"Different studios have had a crack at it - it's definitely a Criterion gig now."
Those are the words of Criterion vice preseident Alex Ward, who just revealed his studio has taken over the Need for Speed franchise, following their development of the 2010 hit Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. That is to say, they'll be the only ones overlooking the development of the Need for Speed games going forward, and possibly even the only ones developing them. Burnout fans need not worry, as they'll still be working on those games.
Besides involvement with the feel of the cars, gameplay, online features, and more, the "gig" entails deciding which Need for Speed games come out; with Criterion's excellent track record (no pun intended), the idea here seems to be to focus on quality, necessary releases, and not a bunch of great releases alongside a bunch of mediocre ones.
For starters, Ward is thinking it'd be great to have one Need for Speed game with all the other brands -- Shift, Most Wanted, Underground, and Hot Pursuit -- crammed into it. Kind of sounds like a terrible idea to me, but who knows.
Ward leaves us with these ominous words:
"I think something big will have to happen soon to enable us to do some of the things we want to do."