Electronic Arts is set to strip Ghost Games of its Need for Speed development duty. In its place, EA will hand responsibility for the racing franchise back to Criterion Games, as stated in an interview with gamesindustry.biz.
Criterion Games is best known for its work on the Burnout series but it’s made contributions to Need for Speed, too. Both 2010’s Hot Pursuit and 2012’s Most Wanted remake were handled by Criterion Games. Although the latter was rushed to meet deadlines and didn’t turn out all that well. Criterion itself recently even apologized on Twitter for not representing the original Most Wanted well enough. Regardless, EA seems confident.
“With a strong history and passion for racing games and vision for what we can create, the Criterion team is going to take Need for Speed into the next-generation,” EA said in the aforementioned interview.
Ghost Games dethroned
Ghost Games has not been stripped because EA is unhappy with the state of the series. Instead, Ghost Games’ location in Gothenburg, Sweden has made it difficult to attract talent, according to EA. In contrast, Criterion Games is based in Guildford, a UK powerhouse for game development. Both LittleBigPlanet developer Supermassive Games and No Man’s Sky developer Hello Games are based in Guildford.
EA is looking to place as many Ghost Games employees in “other roles” as possible in the near future. Some of them will likely end up at Criterion to continue working on Need for Speed. However, it’s possible not everyone involved will be relocated.
As for those sticking around in Gothenburg, Ghost Games isn’t shutting down but rather will be adapted into a support team for EA’s various projects. This role may be comparable to how DICE Los Angeles functioned before Vince Zampella became studio lead.
Many fans will be excited about this news given Criterion’s legendary history with arcade racing games. Although Ghost Games wasn’t doing a bad job by any means, it’s nice to see Criterion getting back into action. Before Burnout Paradise Remastered, Criterion hadn’t developed its own game in six years. Let’s hope this move can help get Criterion back up and running.