Criterion Games, the EA-owned British game development studio, has been primarily known for its racing games. However, after some internal changes within EA, the developer will now focus on the development of the Battlefield series.
Head of Respawn Entertainment and the Battlefield franchise, Vince Zampella, revealed the news in a blog post today. Criterion is moving from being an EA Sports studio to EA Entertainment, which are now two separate organizations that report to EA CEO Andrew Wilson.
"As we’ve said before, we’re all-in on Battlefield," says Zampella. "Today, Criterion is added to our world-class Battlefield studios dedicated to ushering in a new era for the franchise. The majority of the team will be working alongside DICE, Ripple Effect, and Ridgeline that are led by Byron Beede, GM of Battlefield."
While Criterion Games isn't leaving racing games completely behind, Zampella describes the team responsible for Need for Speed now being a "core group" while the studio majority focuses on Battlefield.
The popular Burnout franchise, as well as the Need for Speed entries Hot Pursuit, Most Wanted (2012), Rivals, and Unbound were all developed under Criterion. EA handed the Need for Speed franchise to the studio over from Ghost Games back in 2020. Then in 2022, EA integrated the newly acquired Codemasters into the studio for providing more support to the racing franchise.
Of course, Criterion has also been providing development support for a myriad of DICE shooters since 2017. Star Wars Battlefront II, Battlefield V, and Battlefield 2042 all had the studio (and many other EA-owned developers) coming in to help out with content.
"Criterion’s experience with Battlefield, our technology and building engaging experiences will have an immediate positive impact as we continue to work on Battlefield 2042, and as we continue pre-production on a connected Battlefield Universe," adds Zampella. "There is no better studio to join us on this journey and I couldn’t be more excited."
It's unclear if this move means Need for Speed fans will have to wait longer than usual for a new entry. Earlier this year, a rumor surfaced that said the original Need for Speed: Most Wanted from 2005 may be getting a remake soon, though no official announcements have been made yet.