Electronic Arts’ long-running Need for Speed series may have skipped 2016, but it has been confirmed that the popular racing franchise isn’t ready to pump the brakes just yet. A trademark application may well have revealed the title of its next installment, which is expected to arrive next year.
On November 7, EA submitted documentation to the European Union Intellectual Property Office. The company was applying for a trademark on the name Need for Speed Arena, according to a report from Gamespot.
In May 2016, EA confirmed that no new Need for Speed game would be released this year. Series developer Ghost Games indicated that a new title would be on its way in 2017, and that may well turn out to be Need for Speed Arena.
However, there are other possibilities for the future of the series. Arena could be a mobile game, like 2015’s Need for Speed: No Limits, the franchise’s first release for smartphones and tablets that wasn’t based on a console installment.
There’s also the possibility that Arena could be another free-to-play release for the PC, a business strategy that the franchise has dabbled with in the past. However, that niche would seem to be filled by Need for Speed: Edge, which is in the midst of development at EA Spearhead.
All signs point toward Arena being a fully fledged multiplatform release, likely scheduled for the series’ traditional fall release date next year. It will be interesting to see whether the game is billed as a direct sequel to 2015’s franchise reboot, which received a muted critical response.
The Need for Speed franchise seemed like a major priority for EA not so long ago, with a slick reboot and a major Hollywood adaptation. However, since neither of those releases was particularly successful, it seems likely that the success or failure of Arena will inform the future of the series.