The studio that gave gamers Burnout, Black, and two of the more recent Need for Speed titles will continue on without its founders. EA has confirmed that Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry have departed the developer.

“Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry have decided to leave EA,” a company representative told Game Informer via email. “We appreciate their many contributions through the years and wish them well in their future endeavours.”

In April, Ward shared that the developer’s next title isn't going to be a racing game. Development on the Need for Speed series shifted over to the newly established Ghost Games for 2013’s Rivals. The new studio is comprised of approximately 80 percent of the Criterion team.

In September, it was revealed that Criterion had slimmed down considerably. Ward shared kind words for EA when that was revealed that the team was down to 17 people.

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,” the representative told us.  “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.”

According to Sperry’s LinkedIn profile, the studio’s next project is being developed under the name “Team Zero.” It’s described as, “The next thing from Criterion Games…” 

Sperry and Ward will be opening their own studio, as confirmed by the latter on Twitter. According to Develop, Ward will also be a regular columnist for the publication. 

[Source: @AlexanderJWard, Fiona Sperry on LinkedIn, @Develop via Polygon]


Our Take
I’ve always been a big fan of the Burnout series, and have been interested in what Alex Ward was hinting at for his next project. Now I’ve got Criterion’s game and whatever Ward and Sperry come up with next to look forward to.