EA has announced it will be pushing back the release of Criterion's next Need for Speed game by a year so the studio can lend development support on DICE's next Battlefield game.
At the tail-end of last year, EA revealed Criterion's new (and currently unnamed) Need for Speed title would launch in "fiscal year" 2022 - that is, somewhere between this April and the end of March 2022 - but the publisher has now announced it's shifting that release to FY2023.
The news was shared by chief studios officer Laura Miele in a post offering an update on several of the publisher's future titles. The catalyst for the post, however, is the next Battlefield, which Miele claims is "coming together to be an exceptional game...at an unprecedented scale".
While DICE is said to have "done an incredible job despite the challenges of working from home", EA will be "making a bold move" and shifting Criterion away from Need for Speed to help DICE "deliver the best [Battlefield] experience possible to our players this fall".
"Criterion and DICE have a strong history of working together," Miele writes, "and we're confident this partnership will make a great game even better."
As for Need for Speed, Criterion will resume development on the next series entry once its work assisting DICE is complete. "Criterion is one of the strongest racing studios in the industry," says Miele, "and the work they have accomplished on the next Need For Speed is truly inspired and will breathe new life into one of our most storied brands. We're going to give Criterion the time to reach the game's full promise and deliver it in FY23."
Criterion only returned to the Need for Speed franchise last year, following EA's decision to turn Ghost Games - which had taken on development duties for Need for Speed: Rivals (2013), the 2015 reboot, Need for Speed: Payback (2017) and 2019's Need for Speed: Heat - into an engineering hub to assist with the publisher's wider portfolio.
EA won't be without racing representation over the coming 12 months, however; Miele notes Codemasters - which was recently acquired by EA - "has several launches coming in the next year, bringing players some outstanding new racing games in our FY22". EA previously told investors it would be aiming to release one new racing game a year following the acquisition.
"We have an exceptional year ahead with our next Battlefield," Miele continued, "so we thank everyone for coming together with the energy and determination to do something special. We've recently seen the first version of the reveal trailer for Battlefield and it's shaping up to be a truly amazing first look at this groundbreaking game. I think fans are going to love it!".