Criterion Games is likely best known for its work on the Burnout franchise, something we haven’t seen a proper entry from since 2008’s Burnout Paradise. After being acquired by EA in 2004, Criterion pushed out Black, several Burnouts and a few Need for Speeds.
Today, it’s been revealed that Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry have officially left Criterion. The Vice President and Studio Director were co-founders of Criterion as a gaming studio back in 2000.
The news comes by way of Polygon as a spokesperson from EA confirmed Sperry and Ward’s departure. They did so in a small statement, part of which you can read below.
“Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry have decided to leave EA…We appreciate their many contributions through the years and wish them well in their future endeavours.”
The spokesperson went on to talk about the future of Criterion itself.
“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.”
The exact reasons for Ward and Sperry’s departure remain, so far, obscured. It’s entirely possible that EA wanted Criterion to stay focused on racing titles like Need for Speed (currently being worked on by Ghost Games) and Burnout, while these studio heads wanted to transition to other things.
Whatever the case for their departure may be, it seems the two are set to start something new. Shortly after news broke of their departure from EA and Criterion, Ward took to Twitter to share that he and Sperry were starting a new games studio.
— Alex Ward (@AlexanderJWard) January 3, 2014
As Polygon indicates, both Sperry and Ward recently added lines to their LinkedIn profiles suggesting a departure from racing for Criterion. Maybe that didn’t line up with what EA had in mind for the studio.
We imagine their next project probably won’t be a racing game.