Electronic Arts will finally not release a new Need For Speed game in 2021. The reason given is quite simple, it is to prioritize the next Battlefield which has still not been officially announced.
Criterion to lend a hand in Battlefield 6
Officially, Electronic Arts had announced a new game Need For Speed as well as a new Battlefield before March 2022. But even if it means choosing, EA preferred to ensure the release of Battlefield VI at the end of 2021.
The information has been confirmed by Laura Miele with Polygon. The head of EA studios clarified that the pandemic working conditions and the acquisition of Codemasters will already allow EA to release at least one racing game later this year, which will allow the reassignment of Criterion to the next Battlefield.
It was impossible for us to make such a decision without including Criterion and discussing it with them first, and the impact they might have on Battlefield. They worked on [Star Wars] Battlefront, they worked on Battlefield and they have a very close collaborative partnership with DICE. I have no doubts that it will be a positive victory for them.
Laura Miele specifies however that even if Criterion will lend a hand on Battlefield, the next Need For Speed will remain developed by them. No question of changing hands, or giving the series to Codemasters, whose acquisition by EA will be finalized by the spring. The next Need For Speed will therefore be postponed by around a year on the Xbox Series X | S and PS5 consoles, but also on the older generation with the Xbox One and PS4, which still have a very large fleet of millions of consoles in use.
Making games is one of the most sophisticated and complicated forms of media out there, and it requires creative energy and connection with team members. I think there was fatigue and burnout while working from home. A lot of it all relates to the needs that people have with their families. Some people take care of their children at home [pendant qu’ils travaillent]. So our productivity is not as high, and the creative connection and creative energy is not as high when working from home.
Last month we learned that DICE Los Angeles studio was also helping in the development of the next Battlefield. Information again confirmed by Laura Miele who specifies that they have been on it for more than a year, and more particularly on the part live service, in other words long-term game support.