Matt Webster and some other ex-Criterion employees have now founded their own development studio Fuse Games. The background is probably restructuring at Criterion.
Shortly after the release of Need for Speed Unbound, the development studio Criterion had to cope with the departure of five veterans. In addition to Vice President Matt Webster, head of development Alan McDairmant has also left the British developer studio. In addition, executive producer Pete Lake, technical director Andrei Shires and Steve Uphill, head of content, have all stepped down. It is now clear what the five Criterion employees will be working on in the future. Led by Matt Webster, there is new development studio Fuse Gameswhich has nothing to do with Fuse Games Limited, the former Nintendo pinball development studio.
What will become of Need for Speed?
A total of 17 team members are working on a new triple A title. According to the press release, it is a blockbuster with innovations in the areas of social gameplay, self-expression and creativity, according to the company. Guildford, the hometown of the developer studio Criterion, founded in 1996, serves as the headquarters. After Matt Webster’s men made a name for themselves with the arcade racing game Burnout, publisher EA made sure that it became an annual series, which continued until 2009 with Burnout Paradise endured. In 2010, Criterion took care of the new edition of Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, but was only partially convincing.
Criterion has been working on Need for Speed Unbound since 2019 and had to interrupt development to help DICE with Battlefield 2042. For their part, the developers of Codemasters Cheshire received support. The makers behind Dirt 5 and Co. merged in May 2022 to form the new Criterion. As of December 2022, Geoff Smith, who previously worked on the Dirt series and Grid at Codemasters Cheshire, has been the new head of development at Criterion. The new head of EA’s racing games department is David Rutter, who has successfully led FIFA development for many years.
Also worth reading: Need for Speed Unbound: Fewer players than predecessor Heat
Ex-Criterion Employee Departure Collection:
- Five ex-Criterion employees founded their own development studio Fuse Games. With a total of 17 employees, the men are working on a triple-A game.
- Vice President Matt Webster, Development Director Alan McDairmant, Executive Producer Pete Lake, Technical Director Andrei Shires and Steve Uphill, Head of Content have left Criterion.
- Criterion has been working on Need for Speed Unbound since 2019 then had to pause development to help DICE with Battlefield 2042 and was merged with Codemasters Cheshire, the development studio behind Dirt 5, in May 2022.