Electronic Arts' long-running racing franchise is going back to another studio, as this generation's tenets are reforming. Criterion Games will take the wheel of Need for Speed while Ghost Games becomes EA Gothenburg, with 30 roles at risk in the studio transition.
Announced today via GamesIndustryBiz, the reformed Gothenburg studio will become an "engineering support hub" for development across Electronic Arts. The creative team from Ghost Games will transition to other positions, either at Criterion or across Electronic Arts, but 30 roles reportedly 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 told GIBiz.
Ghost Games was the home for Need for Speed this generation, developing 2013's Rivals on through the reboot, Payback, and last year's Need for Speed Heat. Though Mike noted in our review that Heat felt like a good foundation, it seemed like it would take a next-gen Need for Speed to see the series pose a real challenge to the likes of Forza.
Need for Speed Heat's own launch was muddy, due to a strange reveal of the game coinciding with an announcement it wouldn't be at EA Play 2019. As Criterion—the former Burnout studio that developed Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted—takes over, it'll be this studio's turn to see if Need for Speed can once again hang with the fastest in the scene.
EA seems to be pinning its next-gen racing game hopes on it, saying Criterion can provide the "consistent leadership" needed to create and deliver Need for Speed experiences for a long time to come.
"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 says.