The studio moves from EA Sports to EA Entertainment and will continue to develop Need for Speed
EA’s Criterion studio has moved divisions to work on the Battlefield franchise.
The UK studio was previouly under the EA Sports banner, but will now operate under Vince Zampella’s group within EA Entertainment.
No layoffs are planned as part of the move, EA told GamesIndustry.biz.
Criterion is famous for Burnout and Need for Speed, but it has worked on several Battlefield and Battlefront games before and is familiar with the Frostbite engine. Alongside Battlefield, Criterion will continue to lead development on future Need for Speed titles.
The firm joins a roster of Battlefield studios that include DICE, Ripple Effect and Ridgeline.
“As we’ve said before, we’re all-in on Battlefield,” said Zampella in a blog post. “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.
“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. There is no better studio to join us on this journey and I couldn’t be more excited.
“Work will also continue on what’s next for Need for Speed. Many of you might be familiar with my history in games, having worked with extremely talented teams on Apex Legends, Titanfall, and Star Wars Jedi here at Electronic Arts. But you might not know I have a passion for cars, which also makes Criterion a perfect match for me to explore another genre in gaming that I love.”
EA’s other racing studio Codemasters will continue to operate under EA Sports, where it is developing officially licensed F1 and WRC games.
An EA Sports spokesperson added in a statement: “Racing continues to be a critical part of the EA Sports portfolio as we grow sports fandom around the world. Our focus is on creating authentic, best-in-class motorsports experiences through EA Sports F1 and our upcoming EA Sports WRC title.”
It follows a year of change for Criterion. Following the release of Need for Speed Unbound in December, a number of long-serving Criterion leaders left the company, including VP and GM Matt Webster, executive producer Pete Lake, senior technical director Andrei Shires, head of studio development Alan McDairmant and head of content Steve Uphill. They went on to form a new start-up called Fuse Games. This was followed by the departure of head of studio operations Steve Cuss in June.