Need for Speed: Most Wanted developer Criterion will take responsibility for the Need for Speed franchise even after their upcoming entry in the franchise is complete, revealed studio VP Alex Ward.

"Our stamp's going to be in everything you see in Need for Speed and Burnout going forward in the future," Ward told Game Informer. "It's not going to be spread anymore across different companies. Different studios have had a crack at it - it's definitely a Criterion gig now."

Until this point, EA has cycled through a handful of studios who have created very different variations on the franchise. Before Most Wanted, Criterion worked on Hot Pursuit, which was released in 2009. 

Ward did not confirm whether Criterion would be creating every NfS game, over simply providing oversight to other studios. His statements indicate that Criterion's role may simply be to ensure that the series retain a uniform aesthetic and/or mechanical style while being developed by many studios.

"Going forward now, with Most Wanted and what we'll do in the future [will have], shall we say, a strong Criterion involvement."

Looking forward, Ward refused to discuss what the studio planned to do with the franchise after Most Wanted, but expressed interest in unifying the various game's many sub-franchises - Underground, Hot Pursuit, Most Wanted, etc - in a single game. 

"I think it would be amazing in the future if there was one big game that had all of these in it. That would be amazing."

Between this and the newly-greenlit Need for Speed movie, EA clearly has big plans for the racing franchise.

[Via Game Informer]