Ghost Games won't release a new Need for Speed title until 2015 in order to give the studio more time to build a fresh experience and collect community feedback, according to a post on the Need for Speed website by general manager and executive producer Marcus Nilsson.
Last night during publisher Electronic Arts' financial earnings call, company CEO Andrew Wilson stated that there would be no new title in the Need for Speed racing franchise in 2014. This is the first year since 2002 that the company will not be releasing at least one Need for Speed game. According Wilson, EA is holding off to "ensure we're delivering a high-quality experience for Need for Speed players next year."
In his post, Nilsson — addressing players — echoed Wilson's statement, saying the studio is "already deep in development" on its next game and wants to focus on building "the game you deserve." Nilsson said Ghost will be listening to player feedback, noting that last fall's Need for Speed Rivals was just the "first step" for what the developers are capable of producing within the franchise.
"We’ve made the decision to not release a Need for Speed in 2014, so we can work towards a highly innovative Need for Speed in 2015," Nilsson said. "An experience built on a foundation we know you’ll greatly look forward to."
Nilsson reaffirmed that community feedback will shape the 2015 Need for Speed game and invited feedback on the series' Facebook page.
"From now on, you’ll be hearing from us regularly because we need your help to shape the future of Need for Speed," he said. "We want your input on future gameplay and features we know you’re passionate about. We will keep innovating, always making sure to continue the celebration of cars and the joy they bring."
In February, Polygon reported that Ghost Games was hit with layoffs in the wake of Criterion Games — the former stewards of the Need for Speed franchise — founders Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry leaving their studio. According to sources, contractors were let go and full-time staff were given the option to leave with compensation or stay and assist EA subsidiary Visceral Games on the next Battlefield title. At the time, an in-development Need for Speed game was put on hold indefinitely.
Polygon has reached out to Ghost to ask if these earlier layoffs affected the decision to postpone the next Need for Speed game and will share further details.