Electronic Arts has announced that development of the Need for Speed franchise is moving from Ghost Games back to Burnout developer Criterion.
GamesIndustry.biz reports that the Swedish EA subsidiary Ghost Games has lost the franchise — and their name. They will soon become EA Gothenberg and shift from a game development role to an "engineering hub" which will support development across multiple titles from the company.
A portion of the staff at Ghost Games are likely to be relocated to Criterion in the UK and other EA studios, but as many as 30 jobs are at risk of being laid off. Electronic Arts hopes to move these additional staffers to other roles within the EA family as Criterion takes over the development of the publisher's flagship racing franchise.
Why Is Ghost Games No Longer Developing Need for Speed?
One might wonder why the move is being made at all. The answer comes down to one simple problem: attracting talent.
While Gothenberg is certainly a lovely city (and Sweden has more than its fair share of game development studios), EA just hasn't been able to get the right people to come on board at Ghost Games.
Criterion, however, is located right in Guildford, just 30 miles away from London. It also happens to be one of the biggest game development hubs in the country, making it easier than every for EA to get new people to come on board.
With the future of the Need for Speed franchise changing hands (and the future of some Ghost Games employees in question), EA seems keen on reinvigorating their racing games. Ghost Games has worked on Need for Speed: Rivals, the 2015 Need for Speed reboot, Need for Speed: Payback, and the most recent title Need for Speed: Heat.
With Criterion's experience at making the blazing-fast Burnout games, we might see a change in the flavor of NFS. Here's hoping that everyone lands on their feet.
What do you think of Ghost Games losing development of the Need for Speed franchise? Do you think that Criterion will be able to take up the mantle? Let us know in the comments below!