New ‘Need for Speed’ title officially underway, according to developer

New 'Need for Speed' title officially underway according to Criterion

With Need for Speed Heat’s most recent update being its last, developer Criterion Games sets its sights on the next installment in the franchise.

Publisher EA Games’ most recent Need for Speed (NFS) outing was released in November of last year to a lukewarm reception by fans and critics. Originally developed by Ghost Games, EA eventually ended up downsizing the division and had Criterion take over the game’s updates.

As EA just announced that the racing game’s most recent update would be its last, Criterion General Manager Matt Webster made it known via a Need for Speed blog post that the developer would be going all-in on the next installment in the series.

Criterion Games and Need for Speed

Developer Criterion Games—best known for the development of the Burnout series—has had a lengthy history with the Need for Speed franchise, having worked on Hot Pursuit, Most Wanted, Rivals, and the most recent entry, Need for Speed Heat.

Webster made it clear in his statement that the developer would be shifting its “full focus on developing the next Need for Speed game,” and would be taking all the fan feedback of the previous game and using it as a foundation for the next title.

Criterion has the rather ambitious plan of creating the “most expressive, most socially connected, action-packed game yet for Need for Speed fans and beyond.”

Need for Speed Heat’s final update

The racing simulator’s farewell patch was a big one, making Need for Speed Heat the first EA title ever to allow cross-play between all platforms. It means that gamers will be able to play with one another regardless of whether they own a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or PC.

Webster mentioned in the same blog post that one of Criterion’s beliefs is that “games are better with friends,” which was made apparent with their recent update.

Heat’s cross-play feature was released on June 9 and couldn’t come at a better time, as the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has been giving people more reason to remain in the safety of their homes.

The birth of one of gaming’s most prominent racing sims

There isn’t a single racing game fanatic in existence who doesn’t know about the Need for Speed franchise, one of the longest-running and most celebrated racing series in video games.

The first NFS title made its debut back in 1994 for the fairly obscure 3DO console and was subsequently ported to the PC, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn over the next two years.

Funny enough, the first entry in the series was also the only one that tried to be a realistic driving simulator. Its developer at the time, which was EA Games, teamed up with automotive publication Road & Track to make the game feel as authentic as possible.

EA abandoned the idea in the franchise’s future installments, opting for more arcade-style racing experience.

The upcoming Need for Speed title remains nameless at this time, with virtually no details about its existence aside from it being developed by Criterion Games. The series has gotten pretty stale with its last few outings, so let’s hope the developers can breathe new life into the legendary franchise.

Image courtesy of Need for Speed/Twitter

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