Codemasters has just announced on Twitter that Criterion Games and Codemasters Cheshire are merging in order to "create the future of Need for Speed." What this means is that they are forming one Criterion Studio in two locations. This comes in the wake of a partnership that has apparently been developed over the past few months. This seems like a very fast marriage over a massive property but hey, if it works it works. There's also a statement clarifying why in fact the two development teams merged:
Sharing common values and similar cultures, we strongly believe unifying the huge wealth of expertise across both teams will help us to deliver the best racing experiences we can for our players. [3/3]— Codemasters (@Codemasters) May 12, 2022
In case you don't know Codemasters Cheshire has worked on games like DIRT and when they used to be called Evolution Studios, Drive Club, so there's a lot of 'expertise' that's coming from one half of this new development team. Criterion Games have of course been developing Need for Speed from 2010-2013 and 2020 to the present, so I guess new blood is definitely something that Criterion Games is excited about.
Interestingly, there were hints of this months ago. Tom Henderson reported back in February that Codemasters Cheshire was set to become a support studio for the next Need for Speed title, although this combining of studios goes further than just Codemasters Chesire supporting Criterion. It means that it is no longer a separate entity of sorts working on its own projects at times. Still, this is great news for fans of the beleaguered franchise, because it's been a long time since fans have received a really good NFS title. How long exactly? Well, Need for Speed: Rivals received a 81 score on OpenCritic all the way back in 2013, so it's been a long time.
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