Need for Speed and Burnout developer Criterion Games has been moved from EA Sports to the EA Entertainment, where it will assist on upcoming games in the Battlefield franchise. The move comes on the heels of some high-profile departures from Criterion following the release of Need for Speed Unbound in late 2022.
Criterion Games joins the EA Entertainment group under Respawn Entertainment CEO Vince Zampella
News of the unexpected move was shared by GamesIndustry.biz, with an EA representative telling the site that no layoffs are planned as part of Criterion Games’ reshuffled role. The EA Entertainment division under which Criterion Games will now be working was formed earlier this year after the publishing giant split the EA Sports brand from its other gaming properties. As part of the EA Entertainment, Criterion Games will now be working under Respawn Entertainment CEO Vince Zampella.
Explaining the reasoning behind the move in a blog post on EA’s site, Zampella states that Criterion Games will help usher in a “new era for the [Battlefield] franchise.” The majority of Criterion’s employees will be working with other EA studios like DICE as the publisher begins pre-production on what it describes as a “connected Battlefield Universe.” In addition to working on upcoming Battlefield titles, Criterion will also provide assistance with ongoing updates to Battlefield 2042. While much of the team will now be tasked with working on the Battlefield franchise, Zampella’s post notes that work will still continue on new Need for Speed games.
While Criterion is most well-known for its work on the Need for Speed and Burnout franchises, the developer is no stranger to the Battlefield series. In 2021 the studio was tapped to support EA DICE on the development of Battlefield 2042, leading to a year-long delay for Need for Speed Unbound. Moving such a high-profile developer to its military shooter series is in line with statements made by EA in 2022 indicating that the publisher was taking a “long view” of the Battlefield franchise following what some fans have decried as a drastic drop in quality for recent entries.
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