2021 won’t quite be the bumper year for car-related games we were hoping for. Last week we heard that Gran Turismo 7, originally pegged for a release as early as the first half of this year, now won’t come out until 2022. And now, we’ve learned that the next Need For Speed game won’t be released until 2022 either.
Need For Speed’s release window was originally confirmed for next-gen consoles as the 2022 fiscal year, which runs from 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2022. It was widely expected to come out in 2021, but now it’s been pushed back to the 2023 fiscal year, meaning the release won’t happen until October 2022 at the earliest. The reason? Perhaps unexpectedly, Battlefield 6.
Criterion Games, which has retaken Need For Speed development duties following the closure of Ghost, has been ordered by parent company Electronic Arts to temporarily pause development and assist fellow EA subsidiary DICE with the new Battlefield title.
The latest game in the 18-year-old first-person shooter franchise has, like GT7, been hit by shifting work environments caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. EA chief studios officer Laura Miele told Polygon, “The team has been working incredibly hard, they pushed hard last year, and yes, we have been working from home…it’s hard to make games from home, and the [EA DICE] team is fatigued a bit.”
Miele also noted that due to EA’s acquisition of Codemasters, the company does already have one racing game coming out in 2021, making the decision to delay Need For Speed a little easier. However, the title referred to is most likely F1 2021 - not exactly an obvious NFS alternative.
Still, at least all of this means 2022 will be a hell of a year for car games. Along with NFS and GT7, Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown will likely be out the same year, and maybe, just maybe, Grand Theft Auto 6 will have been released by then.