't think that will be so good. I wish they did a game every 2 years but change it up one NFS game then 2 years later a burnout game and so on.

Posted by Lava

We just need a new Burnout Paradise. I mean just a new city, new cars and the same mechanics would be awesome. I still play Paradise from time to time and it is still great.

Posted by aurahack

@Rolyatkcinmai said:

@aurahack said:

This news is exciting for two reasons, one being that Criterion is fucking pro at making racing games. The second is god dammit, now Black Box has no excuse not to make Skate 4.

Please? Pretty please?

Let's hope it's a sequel to Skate 2, not Skate 3.

The only real problem I had with 3 was that they split the city into three different areas. Other than that, Skate 3 was a pretty decent improvement over 2--especially with the online stuff.

Posted by emperordahc

Totally awesome.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

Hate the new NFS handling, it all feels so heavy and full of under steer. So I really wish they would just make a Paradise 2 or another Burnout of some kind.

Posted by jayjonesjunior

does that mean no more SHIFT? :(

Posted by Tylea002

@WJist said:

@iAmJohn said:

Just fucking make a new Burnout already. Argh.

THIS. THIS. THIS.

This. This and this. This indeed.

Also yeah guys, Black 2. Black, with some better gameplay could be one intense motherfucking shooter.

Posted by FreakAche

Umm... so are they going to be doing this yearly? That would be strange.

Edited by hermes

I don't want to sound overly cynic, but this news troubles me a little.

On one hand, I am glad Criterion's skill as developers of high speed vehicles games gets recognized, and I see this as a sign of EA rewarding them for a good track record. On the other hand, we all remember what happened the last time EA choose to put a significant amount of eggs in one basket.

Posted by Lurkero

@iAmJohn said:

Just fucking make a new Burnout already. Argh.

I think this is it.

EA must have gotten fatigued on allowing both Need for Speed and Burnout to exist so they decided to put the Burnout devs on the Need for Speed name and see how sales went. So far so good I guess.

I still prefer Burnout Revenge type games though.

Posted by Rekt_Hed

This is the best news Ive read in long time :) Thank you EA for finally putting these guys in charge

I literally cannot wait for most wanted :)

Posted by iAmJohn

@Lurkero said:

I still prefer Burnout Revenge type games though.

That was basically my point, I hope you know.

Posted by Ronald

I aways thought Paradise sold decently. And I know a sequel would sell better because the people who bought the game loved it, and the word on it was good enough people who won't buy it now because it's not new would buy a sequel. But hey, let EA kill the NFS name again and have excitement for a new Burnout reach a boiling point.

Posted by Lurkero

@iAmJohn said:

@Lurkero said:

I still prefer Burnout Revenge type games though.

That was basically my point, I hope you know.

Of course, I was just sharpening your point with my point.

I don't want to think that EA is purposely neglecting Burnout, but it seems like they have consolidated their arcade driving games. Burnout Crash sure didn't appease me.

Posted by Example1013

Hot Pursuit was ok, but not great like some of the earlier PS2 NFS games (pre-Carbon), which I STILL will go back and play and STILL enjoy (I popped in Underground 2 a few months ago and had a blast driving around the city doing events and free races and all the other awesome shit that game had).

There were a few big things that were wrong with the new Hot Pursuit, most notably that CARS DIDN'T FUCKING PULL OVER WHEN THE POLICE HAD THEIR SIRENS ON. HOW RETARDED IS THAT, IT'S A MECHANIC THAT WAS EVEN IN HOT PURSUIT 2. All it did was make the game Burnout-style dodging traffic with the ADDED frustration of being chased by cars actively trying to knock you off the road, or in other words, insanely frustrating, especially with all the blind turns you had to face.

I also didn't like the lack of any kind of outside-event racing besides the online, and I really disliked the lack of various side paths outside of the obvious ones. Hot Pursuit 2 had some badass alternate and off-road routes, including almost entire networks of roads off the paths.

Now I'm not saying that I don't like Criterion games, because I've had a lot of fun playing Burnout Burnout Paradise and Hot Pursuit. But even there, Paradise had a ton of alternate paths and off-road areas to a much greater scale than Hot Pursuit (although it is somewhat sensible, since one can't expect an area like the Quarry to be fit into a pure point-to-point racing game).

If they can fix the problems I had with Hot Pursuit, I won't say a word about it being a Criterion game, but it won't be anything less than at least somewhat disappointing if the same problems are still there.

Posted by Grilledcheez

Hopefully this works out well. I love their games, I just hope they don't get overworked.

Posted by Jeff

@jayjonesjunior said:

does that mean no more SHIFT? :(

Those guys launched a crowdsourced racing game project a little while back, so Shift was probably already dead before this went down.

Staff
Posted by Orange_Pork

Personally, I wouldn't mind not having another Paradise style game if it means I get to play more games like Hot Pursuit. That was probably the most fun I've had with a racing game since Outrun 2006.

Actually, I'd much rather not have another Paradise style game, because the open world just never felt suited for the kinds of races that went down in Burnout. If they're going to make another Burnout game, I'd rather it be like Takedown and Revenge with unique, structured courses with their own environments and such. Until then, hells yes to more Criterion Need For Speeds.

Posted by Ravenlight

@TPoppaPuff said:

I suggest their next title should be Need For Speed: Burnout or Burnout NFS. Those are the only two options.

Scratch that; their next game should be Black 2.

What if the new NFS is Black 2? Highly unlikely, but it would be highly awesome.

Edited by artofwar420

@Ravenlight said:

@TPoppaPuff said:

I suggest their next title should be Need For Speed: Burnout or Burnout NFS. Those are the only two options.

Scratch that; their next game should be Black 2.

What if the new NFS is Black 2? Highly unlikely, but it would be highly awesome.

OH MAH GAWD

Posted by ProfessorEss

I'd really like to see a new Burnout too but I find it hard to complain when Need for Speed: Most Wanted is looking so awesome.

Posted by Blackout62

See everyone, EA can make good decisions. NOW WHERE THE HELL IS BLACK 2?

Posted by Xshinobi

I know Im the only person that feels this way but Shift and Shift 2 are 2 of my fav racing games and by far my fav NFS games. I love the games that Slightly Mad Studios makes.

Posted by Mumrik

Since they'll be forced to pump out a new NFS every year or so, I guess either means

1) No more Burnout for the foreseeable future,

or

2) expansion of Criterion.

Posted by KinjiroSSD

I want to be able to crumple cars in Criterion games and thus I'm not interested in NFS. If I want licensed car porn, there is GT5 and Forza for track cars and Dirt for rally.

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