Fiona Sperry, Studio Director of Criteron, and Alex Ward, VP and creative director for Criterion, have both left the UK based studio. Criterion, famous for Burnout and Black, has recently been working working on, and overseeing, the Need for Speed franchise. They have since moved onto a non-racing project, but that seemingly wasn’t enough to satisfy the creative juices of the studio’s founders.
An EA spokesperson confirmed the move to Polygon, and went on to explain Criterion’s role going forward “The incredibly creative and talented team at Criterion are hard at work on a new project for next-gen consoles as new IP continues to be a major priority across EA. Matt Webster is leading development of the new game and the Criterion studio moving forward. Matt has been part of Criterion for years and has an exciting vision for this new game.”
Ward explained on twitter that he and Sperry oversaw the work on Need for Speed initially, but grew bored of the project. He later continued saying “Like I said, 2014 is going to be a great year. Really looking forward to it. Criterion was my life, but ready for a new challenge..”
Sperry continued the sentiment, tweeting “As director-producer partnerships go @AlexanderJWard & mine has been a great one. 14 years. 5 Burnouts. Black. 2 NFS. #justgettingstarted“. This is the second high profile departure from an EA studio in just two days, with PopCap CEO Dave Robinson leaving the Seattle-based company yesterday. Could these moves all be due to management decisions at EA? It’s certainly possible, but I’m going to chalk this one up to coincidence that they happened in such close vicinity.
by, Bobby Marquardt