EA has announced that lead development of the Need for Speed
games is moving back to UK studio Criterion.
EA told GI.biz the reason for this is because it’s struggled to find the right talent for the series in Gothenburg, where current Need for Speed developer Ghost Games is situated. Criterion is based in Guildford, one of the UK’s hot spots for game developers, so EA is hoping to have more luck there.
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“With a strong history and passion for racing games and vision for what we can create, the Criterion team is going to take Need for Speed into the next-generation,” EA said.
Criterion is known for the Burnout games and for making 2010’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and 2012’s Need for Speed: Most Wanted. However, Criterion was downsized in 2013, and the development of Need for Speed games was moved to Swedish studio Ghost Games.
Now the reverse is happening. After making the past four Need for Speed games on console, Ghost Games will see its engineering team dispersed to support other EA projects and especially help out on matters regarding the Frostbite Engine. Some of the studio’s creative team will move to the UK to continue their work at Criterion.
However, EA says there are about 30 roles at Ghost Games that are at risk. “Outside of the engineers and those that we plan to transfer to other positions, there would be 30 additional staff in Gothenburg, and we would hope to place as many of them as possible into other roles in the company,” EA said.
Ghost Games made Need for Speed: Rivals, No Limits, the 2015 reboot, and most recently Need for Speed Heat, which got an 8 in our review. Meanwhile, Criterion has been providing support on EA games including Star Wars: Battlefront II and Battlefield V.
Chris Priestman is a freelancer who writes news for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.