The new Need for Speed game has been delayed by a year, partly due to EA's recent acquisition of Codemasters. Racing fans will still likely have something to play this year from EA, but it won't be a new Need for Speed game as some might have hoped.
Criterion Games was officially put in charge of the next major title in the Need for Speed franchise just over one year ago. The game could have been released as early as late 2021, but a number of factors have contributed to a year-long delay. EA's new acquisition of Codemasters also means that we could ahve gotten two racing games from EA in one year — and that made delaying Need For Speed an easier decision.
Criterion Temporarily Shifts Work to Battlefield 6
Electronic Arts owns quite a few game developers and one of its latest acquisitions has made the decision to delay the new Need for Speed game a little easier than it might otherwise have been. Codemasters is making a new racing game later this year, easing up on the pressure for releasing the next Need for Speed game.
Speaking to Polygon, EA's Chief Studios Officer Laura Miele explained that its development teams have been having a challenging time with the work-from-home rules introduced over the last year. Delaying Need for Speed makes sense in light of the Codemasters acquisition and allows some development resources to be temporarily shifted around.
"Making games is one of the more sophisticated, and complicated, forms of media that exists, and it requires creative energy and connection to team members," Miele told Polygon. "I think that there’s been, you know, fatigue and some burnout, working from home. A lot of that even has to do with just the needs that people have with their families; some people are taking care of their kids at home [while they work]. So our productivity is not as high, and then the creative connection and creative energy isn’t as high when they’re working from home."
Miele stressed that the next game in the Need for Speed franchise is not in any trouble, nor is Criterion being taken off of the project. Codemasters' next racing game coming out later this year could have launched within a few months of Need for Speed, potentially putting EA in a situation where two of its developers are competing against one another in the same genre.
For now, Criterion has shifted to assisting with Battlefield 6; it previously has assisted DICE with 2015's Star Wars Battlefront, 2017's Star Wars Battlefront 2, and the "Firestorm" Battle Royale mode in Battlefield 5. It clearly has a fair amount of experience with shooters and it's a good fit for helping out with the next Battlefield game, and so it looks like Need for Speed is going to have to wait.
When is the New Need For Speed Release Date?
The new Need For Speed release date will likely be sometime between April 1, 2022–March 31, 2023; no specific release date has been announced just yet.
EA had previously told investors that it would be launching Battlefield 6 and the next Need For Speed by March 2022. With this year-long delay, that means that the new release window is "by March 2023" at the latest, assuming no other delays.
For now, there will still be a nice new racing game from Codemasters for you to look forward to. As for Criterion, they'll be working on Battlefield 6 as it ramps up towards its release later this year; Criterion will return to work on the Need For Speed franchise once their work on Battlefield 6 is complete.
Are you disappointed that the next Need For Speed game is being delayed? Are you looking forward to Battlefield 6? Let us know in the comments below!