It was recently revealed that celebrated Burnout and Need For Speed racing game developer, Criterion, has been reduced to less than twenty staff members following its work on Need For Speed: Rivals.
While Ghost Games in Gothenburg, Sweden is the primary developer on Rivals, and has now officially taken the reigns of the Need For Speed franchise, Criterion provided assistance as a majority of the company helped Ghost with development. Roughly 60 Criterion staff members will now form Ghost Games UK, while Criterion itself has been reduced to just 15 people.
Not All Doom and Gloom
Criterion creative director Alexander Ward remains at the studio, which he says will be based in a new location. Ward explained in a series of tweets following rumours regarding the current state of Criterion, writing:
“Most of the Studio was committed to helping on Rivals. A small group of chose not to and began work on something new. It was reported in [January]. We would rather work a small team all focused on gameplay rather than a huge team split by discipline. We didn’t want to take on 50 people when they are not needed.
“Too many folks too soon dilutes solving gameplay problems. Hence Ghost UK was formed from a load of Criterion folks. But 15 of us retain the Criterion identity and work in a new location. We’re fortunate to be part of a big organisation that curates and invests in new intellectual properties. It really isn’t the evil empire.”
Responding to tweets from concerned fans ringing the death knell for Criterion, Ward wrote simply: “We’re in fine form actually.”
The Fruits of Their Labour
We had a chance to check out Need For Speed: Rivals at gamescom a few weeks ago, so if you’re curious about how it’s shaping up you can read our hands-on preview over here, and don’t miss our in-depth interview with Marcus Nilsson of Ghost Games about his vision for the future of Need For Speed.
Which have been your favourite Criterion games of the past, and what sorts of titles would you like to see from the studio in the future?