One Of The World's Best Developers Is Down To 17 Staff

One Of The World's Best Developers Is Down To 17 Staff

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]


    Am I the only person who thought their NFS games were terrible? Also they destroyed the ridge racer franchise. All of their games they make for other franchises always come out as straight up burnout clones. they need to stick with what they know and make more burnout games.

      I agree, Hot Pursuit was alright but Most Wanted was absolutely terrible.

        Agreed - Hot Pursuit is possibly my favourite racing game this generation. Most Wanted, however, was bitterly disappointing. I think my favourite of all their games, though, is Burnout 3: Takedown. Would love to see something along the lines of a next gen version of that.

      I'm a long time Burnout fan playing Most Wanted at the moment and loving it, so different strokes I guess.

      I didn't realise they did a Ridge Racer game. Which one?

        I've just been calling it Burnout Paradise 2 myself.

      Yeah I got livid after reading that line. They destroyed the Need for Speed franchise, it used to be pretty arcadey, but required a mild amount of skill and the cars actually felt like they were on the road. (I'm talking about the Hot Pursuit 2 on PS2, my favourite in the series.) Now it's like 'press A to drift', the cars feel like they're floating and they've dropped all of the ownership that you felt in Underground for example. It's basically Burnout with manufacturer licenses. I've hated Criterion ever since.

      Clearly there is a market for dumb Michael Bay-esque 'action-racing', as the author of this article seems to be a part of it. But the NFS franchise doesn't belong in it.

      Sorry for the poorly-woorded comment. Trying to pump it out to go get my number for the GTA:V midnight launch. :D

        Agreed on HP2 on PS2 being the best. Man I loved that game. That was a proper NFS. Not Burnout NFS edition.

        The way I see it, though, NFS is just a brand name. It's not like it's a series with a particular identity or anything else to tie different entries in the series together. They're different games by different developers with different goals. The only thing they've got in common is that they're about driving cars really fast. I wouldn't expect 2 different NFS games to be any more similar than, say, a Ridge Racer game and a GRID game. So "Burnout with manufacturer licences" is as valid a Need For Speed game as anything else in the series.

      I got Most Wanted for free on PS+, sat down and played about an hour of it one night. Deleted it and tried to erase it from my memory. I felt dirty. I've been a fan of racing games since Test Drive 2 on Amiga, and Most Wanted was the worst one I've ever played.

    I know I miss the old Need for Speeds like Underground :(

    > the good Need For Speed games

    While I haven't played many of the recent NFS games, the first two at least were pretty good for their time. On the whole the series has had relatively few duds. Undercover and The Run were the only complete failures (excluding portable consoles)

    I really need to try out Paradise so I know whether to complain that they still need to make a Burnout game as good as the first two again.

      Paradise to be honest, is probably the best of the lot. Major fun.

        Everyone always says that, but everyone also seems (/seemed) to really like 3 and 4, and I didn't at all like what I played of those.

        Nobody else likes the first two best.

          2 was probably the best, but 3 was a great game if you got a small group of friends together and competed for the funniest Crash Junction.

          I like the first two (2 is my favourite by far). I enjoyed Paradise, but it's lack of spilt screen and party modes like Crash always annoyed me. I know everybody loves 3 (it's a good game), but it just didn't feel as good as Burnout 2.

    They never did a Ridge Racer game, though the recent Ridge Racer games seem to be trying to rip on their style. So in that way, they have "ruined" that franchise. Burnout Paradise and Burnout 3 Takedown are my favourite titles from them, and they did more than serviceable entries in the NFS series. I think we've been spoilt for quality racers that haven't been NFS titles this generation. Pure, Split/Second, Blur, Midnight Club 3, Dirt series, GRID, heck even Sega All Star Racing and Real Racing (mobile) have been good.

    If they're not making burnout they're dead to me.

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