Laura Miele, EA’s chief studios officer, told Polygon that Criterion is still handling the new Need for Speed, which will now be released by March 2023 for platforms including current and last-gen consoles.
The shift also enables EA to focus greater resources on DICE’s Battlefield 6, which is scheduled for release during the 2021 holiday season.
“We’re going to put all the resources we have on this,” said Miele, who refused to comment on reports that Battlefield 6 will feature a modern-day setting and maps which support 128 players.
She did confirm recent reports that DICE Los Angeles, which is overseen by Respawn boss Vince Zampella, is working on Battlefield 6 too. “They’ve been on it for over a year, and they’re doing some really exceptional things in live service,” Miele said.
EA announced in February 2020 that it had handed Need for Speed development duties back to Criterion Games as it planned to restructure Ghost Games, which made the last four entries in the racing series.
Guildford, England-based Criterion is best known for the Burnout series and has also developed two previous Need for Speed titles: 2010’s Hot Pursuit and 2012’s Most Wanted.
It contributed to 2013’s Need for Speed Rivals and more recently to DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront II and Battlefield V.
EA said this February that DICE was “way ahead” of schedule with Battlefield 6 development as the publisher gears up to reveal the game this spring.
“[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,” Miele told Polygon. “And it’s hard; it’s hard to make games from home, and the [EA DICE] team is fatigued a bit.
“We have a great game and some incredible potential with this game. We’re playing to win; we’re playing to put a great Battlefield game out in the market.”