Criterion Games has absorbed Codemasters Chesire, doubling the Electronic Arts-owned studio’s efforts for the Need For Speed franchise.
Codemasters has confirming the two studios will now operate as one under the Criterion name in two locations moving forward. That won’t affect development on other Codemasters titles, like the F1, Dirt, Grid, and future WRC series — and potentially Project CARS 4 — as Codemasters’ other studios will continue under the Codies name.
EA announced last March that the next, yet-to-be-named Need for Speed title would fall short of its 2021 release window, as Criterion was occupied with other duties within the company: assisting DICE on the development of Battlefield 2042.
That title launched in November 2021, allowing Criterion to pivot back towards Need for Speed, with Codemasters Cheshire reportedly drafted in to help out in the same way Criterion helped DICE. That’s now become a full merge of the studios.
EA has already confirmed that it expects the new NFS title later in 2022, based on year-end financial results and projections shared in April. However the company also cancelled its annual EA Play Live event this year as “things aren’t lining up” to show fans all of its upcoming titles at once; the fact that the company has lost the licence to its flagship FIFA-branded soccer games is likely one of the misalignments.
That means that, at the moment, there’s little information on precisely what the next entry in the franchise will be. While EA has previously teased a whole 16 seconds of the title, that was nearly two years ago and we’ve seen nothing official since.
Players have yearned for a Need for Speed title that returns to its roots for some time now. NFS Underground and Most Wanted (2005 rather than 2012) are often used as the measuring sticks for when the series was at its prime, and all three titles still stand at the top of the sales charts for the franchise to this day.
If the untitled NFS sequel is indeed on the slate for 2022, we should be hearing more information soon.