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Rumor: New NFS on hold, Ghost Games with layoffs Sunday, 02.02.2014
Electronic ArtsAccording to » Polygon EAs swedish studio Ghost Games was hit by layoffs earlier this week. Contractors were already let go and full-time staffers could either take compensation and leave or continue working on Visceral's rumored police-themed Battlefield title, code-named Havana.

While the studio made with Need for Speed Rivals it's first NFS title last year, the future doesn't look bright. In contradiction to earlier plans, that Ghost Games is in charge of future NFS titles, the new - yet unannounced - new Need for Speed seems to be set on hold.

Criterion Games, which developed two NFS games earlier, are already working on a completely new project after their staff was heavily reduced (and shifted to Ghost Games).

The official statement EA only mentioned that the company has "entered a consultation period for some positions in our Ghost Games U.K. studio."
So it'll be interesting what the future holds for the development studio and especially for the Need for Speed series.

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NFS Rivals not coming for Wii U or PS Vita Monday, 21.10.2013
NFS Rivals
Need for Speed Rivals will not be released for Wii U or PS Vita. In talks with The Sixth Axis Creative Director Craig Sullivan explains that Ghost Games (the developers of NFS Rivals) are working on their very first title and many factors are in play. The team was formed largely of staff from Criterion Games and in addition to the new team and the resulting transitionary period NFS Rivals is being developed for many platforms, both on current- and next-gen consoles.

Additionally the Frostbite 3 engine has not been ported to either Wii U or PS Vita yet, in contrast to the Chameleon engine which was used for NFS Most Wanted. A game which apparently didn't sell as good as they've hoped (on Wii U):

Honestly, itís not the kind of stuff that I like talking about in detail, that much. We did a load of extra work on the Wii U version, and we had a lot of guys working on that stuff, you know?

It didnít really sell that many, in terms of the Wii U market. I would love for it to have, because we put so much effort into that, trust me. Iíd love for it to be way bigger than it was, and the same for the Vita.

[Rivals] is going onto new hardware, and you have to work out where you focus your efforts. The 200 people working on this game are only capable of making so much, and doing so many different versions of the game, so we had to go with where we think the biggest audience will be for the game, and thatís where we are.

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NFS Rivals developed for Next-Gen Monday, 23.09.2013
NFS RivalsPlaystation 4 and Xbox One will hit the stores in two months, which brings the question how the games will look like on the new platforms. Especially with cross-platform titles it looks convenient to take a current-gen game, scale it up and throw it on the market as a next-gen game.

In an interview with » MCV UK Patrick SŲderlund, EA Games label boss, talks about next-gen consoles and assures, that Need for Speed Rivals and Battlefield 4 are being developed for the upcoming consoles and downscaled to run on current-gen hardware.

Do you worry that as most of your games are on both current and next-gen, and because of games like GTA?V, that players might delay buying the new consoles?

If you look at GTA V Ė which looks crazy, I canít wait to play it Ė and when you look at GTA?IV, the difference between the two is significant. I donít expect the difference between what launches on PS4 today and what launches at the end tail of that to be quite that dramatic, but I still think it will be dramatic. Battlefield 4 and Need for Speed this year were built from the ground-up on next gen, and scaled back for current consoles. Rather than making a current gen game and scaling it up, we went the other way around.

Developers are smart, they figure out ways to get more out of the boxes. That will happen. For next yearís games, I am already seeing games doing things we were not able to do on the ones coming this year. That will be an industry-wide thing.

But when you get your hands on Battlefield 4, 64-players, 60 frames per second, with the fidelity you have on next-gen consoles, versus the 360 or PS3 version, the difference there is significant. We are for the first time offering 64-players, thatís 40 more than before, that makes the game significantly different. On top of that, doubling the frame rate and improving the graphics creates a better feel. Thatís just simple stuff, but that makes a big difference. One thatís significant enough to make people say: ďIíve got to have that.Ē

Need for Speed games have been inconsistent in quality. The games made by UK studio Criterion have been great, but the others have been a mixed bag. Is that why you set up this new Need for Speed developer Ghost Games?

Ghost in Gothanberg was created with not just Need for Speed, but driving games in mind. Thereís a lot of car nuts there, a lot of people who have built racing games in the past. And Iím surprised at how quickly they have established themselves. We have taken some senior people, Craig Sullivan from Criterion has moved to Gothenberg, Jamie Keen who was a key design person on Far Cry 3 has moved there. We have assembled an experienced team, with some former DICE employees, as well.

But if I tell a studio that they are going to make a Need for Speed game every year for the foreseeable future, that might seem daunting. People need breathing room. I donít believe you can make a great game in eight months. You have to give enough time to people to be creative and express themselves. We have always had two teams working on Need for Speed. So it was a natural step to start a new studio.

We looked all over the world. We looked at the UK. But it boiled down to Gothenberg strangely enough, and it seems to be the right choice.

You can find the complete interview here:

» Interview with Patrick Söderlund @ MCV UK
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Criterion Games staff reduced Saturday, 14.09.2013
Criterion GamesCriterion Games reduced its staff after Need for Speed Most Wanted (2012) and around 60-65 developers got assigned to the swedish developer studio Ghost Games to work on the upcoming Need for Speed Rivals, which will be released in November 2013 for current and next-gen platforms (PC, PS3, PS4, X360, Xbox One).

According to a » Tweet from Alex Ward Criterion Games was reduced to 16 people. At the moment it is not known on what project Criterion is working at the moment, but according to previous statements it's not a racing game. Apparently they don't have to fear being closed down, as Alex ward sees themselves in » in fine form and » backed by Electronic Arts.

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Need for Speed Series from Ghost Games Friday, 30.08.2013
Ghost GamesThe Need for Speed brand needs consistency and the last years it was a bit confusing as every NFS came from a different development studio, missing a clear line.

Marcus Nilsson talked with and announced that Ghost Games wants to take over the series Need for Speed Rivals. He believes "Need For Speed needs continuity", and that EA is "now thinking about the brand as Ghost owns it".

When you go from a Shift experience to The Run experience to a Hot Pursuit experience, then the brand loses credibility and the gamer should know what he can expect. Ghost Games wants to re-establish that credibility and has the best prerequisites. They develop with the Frostbite 3 engine and want to for a consistend Need for Speed experience with pursuits, online open worlds and a narrative forming.

Criterion ist still involved in the development of NFS Rivals, but how long remains to be seen. Asked whether future games in the series would alternate between Ghost and Criterion year-on-year, Nilsson replied: "No, you're not going to see that." He also suggested that Ghost could make a sequel to Need For Speed: Underground if there was enough demand.

Seems like interesting times for Need for Speed.

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Criterion's Alex Ward doesn't work on racing games Tuesday, 16.04.2013
CriterionThe headline might be weird, but isn't it funny how some innocent tweets can stir up the internet and evolve to a shocking news that Criterion Games might has stopped working on racing games? Many media sites picked up a story, based on tweets by Criterion's Creative Directory Alex Ward.

It all started with small rumours about an » unannounced racing game at Criterion Games, which could be a new Need for Speed or Burnout. Then » EGM publish a logo draft of a new » NFS Underground, which was pointed out as a fake by Criterion's developer Alex Ward. (see here and here)

Then Alex Ward went even further and announced not to be working on another racing game, as it is time for something new:

After over a decade of making racing games it's time to make something new. It is early days thus I have nothing to "announce" or talk about.

But if you are following me expecting some Megaton of a new Burnout game, or an Underground remake then I have to disappoint you.

I am proud of all of the Burnout games. When it feels right we will make another one. We are creative people.

Well, several media sites interpreted this as the Studio Criterion Games won't be making any more racing games, but this was demented today by Alex, indicating that HE was the one who isn't working on racing games anymore, not the whole team...

As entertaining Twitter can be, when you cram your messages in 140 characters it can easily lead to misunderstandings, as this example showed...

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NFS Underground the next NFS in 2013? (Rumour) Friday, 12.04.2013
The rumours won't stop. After the » news about an "unannounced racing game" at Criterion, now » EGM received a new logo, which could point to a relaunch off the successful Need for Speed Underground!

NFS Underground Logo

The logo came from an anonymous source and it doesn't look very finished, given the repeated elements. Since today everybody can photoshop such graphics quite easily, it looks very well like a fake.

EGM contacted Electronic Arts, but an EA rep stated that the company does not comment on rumors or speculation.

UPDATE: Criterion's Alex Ward demented on Twitter any plans on working on a relaunch of NFS Underground - see here and here.

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Criterion working on "Unannounced Racing Title" for 2013 Sunday, 07.04.2013
CriterionThis is how rumours start: after you could read of an "Unannounced Racing Title" at Criterion, several onlinemagazines report about a possiblie upcoming Need for Speed for 2013, but also a successor for the Burnout Franchise isn't off the table.

To be concrete, Pete Panton, Lead Cinematic Artist posted on his » LinkedIn profile, to be working on an "Unannounced Racing Title" for EA Games 2013. He previously worked on Need for Speed Most Wanted in 2012.
His colleague, Lead Artist » Lee Sullivan is working on an "Unannounced project at Criterion Games" since 2011.

It's still open, whether this could be a new Need for Speed, Burnout or even something completely different. A new NFS is also possible to come from the new swedish development studio EA Gothenburg. (see » here and » here)

» Pete Panton @ LinkedIn
» Lee Sullivan @ LinkedIn
» (Source)
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NFS Most Wanted: Wii U Review on IGN Saturday, 30.03.2013
MW2Need for Speed Most Wanted was recently released for the Wii U and offers an interesting port of the game on the new console. With the improved hardware the game is comparable with the versions for Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 (maybe even better) and together with the Wii-U Gamepad NFS Most Waned offers new possibilities with the Co-Driver mode .

The onlinemagazine IGN tested the game and and gives it a rating of 9.0 - "Amazing":

Far more curious is the Co-Driver mode. Criterion has said itís their attempt at giving Most Wanted a more "Nintendo feel" Ė they even refer to it as the Ďfather and soní mode. Itís a type of asymmetrical co-op: one player's in charge of driving the car, using either a Wiimote or Pro-Controller, while the second player mans the GamePad, granting them near god-like control over key aspects of the game. With a simple tap of the touchscreen, the second player can take control of car away from the other player or instantly turn day into night. The GamePad also shows a more expansive, detailed map, allowing them to direct the driver toward places of interest, such as jack spots or challenges.

The GamePad is much more powerful than that Ė it can also remove other vehicles from the roads and even make police cars spin wildly out of control. Another tap can fix badly-damaged cars, removing the satisfying challenge of finding a garage in the middle of an intense race and trying to thread your car through it at 90mph.

You can read the complete review here:

» NFS Most Wanted Wii U Review @ IGN
» Order Need for Speed Most Wanted at!
» Order Need for Speed Most Wanted at!
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Three new DLCs for NFS Most Wanted! Monday, 25.02.2013
MW2The website » published new trophies, which unveiled three new DLCs for Need for Speed Most Wanted: the Terminal Velocity Pack, Movie Legends Pack and NFS Heroes Pack!

At the moment there not many details known, but according to » Eurogamer the Termincal Velocity Pack will add five new cars and a number of new races, with new car add-ons such as the Ram Chassis, Jump Nitrous and Drift Tires.
The other two packs will offer new races too, but there is no mention of any new areas to race in.

There is no information about pricing or release dates yet, but what is known are the trophies:

Terminal Velocity Pack

Velocity: Terminal 5Drive all 5 Terminal Velocity Pack cars (Single Player)
Velocity: First ClassFinish first in every race in the Terminal Velocity Pack (Single Player)
Velocity: On Final ApproachUnlock either Jump Nitrous PRO or Drift Tires PRO (Multi)
Velocity: Terminal AddictionUnlock Ram Chassis, Drift Tires and Jump Nitrous for all 5 Terminal Velocity Pack cars (Multi)

Movie Legends Pack

Movies: It's a Wrap!Finish first in every race in the Movie Legends Pack (Single Player)
Movies: Gone!Escape the cops in the Shelby GT500 (Single Player)
Movies: Fan FictionGet 5 Slam Takedowns while driving with the 'Movie Fan' License Plate (Multiplayer)

NFS Heroes Pack

NFS Hero: Need to WinFinish first in every race in the NFS Heroes Pack (Single Player)
NFS Hero: Six UndergroundUnlock all 6 'Under' License Plates (Multiplayer)
NFS: Hero WorshipWin an event while driving with the 'NFS Hero' License Plate (Multiplayer)

» Order Need for Speed Most Wanted at!
» Order Need for Speed Most Wanted at!
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