What’s going on at Criterion? The successful studio, known in particular for its flagship license Burnout and its surprising FPS Black on PS2, is today facing a major leak of its greatest talents, which could destabilize the development of the next Need for Speed and jeopardize the faint hope of seeing Burnout again on our machines. But EA has already found a solution, in part anyway, and is announcing big changes in its teams.
Important departures at EA and Criterion
While Criterion is now in charge of Need for Speedand that some developers hoped to be able to bring Burnout back to life, now no less than five studio veterans are leaving the ship to sail towards new horizons far from EA.
We learn today that Matt Webster, Vice President Criterion is leaving the studio after 23 years of service and 32 years of marriage with EA. In addition to this historical figure, four other talented developers are packing their bags. Pete Lake, executive producer who was with Criterion for 26 years and Andrei Shires, technical director who leaves behind his 16-year career. Alan McDairmant, development manager for 17 years at Criterion and EA, and finally, Steve Uphill content manager for more than 10 years.
The five men say they simply decided to try new things elsewhere, away from EA. No animosity at first sight therefore, but things could get complicated for Need for Speedwho had nevertheless made a successful comeback with Unbound. To overcome this, EA has already found some replacements.
EA sends reinforcements for Need for Speed
The publisher announces that it has transferred Charity Joy, ex-producer for UFC from EA Sports, as the new executive producer of the license. Need for Speed. To support her, she can count on the help of Geoff Smith who is leaving Codemaster and the management of Dirt and Grid licenses to take care of future Criterion racing games.
Following the news, David Rutter, director of EA’s racing games section, issued a press release with the aim of reassuring and motivating the troops for the future, as reported by GamesIndustry.
It’s been a year since the talented teams at Codemasters and Criterion officially came together as one unified force, to drive the future of racing entertainment. It’s an incredibly exciting time for us following the recent launch of Need for Speed Unbound, the successful release of EA SPORTS F1 22 earlier this year, as well as significant progress in the development of WRC.
Looking to the future, we know we have the opportunity to evolve our games and experiences, and deliver them to an even wider audience of fans, not least through our long-term strategy focused on our strengths. in licensed motorsports games, as well as arcade-oriented and open-world racing games.
Building on the progress made in 2022, with two launches, and new projects to come next year, we are confident that we have the best people, working on the best games, and that we will achieve great things in 2023. .
EA wants to be reassuring, but losing such talent is never smooth. Whether Matt Webster, Andrei Shires, Steve Uphill, Pete Lake or Alan McDairmant, all have left their mark on Criterion and EA, especially on licensing Need for Speed and Burnout.
If the first continues to release episodes to us frequently, the second however has not released new games since 2008 with Burnout Paradise. And although the latter had the right to a remaster on PS4, PC and Xbox One in 2018, we have therefore not had a new Burnout for almost 14 years. Fans have the fangs and hope to see her again one day on the front of the stage, but with these new beginnings, and the will of EA to capitalize as much as possible on Need for Speed, Nothing is less sure. Let’s at least hope that this license is not too impacted by recent staff movements.