GI.Biz reports that Matt Webster, VP and GM of Criterion, executive producer Pete Lake, head of studio development Alan McDairmant, head of content Steve Uphill and senior technical director Andrei Shires have left to “explore new opportunities outside of EA.”
All departing members of the team have worked with Criterion for more than a decade, with Matt Webster remaining at EA for over 23 years. Webster worked on the original FIFA title.
Criterion’s latest release, Need for Speed Unbound, was met with positive critical and player sentiment.
“It’s now been one year since the talented teams at Codemasters and Criterion officially came together as one unified force, driving the future of racing entertainment,” Rutter told staff in an internal message.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for our group following the recent launch of Need for Speed Unbound, (which is being hailed as having opened a new era for the franchise), the successful release of EA Sports F1 22 earlier this year, as well as significant progress on the development of WRC.”
Need for Speed Unbound was the first release in the series since 2019’s disappointing Need for Speed Heat. The franchise, which was an annualised series in the early 2000s, has faded in prominence in recent years, overtaken by other racing titles such as Forza Horizon.
“As we look ahead, we know there’s a strong opportunity to evolve our games and experiences and bring them to an even broader audience of fans – with our long-term strategy centred on our strengths in licensed motorsports and arcade/open-world racing,” Rutter continued.
He concluded: “Building off the progress made so far this year, with two launches, and even more plans underway for next, we are confident that we have the best people, working on the best games, and will achieve great things in 2023.”