Criterion games’ boss Alex Ward took to Twitter earlier and announced that he would be moving on from racing titles and said, ‘it’s time to make something new.’ After the rumour of a new ‘unannounced racing title’ spread like wild-fire to be quashed later by Ward himself, it appears there’s no longer room for another racing title in Criterion Games’ repertoire for the moment.
In a string of tweets, Ward said: “Here is what I want folks to know. Some folks are eternally disappointed. Nothing I can do about that. So many tweets asking for new Burnout [and] 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.
“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 am proud of all of the Burnout games. When it feels right we will make another one. We are creative people.”
Rumours are afloat that Criterion Games – who brought Need For Speed and Burnout titles to the Wii and Wii U – are developing a ‘unannounced racing title’ slated for release sometime this year. The project has already been listed on various Criterion’s employers professional LinkedIn accounts, listed under ‘EA games for 2013′, but whether we’re looking at a new IP or a sequel to another franchise is still uncorroborated.
Last October, Criterion confirmed a return to the Burnout franchise would be a possibility, but creative director Alex Ward dismissed rumours that there would a sequel to Burnout Paradise. Yesterday, he tweeted saying: “Another #epic day working with an #epic team on something #amazing.” With so much speculation, confirmation of the unannounced title shouldn’t be too far off.
Online gaming publication Kotaku recently got the chance to speak to Alex Ward, the Creative Director of Criterion Games. It turns out Ward is very fond of the Wii U and thinks that Wii U owners deserve the best version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, which is why they have used the PC graphics assets in the Wii U game and included Miiverse support. Here’s Wards thoughts on both Need for Speed: Most Wanted on Wii U and the Wii U itself.
“Well this is our first game on the hardware. We wanted to go back to like we used to be. If you know we’re doing the game, you know we’ve looked at the hardware and said, ‘What’s the best damned thing we can do on that?’ We’re going to support everything we can. We support MiiVerse fully, online play.”
“Everyone wants to talk about this and that on the hardware, and it’s not as interesting to me. What’s really important is what we’re doing with the player experience. The games I’m playing on Wii U—Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U—what Nintendo [does], they just deliver excellent gameplay. It’s probably one of the big problems in the industry at the moment. Everyone—you guys—like to talk about specs and this and that. We’ve got to get back to just playing the game. And that’s what this game is about. It’s about a simple, fun experience. It’s not about 10,000,000 polygons and who does this and who does that.”
Criterion’s Craig Sullivan and Alex Ward recently had the opportunity to speak to The Guardian about their past efforts, and what they have planned for the future. Sullivan told the publication that Criterion will make another Burnout game, but he wouldn’t be drawn into specifics. Still, it’s great news, as the Burnout franchise has always been highly regarded by racing enthusiasts.
“We will make another Burnout game at some point. Obviously, as we’re working on NFS we’re thinking of really good ideas that aren’t right for this series; there are ideas that we’re going to explore with Burnout. And we wouldn’t be making NFS or Burnout games if we didn’t think the driving genre had a long shelf life and that we could push the boundaries. There’s a lot of new stuff in Most Wanted, a lot for people to get their heads around – and sometimes there’s only so much explaining you can do – we’ve reined in some of the ideas we had for this game, they were a little ahead of their time.”
Burnout Crash seems to have received mixed reactions from the majority of Burnout fans. It looks as though it’s a massive departure from previous Burnout titles. What is interesting though is that the game was originally developed from the ground-up as a Wii title but for some unknown reason Criterion Games decided to scrap it for Wii and instead bring it across to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Would you have liked to play this on Wii?
“The original version started on the Wii, and it was a user-created game where you drew the road with a wand, and we thought if we made Crash mode you can make it all yourself.”
“We did that for a few months and it actually turned out to be quite boring. One of our philosophies at Criterion is just ‘cos we’ve made it doesn’t mean we can’t delete it. So if we have to throw something away and shelve it, we could talk for hours about the number of ideas we’ve just thrown away because you get there and it doesn’t quite work.”