Polygon is reporting that Ghost Games, the developers of the recent Need for Speed Rivals has suffered layoffs. These layoff have also reportedly put the development of a new Need for Speed game on hold. If you were unaware, Ghost Games was said to be taking over development for Need for Speed with Rivals. Previously, Criterion had shepherded the franchise for a few years.
The report continues saying that EA let go of any contractors working on the game, and then offered full time employees two choices: to accept compensation and leave, or continue to work in the office, but assist Visceral Games with a (currently unannounced) police-themed Battlefield title. A Polygon source names the project as Codename: Havana and says it is due later this year.
This news certainly puts the future of the Need for Speed franchise in jeopardy, as Rivals may well be the last of the series for some time. Criterion Games no longer has two of it’s co-founders, and is reportedly working on something that is not a racing game.
Another big bit of news from this report is that Visceral Games is working on some kind of police-themed Battlefield title for release this year. Part of me wonders if the decision to put this Need for Speed game on hold was due to the fact that Visceral needed more help on the Battlefield game. EA likely doesn’t want another egg on their face for Battlefield screw ups again. Then again, it’s incredibly fascinating that Battlefield would be getting a game from a company that isn’t DICE. Presumably making it into a year franchise like Call of Duty. EA responded to Polygon’s request for comment only by saying the company “entered a consultation period for some positions in our Ghost Games U.K. studio.”
by, Bobby Marquardt