#1 Posted by Optix12 (615 posts) -

So thanks to searching on IGN. It appears that Criterion Games only has 17 employees working there.Quote from the IGN link

Following the news that UK-based Ghost studio would be taking complete control over the Need for Speed franchise with Need for Speed Rivals, Criterion Games (Need for Speed Most Wanted) is now a much smaller studio.

In a Twitter thread today, Criterion creative director Alexander Ward said that Criterion now consists of 16 employees, with one more on the way in two weeks, and that Ghost is now Ghost UK.

"Criterion is just 17 people these days..." he said. "We appreciate your support."

Although Criterion has been helping Ghost with Need for Speed Rivals, Criterion is busy with another project, and any future Need for Speed installments will be the work of Ghost.

Credit IGN-Mike Mahardy

What are the peoples thoughts? I haven't done much research into what studios the employees went to but 17 is potentially too small for a AAA driving title right? My opinion is while that sounds potentially worrying for future need for speeds (we will see how Rivals does but so far it actually looks alright) it also sounds like if the missing employees can go in a separate direction to EA and recreate what made burnout so fun then there is a ton of potential. This being said im not sure how many people worked on Burnout paradise or NFS:Most wanted the latest version or if a lot of the employees moved over to this new ghost studio.

#2 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3835 posts) -

The thing people aren't getting about this (and not really you Optix, you're approaching it asking, but some are doom and gloom and saying fuck EA) is EA basically let Critereon out of NFS and let them spin off like this to do... well we don't know what.

All their guys that still wanted to work on racing games,in the direction they were going, went to Ghost, it seems.

16 guys is enough to do pre-production work on a game, try some things out, etc. Once you have a game in place you ramp up from there. For example, Blizzard's Titan project has about 15 people working on it right now, from what was said. They can always ramp up once they have an idea where they are going.

My guess is it would be not a racing game.

Ward says Burnout is not done though too.

#3 Posted by awesomeusername (4185 posts) -

That's because most of those people are going to be working at Ghost Games now. I bet EA did this so they can be able to pump out an NFS every year. I never get pissed about anything EA does but this did it. How can you take all these people from Criterion!? Their project better not be affected by this.

To clarify, some things EA does does bother me like with only hosted servers on BF3 & Dante's Inferno's marketing was gross.

#4 Posted by Optix12 (615 posts) -

The thing people aren't getting about this (and not really you Optix, you're approaching it asking, but some are doom and gloom and saying fuck EA) is EA basically let Critereon out of NFS and let them spin off like this to do... well we don't know what.

All their guys that still wanted to work on racing games,in the direction they were going, went to Ghost, it seems.

16 guys is enough to do pre-production work on a game, try some things out, etc. Once you have a game in place you ramp up from there. For example, Blizzard's Titan project has about 15 people working on it right now, from what was said. They can always ramp up once they have an idea where they are going.

My guess is it would be not a racing game.

Ward says Burnout is not done though too.

Thanks for the insight, I really have no clue on how big a team needs to be to get a base idea for a game in the works and in this day and age 17 just kind of seemed pretty small for a group that has been considered as one of the best in its fields for quite a while now.

At this point part of me wishes it isn't a racing game while part of me does (it all depends on how the crew turns out for me)

#5 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3835 posts) -

@awesomeusername said:

That's because most of those people are going to be working at Ghost Games now. I bet EA did this so they can be able to pump out an NFS every year. I never get pissed about anything EA does but this did it. How can you take all these people from Criterion!? Their project better not be affected by this.

To clarify, some things EA does does bother me like with only hosted servers on BF3 & Dante's Inferno's marketing was gross.

You speak as if you have some knowledge that is not out there.

Have you considered that the people that left Criterion for Ghost wanted to do so? Some got higher positions and they get to start a new studio working on racing games. And EA let Criterion out of NFS development to do their own thing. There seems to be a good chance whatever they are working on is not a racing game, so this all makes sense. And again, you don't go into pre-production on a new game with a giant studio. You start small and ramp up. You can always ramp up. When big studios start new games, they are usually setting aside small teams like this to flesh out the ideas before they bring in the manpower.

There is nothing bad about this.

#6 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3835 posts) -
@optix12 said:

@artisanbreads said:

The thing people aren't getting about this (and not really you Optix, you're approaching it asking, but some are doom and gloom and saying fuck EA) is EA basically let Critereon out of NFS and let them spin off like this to do... well we don't know what.

All their guys that still wanted to work on racing games,in the direction they were going, went to Ghost, it seems.

16 guys is enough to do pre-production work on a game, try some things out, etc. Once you have a game in place you ramp up from there. For example, Blizzard's Titan project has about 15 people working on it right now, from what was said. They can always ramp up once they have an idea where they are going.

My guess is it would be not a racing game.

Ward says Burnout is not done though too.

Thanks for the insight, I really have no clue on how big a team needs to be to get a base idea for a game in the works and in this day and age 17 just kind of seemed pretty small for a group that has been considered as one of the best in its fields for quite a while now.

At this point part of me wishes it isn't a racing game while part of me does (it all depends on how the crew turns out for me)

I think Critereon was probably like 70 people when they were making the last few NFS games... numbers Ward put out seem to suggest that.

If you're just working on game concepts, you don't need that many people. With the 70 numbers, a lot of those are artists, modelers, etc... jobs you need when you are building content, which ends up taking a lot of the time.

As I said, apparently 15 people are working on Titan for Blizzard right now, and that's an MMO. It's just how these things work.

I would love a new Burnout game but I'd also like to see Criterion do something else. I'd bet they are burnt out on racers, but that's just my thinking. It makes sense that a lot of the guys would leave for Ghost because they knew Criterion wasn't making a racing game and they wanted to make racing games.

#7 Posted by Akyho (1647 posts) -

@optix12 said:

Criterion creative director Alexander Ward said that Criterion now consists of 16 employees, with one more on the way in two weeks, and that Ghost is now Ghost UK.


My game designer friend (he has only been to university on game making) applied for a position at Criterion a few months ago and was fully prepared to move to England (We are Scottish) so considering he has not heard back from Criterion I guess that person coming in two weeks is not him.

Also I think he would have been bummed if he found out had the job "Hey I am going to work for Criterion!! woo!!" gets to work. "oh we are only 17 people...and we work on mobile games...now...your first job is to make Crash 2 for Ipad."

#9 Posted by themangalist (1735 posts) -

And I remember Criterion saying they made Need for Speed good again (or something like that) with the release of NFS: Most Wanted...

Too soon? Sorry for all the guys who lost their jobs.

#10 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3835 posts) -

And I remember Criterion saying they made Need for Speed good again (or something like that) with the release of NFS: Most Wanted...

Too soon? Sorry for all the guys who lost their jobs.

They all are making the new NFS games at a new studio still in the UK. No lost jobs.

#11 Posted by e30bmw (356 posts) -

Didn't Alex Ward also recently say that Criterion wasn't working on a racing game? If I remember, the quote was basically, if we made another one of those, we'd be working instead of making games. So everyone (not necessarily) in this thread about how this is bad for NFS or a potential Burnout is crazy. Clearly, everyone at Criterion that was interested in making those kinds of games went to this new studio.

#12 Posted by Optix12 (615 posts) -

I will probably wait in line at eurogamer expo to try out need for speed rivals but when the time came last year I chose Forza horizon. After NFS:MW came with PS+ I was VERY glad with my choice. While I agree the online is way better with NFS the game was just lacking enough things to make me want to easily go back to forza horizon and mess about on that instead. Im hoping NFS:Rivals actually is great as I have always enjoyed/accepted the NFS series of games but my ultimate hope of NFS:underground 3 probably will never happen (sadly)

#13 Posted by e30bmw (356 posts) -

@optix12: I enjoyed Most Wanted but I like Hot Pursuit a lot better. I got the platinum trophy in Hot Pursuit, but once I beat the top guy on the wanted list, there was no drive for me to play any more single player. And while I enjoyed my time with the multiplayer, I didn't have a crew of people, so I didn't play a whole bunch.

#14 Posted by Brodehouse (9950 posts) -

So, did the real talent at Criterion stay at Criterion or go to Ghost UK? I think Criterion are great at making racing games. But that's just that, I think they're great at racing games, so if the guys who are good at racing games are in Ghost now then I guess I'm a Ghost fan. And then Criterion can make Black 2 and I can not give a fuuuck about exploding barrels.

#15 Posted by e30bmw (356 posts) -

@optix12: I enjoyed Most Wanted but I like Hot Pursuit a lot better. I got the platinum trophy in Hot Pursuit, but once I beat the top guy on the wanted list, there was no drive for me to play any more single player. And while I enjoyed my time with the multiplayer, I didn't have a crew of people, so I didn't play a whole bunch.

#16 Posted by LordAndrew (14426 posts) -

I don't know. How many employees do they actually need? Is a team of 17 enough for a big game like Black 2?

#17 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3835 posts) -

@lordandrew said:

I don't know. How many employees do they actually need? Is a team of 17 enough for a big game like Black 2?

No.

I'd bet that's not what they are making. But either way. it's enough to start prototyping and designing just about anything. Or work on a smaller game, depending on what they do.

Criterion was at like 70 people working on the last few NFS games it seems like, just for reference about team sizes.

@brodehouse said:

So, did the real talent at Criterion stay at Criterion or go to Ghost UK? I think Criterion are great at making racing games. But that's just that, I think they're great at racing games, so if the guys who are good at racing games are in Ghost now then I guess I'm a Ghost fan. And then Criterion can make Black 2 and I can not give a fuuuck about exploding barrels.

Seems like most of the original Criterion dudes are still at Criterion I think but it's not clear.

There are two Ghost studios. Ghost UK is basically all these Criterion dudes, they are helping make Rivals, then it's unclear where there will be a split or maybe they work with the other Ghost studio. But if you've liked the last few NFS games then I think you're in good hands.

#18 Posted by Hailinel (24798 posts) -

It certainly makes me curious as to what Criterion will do next. Seventeen staff members is definitely not large enough of a team to make the sorts of games that the developer has a track record of producing, but that doesn't mean that they won't grow as their project develops. On the other hand, their next game might be small enough in scale that seventeen employees is all they actually need internally.

#19 Edited by MattyFTM (14384 posts) -

This is undoubtedly a good thing. Yes, Criterion in it's current form isn't going to make any big budget, high production value games. But all it was going to do in it's previous form was to keep churning out NFS games. In this situation, they can do preproduction on something other than yearly NFS sequels, and once they get the go-ahead from EA to start full production they can ramp up to be a bigger studio.

Moderator
#20 Posted by DarthOrange (3864 posts) -

@e30bmw said:

Didn't Alex Ward also recently say that Criterion wasn't working on a racing game? If I remember, the quote was basically, if we made another one of those, we'd be working instead of making games. So everyone (not necessarily) in this thread about how this is bad for NFS or a potential Burnout is crazy. Clearly, everyone at Criterion that was interested in making those kinds of games went to this new studio.

Yes he did. Working on a new IP based on what he said way back in August.

http://www.joystiq.com/2013/04/16/criterion-creative-director-indicates-he-isnt-working-on-a-raci/

#21 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3835 posts) -

@e30bmw said:

Didn't Alex Ward also recently say that Criterion wasn't working on a racing game? If I remember, the quote was basically, if we made another one of those, we'd be working instead of making games. So everyone (not necessarily) in this thread about how this is bad for NFS or a potential Burnout is crazy. Clearly, everyone at Criterion that was interested in making those kinds of games went to this new studio.

Yes he did. Working on a new IP based on what he said way back in August.

http://www.joystiq.com/2013/04/16/criterion-creative-director-indicates-he-isnt-working-on-a-raci/

I never saw this news. I think this makes it all very clear what is going on and undoubtedly good for all parties: those that left Criterion, EA, and the new leaner Criterion.

#22 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

I think it's a good thing, for those 16 guys are now relatively free of baggage, free to experiment, to figure out what they want to do with their creative freedom. My vote. Voxels + Physics Simulation + Explosions = Win!

For inspiration...

#23 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@hailinel said:

It certainly makes me curious as to what Criterion will do next. Seventeen staff members is definitely not large enough of a team to make the sorts of games that the developer has a track record of producing, but that doesn't mean that they won't grow as their project develops. On the other hand, their next game might be small enough in scale that seventeen employees is all they actually need internally.

That's because they're likely in pre-production. Nothing unusual really. Blizzard just recently scaled down Project Titan from over 100 developers back to 30'ish. My guess, 30 people for pre-production is rather lavish.

#24 Edited by TooWalrus (13198 posts) -

Criterion are... working on the new Geometry Wars game?

#25 Posted by Bollard (5550 posts) -

When I went to Criterion I felt like they had waaaay more than 65 people. Weird.

#26 Edited by Cold_Wolven (2220 posts) -

I hope nothing happens to the Criterion name, it's been around for a few years and is recognizable for quality games.

#27 Edited by Falconer (1686 posts) -

The guys and gals at Ghost UK are going to continue making fantastic racing games (screw you guys, I liked Most Wanted more than Hot Pursuit and Forza Horizon) AND Criterion gets to continue working on whatever new thing they have cooking. I don't see how this could have turned out any better for us.