EA has delayed the next Need for Speed game and has shifted developer Criterion to assist with the upcoming untitled Battlefield game — which is still due out sometime this fall. The next Need for Speed title has yet to be officially revealed, but it will now launch by March 2022, a year after its initial planned release window.
This comes by way of an exclusive Polygon interview with EA's Chief Studios Officer Laura Miele. During the interview, Miele assured us that the Need for Speed and Battlefield franchises are not in bad shape, but instead need time to be fully realized.
Miele told Polygon “[Battlefield] is shaping up great, the team has been working incredibly hard, they pushed hard last year, and yes, we have been working from home. And it’s hard; it’s hard to make games from home, and the [EA DICE] team is fatigued a bit.”
However, Miele feels confident about the state of the next Battlefield game. “We have a great game and some incredible potential with this game,” Miele said. “We’re playing to win; we’re playing to put a great Battlefield game out in the market.”
In regards to the current state of Criterion, the team responsible for creating the next Need for Speed game, Miele said “There’s no way we would have made a decision like this without including [Criterion] and discussing this with them first, and the impact that they could have on [Battlefield].” Miele added “They’ve worked on [Star Wars] Battlefront, they’ve worked on Battlefields, and they have a really tight, close collaborative partnership with DICE. I’m really confident that this is going to be a pretty positive win for them.”
“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 said.
“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.”
Criterion is known for developing popular racing franchises such as Burnout and Need for Speed, and has also assisted with Start Wars: Battlefront II — as stated above. For a few years from 2013 to 2019, Need for Speed games were mostly handled by Ghost Games, but EA recently shifted the series back to Criterion.
The next Battlefield has yet to be officially revealed, as well, but EA did make mention of it during an investor call in 2019. Rumors point to the next Battlefield game being set during modern times much like Battlefield 3 and 4, though this has yet to be confirmed by EA. It will likely get shown off by summer 2021.