This news was initially reported by Polygon, where EA's chief studios officer, Laura Miele, told them that due to the pandemic and the acquisition of Codemasters, the decision to move Criterion over to working with EA DICE was a rational call.
"[Battlefield] is shaping up great, the team has been working incredibly hard, they pushed hard last year, and yes, we have been working from home," Miele said. "And it's hard; it's hard to make games from home, and the [EA DICE] team is fatigued a bit."
Miele goes on to state that they "have a great game and some incredible potential with this game. We're playing to win; we're playing to put a great Battlefield game out in the market."
The decision to stop production on the new, yet-to-be-titled, Need For Speed game will likely push back the game's planned release in the 2022 fiscal year. However, the developer reassignment to Battlefield should pick up development pace and release in the planned timeframe.
Fans of the Need For Speed franchise might get a little worried about this news, especially with other game studios axing or slowing development on current projects. One being BioWare nixing the development of the Anthem Remake. But, Miele wanted to assure fans that Criterion will return to working on the Need For Speed franchise in the near future. The shift in development support is to help EA DICE out.
"There's no way we would have made a decision like this without including [Criterion] and discussing this with them first, and the impact that they could have on [Battlefield]. They've worked on [Star Wars] Battlefront, they've worked on Battlefields, and they have a really tight, close collaborative partnership with DICE. I'm really confident that this is going to be a pretty positive win for them." - Laura Miele, Chief Studios Officer, Electronic Arts.
Criterion Games is the studio behind the Burnout series and has handled some of the Need For Speed series's current remasters. Criterion Games recently took the Need For Speed franchise's reigns after the previous studio, Ghost Games, had some rather lackluster releases for the franchise.