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Slightly Mad CEO all but confirms six-year Fast & Furious deal

Ian Bell lets slips UK racing studio's plans after this week's Project Cars 2 launch

The head of Slightly Mad Studios seems to have let slip a major licensing partnership with the hugely popular Fast & Furious films.

In a livestream with Australian Youtuber SpotTheOzzie, CEO Ian Bell discussed Project Cars 2 while playing the game, but also began dropping not-even-vaguely-subtle hints about another project his team is working on, Eurogamer reports.

"Guess what the latest Need for Speed game is doing, and have a think about which Hollywood film they're copying," the CEO said. "And then I can tell you we have a six-year deal with that major Hollywood company that'll beat what Need for Speed is doing. For the next six years."

Given typical development cycles for games on this scale, a Fast & Furious title is likely to take two years to make. Project Cars 2, for example, has taken two years following the launch of the original in 2015, so a six-year deal is likely to translate to two, maybe three titles.

Conveniently, the Fast & Furious has also been operating on a two-year turnaround since 2009. It's most likely the Slightly Mad games would be launched alongside the next two films, which are currently slated for release in April 2019 and 2021. This would make Project Cars 3 unlikely unless the studio dramatically expands its workforce.

Bell's comments suggest the licensing deal has been done directly with Slightly Mad Studios, which prompts the question as to who will publish these games. Bandai Namco has published both Project Cars titles, but there's no guarantee this partnership would continue with the Fast & Furious titles. If it does, this would also be a significant win for the Japanese publisher.

Much of the discussion around this year's forthcoming Need for Speed Payback has been how much Electronic Arts seems to be channeling the action film franchise - and perhaps with good reason. The past four Fast & Furious films have been among the Top 10 highest grossing films of the year, with the sixth and seventh outings making it into the Top Three.

Slightly Mad Studios' Project Cars 2 launches this week for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. If the firm really is working on Fast & Furious titles next, it will represent quite a big shift for the firm given that the movies focus on action and high-octane chases, while Project Cars prides itself on being a grounded and authentic simulation racing experience.

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