Skip to main content

Need For Speed franchise goes home to Criterion Games amid EA restructure

Electronic Arts makes a U-turn returning Need for Speed to developer Criterion Games through company restructuring.

Criterion Games, which is best known for creating the Burnout franchise, developed Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit in 2010 and Need For Speed: Most Wanted in 2012 — the franchise’s most critically well-received titles.

EA then moved the franchise over to Ghost Games, which developed four Need For Speed titles between 2013 and 2019, including a full franchise reboot title in 2015. Its most recent installment was last year’s lukewarm Need For Speed Heat.

Meanwhile, EA shifted Criterion’s focus to developmental support in 2013. The studio provided additional resources for several DICE games, including Star Wars Battlefront II and Battlefield V, and much of Criterion’s team moved over to Ghost Games.

Now, Ghost Games faces downsizing amid the latest shakeup, and the two studios will switch roles as Ghost Games becomes an engineering hub providing support for EA projects. It will also return to its original name, EA Gothenburg, and parent-company EA plans to move part of Ghost Games’ creative team to Criterion.

The decision essentially reverses the company’s 2013 restructuring, which EA addressed in a recent interview.

“The engineering expertise in our Gothenburg team, some of whom are architects of the Frostbite engine, is vital to a number of our ongoing projects, and they would remain in that location,” EA told

Location played a large part in the decision, according to EA, which confessed it struggled to find the necessary talent in Gothenburg compared to Guilford, where Criterion is based.

“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.”

Within the uncertainty of corporate restructuring is a reason for Need For Speed fans to celebrate. Criterion’s track record with Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted offers hope, and while the studio has not produced a game of its own since 2012, it did develop Battlefield V’s battle royale mode.

Digital Trends reached out to EA for comment and we’ll update the story when we hear back.

Editors' Recommendations

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
EA’s long-running FIFA franchise might lose the FIFA name
A player shoots for the goal in FIFA 22.

FIFA, one of EA Sports' most successful and longest-running sports game franchises, might soon be unable to use the FIFA name. According to a report in the New York Times, negotiations surrounding the licensing deal between the soccer governing body and the publishing giant are starting to crumble, with both sides citing grievances and desires that the other is unwilling to match. EA is reportedly already planning for a future without the FIFA name, though nothing is set in stone quite yet.

As it stands now, EA and FIFA have a licensing agreement that allows the publisher to use the FIFA name, logo, and World Cup paraphernalia in its soccer series of games. The agreement has been holding for three decades and is renewed each decade, and it makes both EA Sports and FIFA a significant amount of money every year. The most recent decade of the agreement is ending after the 2022 World Cup, and negotiations on how to continue have reportedly hit a wall.

Read more
The best EA games of all time
Cal holding a double bladed lightsaber about to fight an enemy.

EA is one of the biggest publishers in the Western gaming market. They employ thousands of developers across dozens of studios to create games of nearly all sizes, types, and genres. Being around since nearly the beginning of the gaming medium itself, their catalog of games is one of the largest in the industry, and it only continues to grow as their teams produce more and more titles. However, they have earned a somewhat poor reputation in recent years among gamers for how they have treated some of their studios and franchises.

As much hate as the company gets, there's no denying the fact that some of gaming's greatest games and franchises come from EA. In recent years they've even managed to start repairing their image in many gamer's eyes thanks to pulling back on predatory business practices, supporting and improving games that were not well received at launch, and even giving us some traditional single-player experiences. EA might have a few series they're most known for, but they make games for just about every market. Here's what we consider to be the best EA games of all time.

Read more
Grid Legends is EA’s new racing game with a story mode

EA is known as one of the masters of the racing genre when it comes to video games, boasting series like Need for Speed and Burnout. Its newest venture into high-speed roads is Grid Legends, developed by Codemasters.

GRID Legends | Official Reveal Trailer

Read more