EA Hand Control of Need for Speed Franchise to Ghost Games

EA’s newly formed Gothenburg-based studio, Ghost Games, has been left in charge of the companies racing franchise Need for Speed. Speaking to VideoGamer Marcus Nilsson, boss of Ghost Games says that the studio will be the sole developers for the franchise. This suggests that Criterion Games, developers of the recent Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted Need for Speed games will no longer be involved with the franchise.

“Need For Speed needs continuity,” Nilsson said, “now [EA is] thinking about the brand as Ghost owns it. It cannot go from black to white between Black Box and Criterion, and that’s why we’re now thinking about the brand as Ghost owns it. We’re going to build it, we’re going to build it on Frostbite 3, [and] people will see something they are familiar with every time we release the game. And I think that is the core basis of building a brand; that people know what to expect.”

With Nilsson’s previous involvement as executive prodcuer on Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed, he believes the series is due some consistency in terms of what consumers can expect from the franchise.

“When you go from a Shift experience to The Run experience to a Hot Pursuit experience, then it loses credibility,” he continued. “I think we now have the work of re-establishing that credibility with building the brand. You know, it’s still a really strong brand, absolutely. We just need to make sure people know what to expect when they get it, and Rivals is absolutely the first step toward that. Need For Speed is not going to go away, right? It’s not the final or last step of that. But what you see in Rivals, a lot of those things will carry on going forward and myself and Rivals will be involved in shaping that.”

Need for Speed Rivals was announced back in May for PC and both current and next generation consoles. It is in development by both Ghost and Criterion, with Criterion taking on more of a support role.

“Criterion is absolutely helping us out a lot on this game and would we make something next year or whenever we do it, it’s going to be something that is ultimately driven from Ghost… There’s a small part of Criterion working on something else.”

With only one studio working on the Need for Speed series for the fore-see-able future, only time will tell what will become of the franchise.

What do you think of EA’s announcement? Glad that Need for Speed is now under the development of a sole studio? Let us know what you think in the comments.