EA says it won’t release a Need for Speed game this year

For the first time since 1996, there will be no new Need for Speed game on shelves this year.

A new game is in development, however, and speaking to Kotaku Need for Speed’s executive producer Marcus Nilsson assured fans that the brand is alive and kicking.

"It’s not like the franchise is in trouble or is going to go away," he said. We’ve got a good base on PS4. We’ve sold 10m in the past. Rivals wasn’t anywhere close to that but it performed to expectations. I think Rivals as a game is the most innovative that Need for Speed has been in a while.

"We have a grand and aspirational vision of where we want to take this franchise and it’s simply going to take more time. This is the first time that we’re saying ‘Let’s not do one this year because of what we can do with extra development’. The extra time will let us take time and get feedback and have people play our code early on and get feedback in a much more integrated way."

The Need for Speed series is one of the most established in gaming, having debuted all the way back in 1994.

After a tricky spell in the mid 2000s that saw a host of different developers tackle the series and a general decrease in quality with titles like Nitro and The Run – and even a foray into simulation territory with the decent if a bit confused Shift – NFS has been back on track in recent years with critical hits such as Hot Pursuit and (for the second time) Most Wanted.

However, EA’s main concern will be returning the series to the levels of commercial success it once enjoyed.

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