Criterion staff reduced to 16 people

Creative director at Burnout series studio says most staff shifted to work on Need for Speed: Rivals at new label Ghost Games UK.

by

Burnout series developer Criterion Games has been reduced to a headcount of 16 people, creative director Alex Ward revealed on Twitter today. Most of the studio's former 60-65 staff have formed a new label called Ghost Games UK within Criterion to work on Need for Speed: Rivals, Ward said. Ghost Games proper in Gothenburg, Sweden is leading development on that game.

Through a number of tweets today (via Videogamer), Ward said Criterion Games is now a "small team." Criterion Games, based in Guildford, UK, have no announced projects, and shipped Need for Speed: Most Wanted last year.

Asked on Twitter if Criterion Games now feels vulnerable, Ward said, "Not at all. We are backed by a huge and successful wider company, Electronic Arts."

In April, Ward revealed that Criterion Games would be moving away from racing games, saying "after over a decade of making racing games, it's time to make something new."

Discussion

137 comments
quiksilvers123
quiksilvers123

I liked the old Burnouts, but PAradise City .. I was not a huge fan. I prefer the old "go around the track and smashe cars" or the on where you have to get a high score.

BUT I am getting the new Need for Speed so I like both. Sad to see their crew lowered like that, but that's business. If you don't like it, go grow corn or wash cars.

plm3d_basic
plm3d_basic

The 16 people will be in charge of developing games exclusively for android and Ouya.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

I'm wondering what those 16 are going to do actually......

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

yeah criterion wont make another NFS, but apparently its stuff will.


working hard on NFS michael bay edition ultra social 32, arent we

Atrax2k8
Atrax2k8

What's the hold up with Shift 3?

mathg04
mathg04

Ah man, when I read the title I realy had hope that the people at criterion games would be drawed back of the development for another Need For Speed, but instead they got concentrated to do so. I hate you EA...

KeenoControl
KeenoControl

Time for Black 2, but you'll definitely need more staff

lmlf
lmlf

UGHH!!! "Good job" EA another great company turn into dust... dark days in this industry. 

SpinDie25
SpinDie25

16 people? at least they can play a mean game of musical chairs

Pupchu
Pupchu

sounds like they're about to merge whatsever left of criterion into another EA studio... :\

Ceaseless001
Ceaseless001

If they are going to do this, I would like a Burnout 3 Takedown/Burnout Revenge merged into one game with all of the known tracks and allow for custom soundtracks for an HD remake and for it to be on ALL systems that it can fit on. Takedown/Revenge was the series highest point. If you are gonna kill Burnout, at least give the fans that.

Aside: I prefer Burnout to NFS, but I love arcade racing in general. If there are some arcade racers games that don't deserve to die, it would be Burnout, Split/Second (Blackrock Studio), and Pure (Blackrock Studio).


To NFS: Some people will hate this, but give the fans what they want - Underground 3 - and let us drive cars outside of the typical ones. Let us drive some of the street cars and customize the exteriors. Although I know they want it separate, add cops to NFSU3 and bring back the neon lights everywhere. 

Soleride
Soleride

damn it and i was hoping for another Burnout game...

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

don't worry nfs fans, there's always gunna be some mug out there willing to make another. arcade racers are one of those types of games you buy at a consoles launch cuz there's fuck all else, I don't see the point in making big budget games on this formula.

Justforvisit
Justforvisit

Criterion is allowed to do even more Burnoutization with Need For Speed? o___O

Well then, R.I.P. Need For Speed, was nice playing you whilst you where your own brand and not a copy of another ._.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator moderator

....Black 2? 

Iemander
Iemander

Imo the Need for Speed games by Criterion are crap. What did they do to my beloved Most Wanted!!! They should rename the franchise from 'Need for Speed' to 'Need for Crash'. The stupid 'cinematic' bullcrap the game has you go through each time a crash happens is rediculous. And you can't even frikkin disable it.

helldragonzer
helldragonzer

First of all if you decide that it's time to do something other than the type of games that made your company, and roughly 90% of the staff moves to another division, that will keep making the same games again then you need to realize that maybe your decision was either wrong or wrongfully executed. Look there isn't anything wrong with a studio head deciding to change gears a bit, but to change the entire outline of the studio is something else, specially since he decides to makes the changes without even having a single game to develop. Well hopefully he and the other 16 team members can come up with a good game eventually and the team that left keep making good racing games (or better than NFSMW), though I don't see why he kept the Criterion name since his division is the one changing genre.

cboye18
cboye18

Ward said, "Not at all. We are backed by a huge and successful wider company, Electronic Arts."

TheRockSez611
TheRockSez611

Lmao @ Alex Ward thinking that this is a good sign of things to come. EA closes down developers like it's about to go out of style. Didn't these guys see what happened to Pandemic and so many others..? Cutting you down to a mere 16 people was just the beginning.

Acquire
Acquire

This is pretty sad news.  The end of the great burnout series.

teh_pwnager
teh_pwnager

EA is killing this studio slowly as it killed the others...so sad...

19James89
19James89

It looks like Criterion is only a matter of years from being dumped into the dustbin of history.

 

snarple_basic
snarple_basic

I would have rather the Ghost team stay Criterion and have a 2nd group in Criterion making something different.  Why change the name and history of the company that drastically, its bad enough there owned by EA now.  And hell can we bring back Burnout and leave Need for Speed in the past!

Stiler
Stiler

Sigh, I see how this is going. 


They are going to end up like Origin, Westwood, Bullfrog, etc. 


This is what EA does , and it  baffles me. They buy a good studio that has a great IP (IE Burnout in this case) and instead of allowing them to just continue making games and doing good , what people want, they instead fold the developer sinto EA and put them on other crap and the IP slowly dies and then eventually EA dissolves the studio and we lose yet another great team of developers that had a great track record of making THEIR games but not EA's.

Case in point, Burnout was a great game that many people loved because of it's excellent sense of speed and the brutal crash model that made crashing a lot of fun to just watch (which many people liked). 

Then they put them on NFS and what was that game like? Real cars that the makers wouldn't allow to be crashed completely, it felt like a very very watered down Burnout mixed with NFS, it was neither a GOOD NFS game nor a good Burnout game. 

I want a new burnout, not a new bastard stepchild between the two that does neither series justice.

bmart970
bmart970

I wanna see another Burnout, that's all I have to say on this topic.


PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I can't see Criterion getting shut down any time soon. They're took big a name, even if they're not the most relevant these days. The sixteen are probably working concept and design on their next project while the majority of the team focus on their side-project.

Whatever happens, I hope they come back with a bang.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Hate to say it but NFS Rivals looks like any other NFS game and then added some. Much like the most previous NFS game  *NFS Most Wanted – Rivals has the same open world settings that has challenges & collectibles.  And of course NFS Rivals emphasis cops vs racers again much like the previous NFS games, but hey Rivals lets players play as either racers and/or cops and again moving up ranks to unlock dull customization and special abilities.   

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

It doesn't take that many people to ctrl+c, ctrl+v the same damn Burnout clone they've been making for the last decade.

SunnyLollipop
SunnyLollipop

Hey I am excited that Criterion are doing a non-racing game, though their previous games do border on perfection. I hope it's not another shooter though! Maybe an RPG, or a whole new genre!

Delochos
Delochos

Need For Speed Rivales 

alcatraz223
alcatraz223

glad to hear this, criterion is one of the most shittiest game companies, their hot pursuit sucked major ass, i have no words to describe how bad their "most wanted" was and burnout was just another shitty game

Zatto-1
Zatto-1

Well, that's what happens when you crash. Oops.

MagmaHawk
MagmaHawk

Well for me. I am waiting for another Mind-Blowing Black game from Criterion. Screw Call of Duty. Black was more than Epic.

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

Burnout Paradise was a bit of a let down(no more Crash) but it still beat the NFS games EA had Criterion make. I don't get why EA decided to have these guys start spitting out NFS titles, they were like Burnout but with a NFS skin... Those two series should have never intertwined but of course EA doesn't give a shit if they managed to destroy two of the stronger racing franchises in 1 generation...

I imagine EA has plans to gut them completely if their next game isn't a hit.


ZachBobBob
ZachBobBob

ANOTHER BURNOUT PLEASE.


Seriously...plz

chechak7
chechak7

@Ceaseless001 man u speak my mind ...all the thinks must said ...absolutely the right things...Underground 3...and merged stuff ...you are COOL

gf61
gf61

@Acquire This was there goal all along. Shut down Burnout, kill Renderware and turn them into a support studio. 

Instead of competing with their racer, upping their quality cause 3rd party devs making good games (like GTA) with Renderware engine.

No buy em shut em down, RIP Bunout Series.

luucifer78b
luucifer78b

@Stiler 

EA & Activision are  the real cancer of the video game industry.

studios keep selling there souls to the Devil  this will continue to happen

remember Infinity-ward, now look at blizzard. Yep, I can see the writing on the wall.

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

@SIDEFX1 In other words it's identical to every other NFS game in the last 10 years.

gf61
gf61

@ArabrockermanX Paradise follows EA's drive around aimlessly model to fill the gaps. So they had to cap speed and change track design to fit EA's model.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

@ArabrockermanX I think the reason Burnout has been put on the back-burner in recent years is probably because of vehicle licensing. EA will have paid to use those vehicle licenses over x amount of years, and the deal is probably only for them to be used under the Need For Speed name. The franchise was in need for a tune-up, so why not assign your premier racing studio? Also, while we may not be bothered, I imagine your average Joe prefers the appeal of having real cars to play with. As to why there hasn't been another Burnout since Paradise, I just don't think EA will see it being financially viable to produce two racers even if they are drastically different, especially when Paradise could be sustained for so long with dlc.

Anyway, that's all entirely my opinion. Nothing to back it up with. Feel free to tell me I'm wrong.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

@ArabrockermanX Burnout franchise is a Need for Speed killer but rare releases. Not good for EA in many ways, Most NFS games lack customization because they already include the fastest license cars in the world which to me limits the NFS series.

ThePowerOfHAT
ThePowerOfHAT

@ArabrockermanX I agree pretty much.  I actually loved Paradise personally, as the open world and sheer craziness of it all gave it a unique feel amongst racing games, even if it diverged a bit from the ideas of the previous Burnout titles.  Agreed that their NFS games since then have been somewhat disappointing, though.