Criterion Confirms Racing Frenzy
In a move that’s sure to come as a surprise to Need For Speed fans used to their franchise swapping frequently between steady and, well, not so steady hands, Criterion Games have today confirmed that they’re taking the full reins for the series from now on. With any luck, this means that no more will followers have to suffer a colossal failure like Undercover or The Run, but instead hopefully a more consistent round of annual releases.
With Criterion’s parallel confirmation that they’re also keeping hold of the Burnout series, though, we might wonder if there’s trouble brewing on the horizon…
Whereas in the past NFS has occasionally revelled in having top titles from different developers – for example, Shift and Hot Pursuit in 2009 and 2010 respectively- as much as it has been challenged by it, (and indeed the Forza series seems to be getting a new lease of life with the annual rota of Turn 10′s core efforts and PlayGround Studios’ Horizon spin-offs), now the worry is that both this and the Burnout franchise may start to seem a little identikit, with little distinguishing the pair of them.
It’s fair to say that many took Need For Speed: Most Wanted to be a spiritual successor to Burnout Paradise upon its reveal at E3 2012, and if Criterion want to bring back the latter franchise they’ll have to justify it being different enough to warrant a resurrection.
To be fair, EA have scored in the past with consistent semi-annual developers like EA Sports (FIFA); DICE (Battlefield 3) and BioWare (Mass Effect), but the racing genre is a tricky one to master and an even trickier one to stay on top of. (This isn’t as easy to ‘pump out’ as COD after all).
The next NFS entry from Criterion is looking great, of that there is no doubt, but even now there seems to be a strong vibe surrounding this year’s Forza too, so you have to wonder where things will stand in a few years’ time.
Need For Speed: Most Wanted ships this Autumn.