Criterion once pitched 'Need for Speed: Split Second,' worked on Skate or Die remake

In the latest issue of GamesTM, Criterion Games creative director Alex Ward dishes news on a Skate or Die remake that EA offered his studio back in 2002, which was eventually canned by Criterion. This, Ward says, soured relations between the developer and EA for some time, effectively killing Criterion's pitch on a Need for Speed title -- titled "Need for Speed: Split Second," if you can believe it. "We called a meeting with the EA guys, told them we were walking away [from Skate or Die] and they went mad," Ward said. "threatening to sue us, put us out of business ... there was a lot of anger and frustration. Then we got a call from the Need For Speed guys and they said 'we can't work with you guys any more; you just walked away and there's a shame on your company, so we can't talk to you.'"

Though the pitch was killed, Criterion instead got to work on developing its Burnout series and is now developing another reboot for EA: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. It also appears that the direction in which Skate or Die's remake was going -- a more realistic, simulation-style skateboarding game -- eventually became EA's Skate franchise. "I wanted to explore what it was like to just go out for a skate and have that feeling of just doing whatever you want. There was that experience from when I went skating in real life that just wasn't captured in videogames. I wanted to be able to get off the board," says Criterion dev Craig Sullivan. There are said to be many more interesting tidbits in the issue, which hits newsstands on September 5.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.