EA will move Need for Speed development back to Criterion, Ghost Games to rebrand as EA Gothenburg

dex3108

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,367

EA will return the Need for Speed franchise to UK games studio Criterion.

Current franchise leader Ghost Games in Gothenburg is set to become EA Gothenburg once again (pending Swedish Union approval). The studio will refocus itself as an engineering hub supporting development across EA's portfolio. EA told GamesIndustry.biz that: "The engineering expertise in our Gothenburg team, some of whom are architects of the Frostbite engine, is vital to a number of our ongoing projects, and they would remain in that location."

As for the Ghost Games creative team, EA is looking to transfer many of the staff to positions at Criterion and other places within the wider organisation. However, 30 roles remain 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 tells us.
 

SilentRob

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,943
This really doesn't mean anything at this point.

The Criterion you think of doesn't exist anymore. In fact, most of Criterion's staff moved over to Ghost Games back in 2013:

Criterion staff reduced to 17 with most the team moving to Ghost Games

Criterion stayed in existence as a small supporting studio for games like Battlefield & Battlefront. Now developers of Ghost Games are moving back to the Criterion umbrella. This seems to be about branding more than anything else to me.

EDIT:

To clarify, Criterion has crown to a large team again in the last few years. I didn't want to focus on the number of the employees but on the fact that Ghost Games was founded out of Criterion in the first place. From everything we know Criterion seems to be a great place to work with and it's very possible their future games are going to be amazing. It's just not really the "Burnout Criterion" you think of when hearing the name.
 
Last edited:

Vini256

Member
Oct 20, 2018
610
Brazil
Sounds like good news to me, at least for now.

Most Wanted 2012 was Criterion, right? How was that one compared to the Ghost Games ones?
 

KoolAid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,694
This really doesn't mean anything at this point.

Criterion doesn't exist anymore. In fact, most of Criterion's staff moved over to Ghost Games back in 2013:

Criterion staff reduced to 17 with most the team moving to Ghost Games

Criterion stayed in existence as a small supporting studio for games like Battlefield & Battlefront. Now developers of Ghost Games are moving back to the Criterion umbrella. This seems to be about branding more than anything else to me.
Yeah, seems so. This is just a brand name change, pretty much.
 

LewieP

Member
Oct 26, 2017
10,349
You'd think EA management shuffling franchises around like this would eventually lead to some kind of burnout.
 

UnluckyKate

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,371
Sounds like good news to me, at least for now.

Most Wanted 2012 was Criterion, right? How was that one compared to the Ghost Games ones?
MW 2012 was the last true Criterion game.

After that its been the same name but nothing like the past.

Most staff went to ghost game and then to Dangerous Driving games.
 

Kalor

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,756
Need for Speed does need some kind of change but who's even left at Criterion anymore. Feels like they're moving the game based on a past legacy that isn't there anymore.
 

Stygr

Member
Oct 26, 2017
8,581
This really doesn't mean anything at this point.

The Criterion you think of doesn't exist anymore. In fact, most of Criterion's staff moved over to Ghost Games back in 2013:

Criterion staff reduced to 17 with most the team moving to Ghost Games

Criterion stayed in existence as a small supporting studio for games like Battlefield & Battlefront. Now developers of Ghost Games are moving back to the Criterion umbrella. This seems to be about branding more than anything else to me.
> Posting an article from 2013

Like, what the actual fuck? Criterion had over 90 employees as of 2017 and they are working on a new IP.
We just had EA saying that a new game from Criterion will be released in the next years.

 
Last edited:

Linus815

Member
Oct 29, 2017
6,147
This really doesn't mean anything at this point.

The Criterion you think of doesn't exist anymore. In fact, most of Criterion's staff moved over to Ghost Games back in 2013:

Criterion staff reduced to 17 with most the team moving to Ghost Games

Criterion stayed in existence as a small supporting studio for games like Battlefield & Battlefront. Now developers of Ghost Games are moving back to the Criterion umbrella. This seems to be about branding more than anything else to me.
this is very outdated info, criterion has a larger staff now.
this isnt just rebranding, ghost has not had a good track record with NFS.
 

Rodelero

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,394
... This slow meander back to building Burnout again is extremely tedious.

If they want to put NFS back on the map they should just take as many leaves out of Forza Horizon's book as possible (ironic given that Forza Horizon still hasn't realised the potential of a shared open world as well as Burnout Paradise did).
 

Navid

Member
Oct 26, 2017
844
The Criterion you think of doesn't exist anymore. In fact, most of Criterion's staff moved over to Ghost Games back in 2013:

Criterion staff reduced to 17 with most the team moving to Ghost Games
This is exactly what I was thinking while reading this, Criterion is Criterion in name mostly at this point... so this move is kinda weird. But NFS definitely needs some sort of change up from it's current stale formula, guess we will see if this works or not with time.
 

Stygr

Member
Oct 26, 2017
8,581
So Ghost Games is practically dead and the tech guys who support Frostbite are the only ones staying.
No, Ghost Games is going to be renamed and the tech team will stay in the same studio which will be named EA Gothenburg.
The creative team will move to Criterion and 30 other people will either be let go or moved to other EA studios.

This is exactly what I was thinking while reading this, Criterion is Criterion in name mostly at this point... so this move is kinda weird. But NFS definitely needs some sort of change up from it's current stale formula, guess we will see if this works or not with time.
There's a reason why they moved the series to the UK, there's actually a vast amount of talent specialized in racing games (Codemasters, Sumo Digital, Playground Games etc..) in the country compared to Sweden:

However, EA says it has struggled to attract the right talent to Gothenburg to work on the series. By contrast, Criterion is based in Guildford, which is one of the UK's biggest game development hubs.
 

ILikeFeet

Member
Oct 25, 2017
28,647
Meh, with most of the talent having left, Criterion was about as likely to make a good NFS as Ghost.
 

Bgamer90

Member
Oct 27, 2017
686
NFS Heat is a pretty solid game. Interested in seeing how this plays out.

I kind of get the feeling that EA is now treating NFS as a B-tier series which is a bit disappointing considering how high quality the series once was for its time.
 

Linus815

Member
Oct 29, 2017
6,147
NFS Heat is a pretty solid game. Interested in seeing how this plays out.

I kind of get the feeling that EA is now treating NFS as a B-series which is a bit disappointing considering how high quality the series once was for its time.
Leaving it with Ghost would have meant that they're treating it as B series. The fact that they're doing this tells me that they want the series to aim higher than high 60's metacritic.
 

JamFlan

Member
May 16, 2018
1,096
This really doesn't mean anything at this point.

The Criterion you think of doesn't exist anymore. In fact, most of Criterion's staff moved over to Ghost Games back in 2013:

Criterion staff reduced to 17 with most the team moving to Ghost Games

Criterion stayed in existence as a small supporting studio for games like Battlefield & Battlefront. Now developers of Ghost Games are moving back to the Criterion umbrella. This seems to be about branding more than anything else to me.
Yuuuuup. Horrible mismanagement from EA. They had a studio that was doing good work on the IP. Then they let them start work on their own IP, before cancelling that and draining most of the staff. Now they're trying to go back to where they started and it's nothing more than a symbolic gesture because the studio as it was no longer exists.
 

Luckett_X

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,219
Leeds, UK
You picked the wrong child, EA. NFS was always gonna turn out a deadbeat, but Burnout was gonna continue being the worlds finest orchestra conductor but you DROWNED HIM IN THE RIVER.
 

TheRaidenPT

Member
Jun 11, 2018
4,225
Lisbon, Portugal
This really doesn't mean anything at this point.

The Criterion you think of doesn't exist anymore. In fact, most of Criterion's staff moved over to Ghost Games back in 2013:

Criterion staff reduced to 17 with most the team moving to Ghost Games

Criterion stayed in existence as a small supporting studio for games like Battlefield & Battlefront. Now developers of Ghost Games are moving back to the Criterion umbrella. This seems to be about branding more than anything else to me.
Yeah seems like small changes
 

SilentRob

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,943
> Posting an article from 2013

Like, what the actual fuck? Criterion had over 90 employees as of 2017 and they are working on a new IP.
We just had EA saying that a new game from Criterion will be released in the next years.
I didn't post the article to focus on the number of employees but to show that Ghost Games was created out of Criterion in the first place.

The Criterion that exists now has regrown and that is great to hear. I just wanted to make people aware of the fact that this is not Need for Speed "coming back" to their original studio, not really. That doesn't mean it's not going to be great, hopefully!

From everything we know Criterion is an amazing place to work at. I just hope everyone in GOthenburg lands on their feet.
 

funky

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,214
What if people just dont want more need for speed anymore?


Its been 15 years since it peaked. The market has moved on.


Considering how quick EA kills other brands it's weird they have been so committed to keeping need for speed around.
 

Kyrios

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,022
This really doesn't mean anything at this point.

The Criterion you think of doesn't exist anymore. In fact, most of Criterion's staff moved over to Ghost Games back in 2013:

Criterion staff reduced to 17 with most the team moving to Ghost Games

Criterion stayed in existence as a small supporting studio for games like Battlefield & Battlefront. Now developers of Ghost Games are moving back to the Criterion umbrella. This seems to be about branding more than anything else to me.
Well that's depressing...
 

funky

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,214
What if people just dont want more need for speed anymore?


Its been 15 years since it peaked. The market has moved on.


Considering how quick EA kills other brands it's weird they have been so committed to keeping need for speed around.
 

Stygr

Member
Oct 26, 2017
8,581
I didn't post the article to focus on the number of employees but to show that Ghost Games was created out of Criterion in the first place.

The Criterion that exists now has regrown and that is great to hear. I just wanted to make people aware of the fact that this is not Need for Speed "coming back" to their original studio, not really. That doesn't mean it's not going to be great, hopefully!
I mean, NFS original studio was Black Box and it was killed years ago, Criterion is Burnout studio, they picked NFS years later.
 

funky

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,214
What if people just dont want more need for speed anymore?


Its been 15 years since it peaked. The market has moved on.


Considering how quick EA kills other brands it's weird they have been so committed to keeping need for speed around.
 

Yogi

Member
Nov 10, 2019
1,215
Excellent news.

I want more NFS. I just don't want so much focus on a narrative in an arcade racer. Minimal story, and make it funny or satire. Not serious, lame, racerboy bullshit for pre-teens.

This really doesn't mean anything at this point.

The Criterion you think of doesn't exist anymore. In fact, most of Criterion's staff moved over to Ghost Games back in 2013:

Criterion staff reduced to 17 with most the team moving to Ghost Games

Criterion stayed in existence as a small supporting studio for games like Battlefield & Battlefront. Now developers of Ghost Games are moving back to the Criterion umbrella. This seems to be about branding more than anything else to me.

EDIT:

To clarify, Criterion has crown to a large team again in the last few years. I didn't want to focus on the number of the employees but on the fact that Ghost Games was founded out of Criterion in the first place.
Oh.
 

Stygr

Member
Oct 26, 2017
8,581
What if people just dont want more need for speed anymore?
All NFS titles kept charting for years despite middling reviews and a drop in quality.
NFS Heat even outsold DS in Germany for example and took good places in both NPD and PSN EU charts.

There is no competition in arcade racing and NFS is the only option; no wonder EA keeps making them.
 

Linus815

Member
Oct 29, 2017
6,147
What if people just dont want more need for speed anymore?


Its been 15 years since it peaked. The market has moved on.


Considering how quick EA kills other brands it's weird they have been so committed to keeping need for speed around.
they sell very well though, despite their quality
now imagine if they were actualyl good quality again
 

Stygr

Member
Oct 26, 2017
8,581
I’d love to see a new Burnout or a new IP from Criterion
They are working on a new IP

They had 90-ish devs back in 2017 and they kept growing to support DICE titles and working on their own projects.
 

Technesis

Member
Apr 13, 2019
278
Don't know how I feel about this. I did not enjoy any of their NFS games because they felt like Burnout clones.
 
Last edited:

Nintendo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
10,002
What if people just dont want more need for speed anymore?


Its been 15 years since it peaked. The market has moved on.


Considering how quick EA kills other brands it's weird they have been so committed to keeping need for speed around.
They must be cheap to make and they sell well. Or maybe it has something to do with car licensing or did they end the brand exclusivity?
 

jelly

Member
Oct 26, 2017
12,569
If EA didn't have ultimate team they would be truly screwed by now. Probably the only reason that guy is still in charge. Such a lost vapid company.