At E3, the head of EA told us that Burnout and Need For Speed won't be merged into one brand. Instead, team Burnout is shifting, for now, to make a new Need For Speed.
During my interview with EA CEO John Riccitiello last week at E3, I asked if EA's two big racing brands, Need for Speed and Burnout, would be merging into one.
No, Riccitiello said, but the Burnout team at EA's Criterion Games, led by Alex Ward, are making the next Need for Speed. "Alex is one of the people in the industry I would analogise to the great filmmakers, etc.," Riccitiello said. "He is a true creative visionary. We had a great fight about what the next Need For Speed would be like. Of course, he gets to win because it's his call. It's not that I'm without an opinion on it."
That still sounded like a possible Burnout-NFS merger to me, so I pressed Riccitiello on whether Burnout would be folded into Need for Speed.
"I don't think you can fold Burnout into Need for Speed, because a lot of people like Burnout," he said. "We don't have a plan right now for a separate major launch on Burnout, because the team doing it is working on a revolutionary take on Need for Speed. I don't know, if Paramount, in addition to owning Star Trek owned Star Wars, which isn't the way it is, I don't think you'd merge them."
I pointed out that Star Trek Wars could be an interesting movie, one I'd watch. "Captain Kirk meets R2D2," laughed Riccitiello. "It'd have to be in a Spaceballs kind of way."
Riccitiello did not say when Criterion's Need for Speed would be released. Need for Speed Shift and Need for Speed Nitro, which, collectively, will be released for all major platforms this year, are up next.