Criterion Loses Five Major Developers Following Need For Speed Unbound Launch

We don't know about you, but we've been having a great time with Need for Speed Unbound ever since it launched back in late November, but we get the feeling it perhaps hasn't sold as well as it deserves so far.

The game is already 40% off as part of the Xbox Countdown Sale 2022 (it also made our "best deals" roundup!), and it just feels like the game wasn't getting as much hype as expected in the run up to release.

Now, is reporting that five veterans of developer Criterion Games have decided to leave following the launch of the game to "explore new opportunities outside of EA", with no further explanation given. All of them had been working for Criterion and/or EA for at least 10 years — over 20-25 years in some cases.

They are as follows:

  • Matt Webster, VP and GM of Criterion
  • Pete Lake, Executive Producer
  • Andrei Shires, Senior Technical Director
  • Alan McDairmant, Head of Studio Development
  • Steve Uphill, Head of Content

As you can imagine, this means there's been a shakeup at Criterion. Charity Joy will be jumping over from the EA Sports UFC franchise to become Executive Producer on Need for Speed, while Geoff Smith will be (gradually) leaving his role at Codemasters as VP, Development Director to become the Need for Speed Senior Director of Product Development.

Here's just a bit of what David Rutter, GM of EA's racing group, had to say following the shakeup:

"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."

It sounds like new beginnings for Need for Speed, then, and in terms of Unbound specifically, Criterion has confirmed we'll be hearing more about upcoming content in late January. Interesting future ahead for the franchise!

What do you make of this? Let us know down in the comments below.