Guildford, England-based Criterion is best known for the Burnout series and has also developed two previous Need for Speed titles: 2010’s Hot Pursuit and 2012’s Most Wanted.
Explaining the move in a statement issued to our network partner GamesIndustry.biz, EA said it had struggled to attract the correct talent to work on the Need for Speed series in Gothenburg, where Ghost Games has developed the last four series entries, including 2019’s Need for Speed Heat.
Pending Swedish Union approval, Ghost Games will become EA Gothenburg and the studio will refocus as an engineering hub supporting projects in development at other studios.
EA confirmed 30 jobs at the Swedish studio are at risk, but that it hopes to place “as many of them as possible into other roles in the company”.
It said: “With a strong history and passion for racing games and vision for what we can create, the Criterion team is going to take Need for Speed into the next-generation.
“Ghost Games have helped to bring some great Need for Speed experiences to our players. Consistently delivering that at AAA levels means we need teams with diverse skills in locations where we can continually support them and bring in new team members to join.
“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.
“Criterion can also provide the consistent leadership that we need to continue creating and delivering new Need for Speed experiences for a long time to come.
“Criterion is a fantastic studio, and we’re looking forward to adding to their talented team and building a great future for Need for Speed. The engineering teams in Gothenburg are also vital to our ongoing plans across EA.”
VGC’s 4/5 Need for Speed Heat review called the title “a return to form” for the franchise, concluding: “There’s very little new here, but what is here is certainly a crowdpleaser for anyone who has dipped in and out of the 25-year-old racing IP.”