EA CEO John Riccitiello told attendees of a recent Bank of America conference (via CVG
) that Need for Speed
developer Black Box Studios was "on a death march, building for five years in a row," citing a decline in sales between 2004 and 2007 as the end result. "[They were] annual iterations, they had to put it out; no rest for the weary," Riccitiello said.
He then explained that "It was definitely our fault," adding, "Those days are gone. We're back in two studios and we've got them on bi-annual cycles." In his opinion, the forthcoming Hot Pursuit reboot
is the fruit of that changed-up development cycle. "This year is right back in the core action driving ... it's had a two-year dev cycle ... I feel great about it," he posited. Oddly, no mention was made of the now annual Black Box franchise Skate
, but we're hoping for an announcement of Skate: Hot Pursuit
by year's end.