UK developer Criterion is stepping away from the racing genre to “make something new”.
At least, that's the impression given by boss Alex Ward. Few studios have as rich a racing heritage as Criterion, whose past credits include the seminal Burnout series and 2010’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.
The confirmation of a change of direction was sparked by false online rumours that the studio is currently working on a Need for Speed: underground reboot.
“Here is what I want folks to know,” boss Alex Ward said on Twitter. “Some folks are eternally disappointed. Nothing I can do about that.
“So many tweets asking for new Burnout. Equally many tweets asking for a new NFS game from us. Also Road Rash. Whilst I love all of those games, I am personally not doing any. As a diehard NES gamer in the late ‘80s UK I was misled by many gaming mags hinting at games to be released. Most games did not get a PAL release. Most of the hot stuff was JPN and USA only. Hence I hate to mislead ANYONE. No point saving up hard earned money for your fave game not to come. Trust me, I have been there.
“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. I will do my best to keep folks in the loop who want to follow what we play or what inspires us. Or what we might be listening to. 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.
“No Black2 either folks. Volumes to tell on that topic, but will save that for when I get a book deal... Thanks for the support everybody. We won't let you down!”
Of course, don’t forget that while Criterion has forged a name for itself through its racing titles, it has dabbled in other genres. 2006 shooter Black is perhaps its most notable, even if the product that made it to the shelves lacked many of the innovative features that it had implemented in earlier builds.
UPDATE: Following the publication of this story the MCV team embarked on a “strong discussion” (argument) about whether Ward meant that while he personally wasn’t working on a racing game the studio still could be.
Then low and behold Ward follows up with this message on Twitter:
Hope springs eternal!