Criterion Cuts Back To 17 People, Says It's Not EA's Fault

Criterion Cuts Back To 17 People, Says It's Not EA's Fault

Criterion Games, the studio behind the Burnout and Need For Speed games, is down to just 17 people but insists that EA is not to blame.

Criterion Games Creative Director Alex Ward revealed over the weekend that the studio had pared its staff back - like, way back. "Criterion is just 17 people these days," he tweeted on Friday. The balance of the team has moved to Ghost Games, the studio currently working on Need for Speed: Rivals, he explained, although he added that Criterion wasn't going anywhere. "We still exist," he wrote in a separate tweet. "We chose not to continue making NFS games."

On the face of it, it looks like the sort of studio-level slash-and-burn for which Electronic Arts has a not-terribly-pleasant reputation, but Criterion Studio Director Fiona Sperry says that's not actually the case at all. "We lent some people (artists and engineers primarily) to Ghost as when you're making something new you don't need a whole team of people - we didn't need them, Ghost did - so it all just made sense," she told PCGamesN. "Wasn't something EA 'asked' us to do."

"My management team at Criterion sorted it out with the management team at Ghost. That's how things work at EA these days," she continued. "Teams work together, coordinate sharing of people as it suits where projects are at."

That actually sounds eminently reasonable, and it's certainly better than wholesale layoffs. But in spite of the dramatic reduction in staff and looming new project, the studio won't be hiring anytime soon; Sperry said Criterion does its best work as a small team and wants to stay that way for as long as possible.

Source: PCGamesN

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I'm starting to the think the day we get a new Burnout game, reminiscent of 3, isn't going to happen any time soon D:

Asking the question "Did EA force you to do it?" is only going to get you one answer as long as they still work for or with EA. And after the effect you're likely to get a diplomatic answer at best, as in the industry you never know if you'll be working with/for someone again.

HOWEVER

The fact of the matter is, when you work for a boss, you come to know what they expect of you. After the first few times you do something that causes your boss to disapprove and/or take action to make you undo it, you stop doing those things. You learn to expect what your boss wants of you.

You start to do stuff the way your boss would, because that's faster than doing it another way and only earning yourself, at best, disapproval, or worse being forced to do it all over again or even being fired.

So at a point the question of "Did EA force you to do it?" stops being relevant. They're part of the corporate culture.

It'd be cool if Criterion did something that isn't a racing game. I'd love to see their takes on some other genres; they could probably make something considerably more unique than most of what's out there.

P.S. Thanks

Covarr:
It'd be cool if Criterion did something that isn't a racing game. I'd love to see their takes on some other genres; they could probably make something considerably more unique than most of what's out there.

P.S. Thanks

They made an FPS called Black didn't they?

when you're making something new you don't need a whole team of people

That sounds exactly wrong, surely if you are developing something new you need lots of people to actually make new things. Otherwise every developer would take the 'easy' route of developing a brand new IP from scratch rather than milking a franchise which has all of those irritating preexisting assets which take so long to use again.

CriticalMiss:

That sounds exactly wrong, surely if you are developing something new you need lots of people to actually make new things. Otherwise every developer would take the 'easy' route of developing a brand new IP from scratch rather than milking a franchise which has all of those irritating preexisting assets which take so long to use again.

early Design/proof of concept can be done by 2-3 people, easy. It's only until you begin production of the game do you start to need the extra bodies, especially when you've got an in-house engine already made for you.

CriticalMiss:

That sounds exactly wrong, surely if you are developing something new you need lots of people to actually make new things. Otherwise every developer would take the 'easy' route of developing a brand new IP from scratch rather than milking a franchise which has all of those irritating preexisting assets which take so long to use again.

It sounds like their doing tech demos/testing ideas at this point. Or possibly their doing a smaller side project. Also all the assets EA has they can use, so the cars etc from NFS and Burnout they can reuse. If their doing another burnout game it wouldn't be impossible for a smaller team especially in the early stages.

 

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