Codemasters game design manager Ralph Fulton has said the team behind last year's excellent Race Driver: GRID is "flattered" by EA's upcoming racer Need for Speed: Shift.

GRID, a cross between arcade and simulation racing, won rave reviews upon its release last May, including a 9/10 from Tom, and a host of awards.

Following the disappointing sales of last year's Need for Speed: Undercover, EA decided to split the Need for Speed franchise into three games. Shift, developed by Slightly Mad Studios, is more of a simulation racer than previous iterations of the hugely popular franchise, World Online is a free-to-play MMORG for PC, and Nitro is an arcade racer for Wii and DS.

When asked for his opinion on EA's decision, Fulton told "I can't really comment too much on what other companies do, but from our point of view, we really believe that a brand survives and prospers through having focus, so customers understand what they're getting from a game.

"That's important in building a brand and sustaining it. You can infer from that what I think, probably."

Fulton, who is currently game design manager on upcoming off-road rally game Colin McRae: Dirt 2, added: "One thing I would say about Shift as part of the GRID team is, we're obviously quite flattered."

Both GRID and Need for Speed: Shift are tarmac racers that mix simulation with arcade elements. To see how Shift's shaping up, head over to our hands-on preview. It looks great, so much so that it made it into our Top 10 Games to save 2009 feature from last week. It's out September 18 for Xbox 360, PS3, PC and PSP.

What's your take on Ralph Fulton's words? Let us know in the comments section below.