Ward and Sperry depart Criterion to form new company

Ward and Sperry depart Criterion to form new company
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

January 3rd 2014 at 4:01PM

Co-founders leave Burnout and Need For Speed studio, Criterion working on next-gen new IP

Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry have left Criterion Games, according to the UK studio's parent Electronic Arts.

Ward was vice president and creative director, while Sperry served as studio director. According to a tweet by Ward, the pair plan to form a new games company.

We can also announce that Alex Ward will also be writing bi-monthly columns for Develop magazine, starting with our February issue.

Polygon reports that the remaining Criterion team are said to still be working on a new title for Xbox One and PS4.

"Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry have decided to leave EA," a spokesperson told the site. "We appreciate their many contributions through the years and wish them well in their future endeavours.

"The incredibly creative and talented team at Criterion are hard at work on a new project for next-gen consoles as new IP continues to be a major priority across EA. Matt Webster is leading development of the new game and the Criterion studio moving forward. Matt has been part of Criterion for years and has an exciting vision for this new game."

The departures follow a year of change for Criterion Games. In April, Ward suggested the studio would be ditching the racing genre "to make something new". 

Then in September, the studio announced the majority of its team had become Ghost Games UK, working with the Swedish branch of Ghost on November's Need For Speed: Rivals.

Last month, it was rumoured that Criterion was working on an extension of the Battlefield series, which may fit with EA's talk of new IP.