Earlier today, the official Twitter account of Codemasters confirmed that the Cheshire team will join Criterion to work on the Need for Speed franchise.
We can confirm Criterion Games and the development team at Codemasters Cheshire are officially coming together to create the future of Need for Speed, forming one Criterion studio with two location hubs. This integration builds off the close partnership the two studios have developed over the past few months.
Sharing common values and similar cultures, we strongly believe unifying the huge wealth of expertise across both teams will help us to deliver the best racing experiences we can for our players.
We first got wind of this news when Electronic Arts Senior Recruiter Pete Johnson shared the information in a recruitment post that went up on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago. At the time, he stated:
Codemasters Cheshire will come together with Criterion Games to create the future of Need for Speed. Starting with the next Need for Speed title then extending to future-facing initiatives, Codemasters Cheshire will work with Criterion on creative, technical and feature execution in service to the vision outlined in the Need for Speed strategy.
The Cheshire team is actually the former Evolution Studios, once part of SIE's Worldwide Studios, where it developed PlayStation exclusives like MotorStorm and Driveclub. Sony closed the studio in March 2016, but Codemasters swiftly acquired most of the team, which then set out to work on the arcade vehicular combat game Onrush.
Most recently, the Cheshire team made DIRT 5 (rated 9/10 here on Wccftech).
DIRT 5 offers a new path for the DIRT series and treads it brilliantly. The core numbered titles have always been slightly more arcade, but this takes it to a whole other level and is fantastic because of this move. This is an incredibly approachable and varied racing game that takes you on a tour of several racing styles in far-flung places across the globe. With every new console generation comes a new generation of racing games, DIRT 5 is that game. It looks fantastic, it's incredibly fun and it's polished to a great level and is arguably the best game to come out of Codemasters.
According to EA's latest earnings report, the next Need for Speed game, the first to be jointly developed by Criterion and the ex-Codemasters Cheshire, should be released before the end of the calendar year.