Criterion, the guys behind the Burnout series and the good Need For Speed games (not the movie), are going through what you could call a transitional period. Like, there's hardly anyone actually working there anymore.
But that's not a bad thing.
Criterion creative director Alex Ward Tweeted over the weekend:
We would rather work a small team all focused on gameplay rather than a huge team split by discipline. -- Alex Ward (@AlexanderJWard) September 14, 2013
We didn't want to take on 50 people when they are not needed. Too many folks too soon dilutes solving gameplay problems. -- Alex Ward (@AlexanderJWard) September 14, 2013
Hence Ghost UK was formed from a load of Criterion folks. But 15 of us retain the Criterion identity and work in a new location. -- Alex Ward (@AlexanderJWard) September 14, 2013
We're fortunate to be part of a big organisation that curates and invests in new intellectual properties. It really *isn't* the evil empire. -- Alex Ward (@AlexanderJWard) September 14, 2013
Ward says that, with most staff headed over to the new Ghost Games studio, who will be continuing work on Need For Speed, those few left at Criterion will be working on something different.
Awesome! They key to their driving games wasn't necessarily their driving, it was the interesting additions and mechanics they layered on top of it that made them so damn fun (head-on boosting, crash mode, etc). It'll be cool seeing what they can come up with next!
Criterion now consists of just 17 people [Gamasutra]