With a taste for both mechanical precision and madness, developer Criterion Games has distinguished itself an impact player in the world of arcade racers, moving from their roots in the BurnOut series to taking over development of EA’s Need For Speed. The studio has undergone recent changes, but any doubts that they were still thinking big were erased when EA revealed their next project at E3 2014 — a massive next-gen open world throwing cars, boats, offroad vehicles and aircraft into one massive destruction derby.
It seems likely that Criterion’s next game (still without a name) was revealed due to EA’s smaller catalogue of games to be detailed during their E3 media briefing, explaining that the publisher doesn’t make a habit of announcing or unveiling games so early in their development. And “early” is the operative word, as virtually all actual gameplay footage taken from the project uses prototype geometry and textures. The images may not be impressive on their own, but those longing for an evolution of Burnout Paradise can still hold out hope.
Accompanying the prototype assets are details on just how widely varied the vehicles of Criterion’s next game will truly be. With extreme sports pointed to as a major influence, it seems even skydiving could play a role in the still-undefined open world action game. In fact, Criterion stopped short of explaining whether their game would be story-based, online-only, or possessing any single player spin on the mechanics whatsoever.
What the developer spent a great deal of their announcement video emphasizing was the studio’s current status; after Criterion took over EA’s Need For Speed series, a subsection of the team was spun-off to handle development as Ghost Games. Later, the studio’s leads vacated the premises, and the future of both studios was. at best, foggy. Evidently, that didn’t stop Criterion from re-establishing their identity with a range of overhauls to their previous offices. Criterion has never been accused of exhibiting a ‘conformist’ mentality, but the vast possibilities and absurd premise of the untitled game prove that their lust for outrageous action and reality-defying thrills has grown, if anything.
That being said, beginning an open world game with as broad a concept as this trailer seems to imply is a difficult task, and is always subject to change as development challenges and successes arrive — perhaps another reason why publishers tend not to let the public in this early in the process. Optimism or interest is inevitable for such a unique pitch, but fans of Criterion should delay any serious expectations until the studio offers up more details.
What do you think of the announcement video? Is this the kind of game you hoped to see Criterion return to making? Or does this seem too over-the-top to win over a large audience? Sound off in the comments.
We’ll keep you updated on whatever Criterion is up to as soon as we know.
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