First look at Need for Speed 2021, as EA closes the book on NFS: Heat

EA hands the keys to Criterion Games, ending NFS: Heat’s short-lived development cycle

Need for Speed 2021

Need for Speed: Heat is the most recent installment of the decades-old franchise; and after its release last November, has received a few back-of-house updates adding features like wheel support, and just one real content update with the Black Market car pack; which added the microtransaction-able McLaren F1.

However, the chapter seems to have ended, as Heat has received its final update – adding full cross-platform support - while the franchise looks to the future with our first glimpse of Need for Speed’s as yet-unnamed 2021 installment.

Our first look at the upcoming NFS game came from the recent EA Play livesteam: you can watch the short preview above.

They have their sights focussed on the next-gen consoles, and mention the franchise’s return to Criterion Games – makers of the beloved Burnout series as well as some NFS fan-favourites like 2010’s Hot Pursuit and 2012’s Most Wanted.


The previous developers, Ghost Games have been at the helm of the franchise since the 2015 self-titled reboot, overseeing what us and many long-time fans of the franchise see as a bit of a purple patch compared to more beloved prior titles.

Need For Speed 2021 First Look GT 3 RS Jpg

As Criterion slid into the driver’s seat last month, they let fire what was stated to be “the final update for Need for Speed Heat”, and making it the first EA title to offer full cross-play support.

It’s a significant and welcome feature, one that hopefully becomes a mainstay going forward for the franchise; although many online have voiced their feelings of abandonment under prior promises of more content and more cars.

As one of the more celebrated and beloved gaming studios amongst racing genre fans, Need for Speed’s future under Criterion’s guidance has us hopeful for brighter days ahead for the franchise.

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