Criterion Games now has nothing more to do with the Need for Speed franchise as they have renounced their association with it after just one year, with the Swedish developer Ghost Games taking over from them. Marcus Nilsson, the studio head of Ghost Games, told VideoGamer that they now “own” Need for Speed and stated that there is no chance of the franchise going between Criterion and Ghost Games. This means that there won’t be two different developers working on individual Need for Speed games in alternating years.
Nilsson stressed that they are now thinking about NFS as the brand the Ghost Games owns and says people will still know what to expect from the game:
“It cannot go from black to white between Black Box and Criterion, and that’s why we’re now thinking about the brand as Ghost owns it.”
“We’re going to build it, we’re going to build it on Frostbite 3, [and] people will see something they are familiar with every time we release the game. And I think that is the core basis of building a brand; that people know what to expect.”
He also stated the brand bouncing between different studios led to inconsistent games:
“When you go from a Shift experience to The Run experience to a Hot Pursuit experience, then it loses credibility. I think we now have the work of re-establishing that credibility with building the brand. You know, it’s still a really strong brand, absolutely. We just need to make sure people know what to expect when they get it, and Rivals is absolutely the first step toward that.”
I think it is great that the Need for Speed franchise now has a settled home and hopefully this can allow the games to continually improve and it can fulfil the great potential that was shown by earlier games in the franchise. Need For Speed: Rivals is coming to PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in November, with the PS4 and Xbox One versions arriving later although they do not have a precise date as of the time of writing.