Need for Speed Most Wanted

Stricken by an identity crisis suffered because of too many developing teams working on its annual releases, EA has signed over the Need For Speed creative license exclusively to Criterion Games. The developers of the fan-favorite racing series Burnout were given the chance to jump to the larger and more profitable IP two years ago with Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit and bring their brand of intense arcade racing with them.

Now, development of the series will be left entirely to the most talented racing  team out there as Criterion's Vice President Alex Ward confirmed with Game Informer.

"Maybe it's been that way in the past, but that's changed this year with what we're doing… Our stamp's going to be in everything you see in Need for Speed and Burnout going forward in the future. It's not going to be spread anymore across different companies. Different studios have had a crack at it – it's definitely a Criterion gig now."

Need For Speed dominates the sales charts yearly and ranks among the best selling series of all time with a cumulative sales figure of 140 million units. However, critical opinions vary from entry to entry as the brand often shifts gears into different racing sub-genres and changes hands through multiple teams. Criterion's Hot Pursuit, released back in 2010, tops the Gamerankings and Metacritic review compilation websites, and their upcoming Need For Speed: Most Wanted turned a lot of heads at E3 this year.

Obviously, this is huge for both EA and Criterion Games. EA is guaranteed a quality racing game from a reputable team with every entry from here on out, and Criterion will be able to take their performance to the next level with the added revenue and name recognition. Ward had little to say about the future of Burnout other than that he "[thinks] about it all the time. "I think something big will have to happen soon to enable us to do some of the things we want to do."

Need For Speed: Most Wanted will be release on October 30th for the PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita. iOS and Android will also receive their own version of the game.

[via Game Informer]