EA's long-standing racing franchise Need for Speed has had quite a few development studios attached to it over the years, and it seems Ghost Games' run with the series has come to an end. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, EA has revealed that Criterion Games will once again be taking over the Need for Speed mantle.
EA had been unable to build up Ghost Games' ranks with the talent it was searching for in the Gothenburg area where the studio is located:
"Ghost Games have helped to bring some great Need for Speed experiences to our players. Consistently delivering that at AAA levels means we need teams with diverse skills in locations where we can continually support them and bring in new team members to join. Despite our best efforts to establish an independent development group in Gothenburg over several years, it's become clear that the breadth of talent we need to maintain a full AAA studio is just not available to us there."
Criterion has been involved in the Need for Speed series before, developing Hot Pursuit in 2010, Most Wanted in 2012, and providing supporting work for Rivals in 2013. Of course, the studio is also responsible for creating the acclaimed Burnout series. Recently, the developer has been providing support for DICE games such as the two Battlefront titles as well as Battlefield V, for which it developed the Firestorm battle royale segment.
"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 had added. "Criterion is a fantastic studio, and we're looking forward to adding to their talented team and building a great future for Need for Speed."
Following the move, Ghost Games - makers of Rivals (2013), Need for Speed (2015), Payback (2017), and Heat (2019) - is planned to become a support studio for other ongoing projects of EA, utilizing the engineering team situated there. Most of the other developers at Ghost will be moved to various positions within Criterion and EA, though it seems EA is having a hard time finding new positions for 30 roles within the studio.