With the cut backs at EA Black Box it should come as no surprise that EA has found a new developer for the racing series. In fact EA are planning three separate iterations of Need for Speed this year.
Firstly Need for Speed: Shift (PC/PS3/PSP/360) is developed by Slightly Mad Studios, the reconstructed Blimey Games formed by Ian Bell (formerly with Simbin). Having worked on games like GTR and GT Legends, their legacy is certainly of one simulation racing and physics. Hopefully this is something that will rub off on a series in dire need of an overhaul. The series producer Michael Mann will supervise the development alongside Patrick Söderlund (formerly head of DICE).
Need for Speed: Nitro for Nintendo DS and Wii developed by EA Montreal will focus less on realism when it comes to the looks, but EA hopes that by making a separate version of Need for Speed on the Nintendo formats they will avoid falling in the trap of poor Wii ports.
The third game Need for Speed: World Online will a free to play online racing experience co-developed by EA Black Box (what remains) and EA Shanghai. Seemingly targeted more for the Asian market it will eventually be released everywhere.