Founders of Burnout studio quit EA [UPDATE]

Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry no longer working at the EA studio they founded in 2000; Ward says EA did not force the pair out.

[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, Alex Ward said on Twitter that his reason for leaving was not the result of pressure from EA.

"Completely wrong. Totally our own decision to leave," he said. "We wanted to own our own company. Simple really."

The original story is below.

Criterion Games founders Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry have left the Burnout and Need for Speed studio, an Electronic Arts representative confirmed with Polygon today.

"Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry have decided to leave EA," a spokesperson said. "We appreciate their many contributions through the years and wish them well in their future endeavors."

Ward and Sperry leaving Criterion Games does not affect work being done on the studio's unannounced PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game, believed to be a new franchise, the EA rep said. Going forward, EA veteran Matt Webster will lead development on this new game. The studio's staff has reportedly been reduced to 16, after many employees shifted to the Ghost Games to work on Need for Speed: Rivals.

The studio's new project is reportedly not a racing game, as Ward said in April that, "After over a decade of making racing games it's time to make something new."

The pair founded Criterion Games in 2000, which would release the hit racing game Burnout in 2001. The studio also worked on 2010's Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and 2012's Need for Speed: Most Wanted.

As for what's next for Ward and Sperry, Ward said on Twitter today that he will start a new game studio with Sperry. No other details are available.

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Discussion

111 comments
EPaul
EPaul

So bye Burnout......... I wanted a next gen Burnout revenge

hadlee73
hadlee73

I'm surprised this doesn't happen more in this industry. Not every developer wants to make the same game year in, year out.

ramikz23
ramikz23

I hope every self respecting company leaves EA . I want to see EA burn . I want them to chock on all the crap they made us pay for . Especially BF4

nayce54
nayce54

Guys AND GALS, if you just wanna chat, party chat, do missions whatever, just add me on PSN: "NateIsGod4"

ace-meza
ace-meza

EA and battlefield can't catch a break..

19James89
19James89

Best of luck to Ward and Sperry and their new studio and their new franchise(s).



Aeondeity
Aeondeity

I wish them the best, I really do.

I hope other companies trapped under major game companies such as EA leave, and that other companies follow suit. 

We need more original and inspired games, games that try new things; so I hope this action has a ripple effect.

amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

Good on them; they have the guts and skill to start a small dev studio without a massive financial safety net.  I hope they win.

M3o5nster
M3o5nster

"We wanted to own our own company. Simple really." - Implies they didn't have creative freedom within the company... Sounds like EA to me.

Daian
Daian

People start company, have success, sell company to big publisher, stay on for a few years, realize they made a poor decision, leave and start new company.

Happens all the time.

deathstream
deathstream

This happens all the time.  People form a studio, have success, cash in and then get tired of answering to a corporation and start over.  It isn't specific to EA or any other company, or even to gaming.  It is just the nature of things.

urstupd
urstupd

Good name actually someone in the bottom wrote, EA graveyard of Dev

urstupd
urstupd

KICKSTART EA IN THE NUTS!

wolverinewe
wolverinewe

RIP Criterion. RIP Burnout Fuck EA. but now im  waiting for their new project on kickstater.

ziproy
ziproy

I'm begging ALL of you to please buy all EA and Activision games used. That way you can cackle with glee as you buy your game knowing that they won't see a single penny in revenue


Yeah that'll hurt the developer too but then they shouldn't have been stupid and sold out their company to bigger ones with a track record of destroying creativity and removing creative talent to be replaced by brain-dead developer drones that are fired upon first sign of independent thought

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

Burnout must return to being a stage-based experience. They've basically made it and NFS variations of the same concept. While Road Rage was fun, I preferred everything else pre-Paradise.

HonorOfGod
HonorOfGod

EA sucks that is why both of you left it. 

pyro1245
pyro1245

I think there is something wrong with my eyes, every time i glance at the title I see "burrito' instead of 'burnout'

rasterror
rasterror

EA, where some of the world's great gaming studios go to die.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I'm willing to believe that there perhaps wasn't any overwhelming pressure placed on them by EA, but I bet they were getting fed up of not being able to call the shots all the time.

I'd be pretty pissed off about having most of my team taken away from me as well.

pszone
pszone

Maybe do burnout in there own way since EA Games where the ones destroy Burnout series.      Good Luck and I hope crush EA Games racing game Need for Speed .    

demondogx
demondogx

Good, if they form their own studio, maybe we can get good raceing games again.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

EA didn’t end last year in a good note, and this is definitely not a good start from them. Really hope they turn things around as I want to play some games like Dragon Age Inquisition.

Gunmaster51
Gunmaster51

All I wanted from Criterion was a true sequel to Burnout Paradise which was one of my favourite games on PS3. But it's too bad EA turned that studio into a NFS factory.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

It won't hurt things at Criterion with them leaving because they've already been shipping shit games anyways....

Burnout Crash

NFS Hot Pursuit

NFS Most Wanted

pretty much 3 of the worst games ever.....

Crash was just shit, HP didn't feel like a NFS game neither did MW, both games were a slap in the face to anyone who liked the original versions.......

All anyone wants from Criterion is another Burnout not fake half Burnout half NFS games......

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

@wolverinewe so you enjoyed Criterion games but say fuck EA, dont make sense to me att all, anyway dont hate EA, enjoyed mass effect series and bunch more published by them

Rammone4
Rammone4

@ziproy How would we buy them as used, if someone doesn't buy them as new first? Ehhh? See what I did there...Pure "Chicken or the egg" theory

ziproy
ziproy

@HonorOfGod Nonono, didn't you see that statement EA forced him to make?? Nothing wrong happening over hear.

simon1812
simon1812

@pyro1245 nothing wrong with ur eyes, u hungry.

ERRMAHGERD
ERRMAHGERD

@pszone dunno if ultimate box was made by them, but fuck me I had a fuckton of fun with that game omg

Moegitto
Moegitto

@Gunmaster51 And now that they left to make their own studio your dreams may come true. Everytime someone leaves one of the big companies they end up developing something that is far greater than they could have done with their former employer.

thorn3000
thorn3000

@MJ12-Conspiracy worst games ever? you sir have obviously never played Big rigs over the road racing,  please do try it and you will learn concept of worst driver game ever

blackace
blackace

@pyro1245@rasterrorThey have all these companies they've acquired with all or the original leads no longer there. lol!! All the key people that made the these developing companies great have left EA and started another company.

DanielL5583
DanielL5583

@Lhomity@MJ12-Conspiracy To be fair, it's pretty crap, and very unlike Burnout, which is weird considering the concept of crashing into other vehicles to rack up a massive insurance choke-out.