Matt Webster, Criterion’s vice president and general manager, is leaving the studio after more than 23 years. In addition to him, four other high-ranking people are leaving the studio, who have indicated that they want to “explore new possibilities outside Electronic Arts.”
The departure of studio heads has been confirmed by EA to GamesIndustry.biz. Their departure follows not long after the release of Need for Speed Unbound, which was released on December 2. Webster had been with Criterion Games for over 23 years and had been with EA since 1990. He was part of the first team at EA responsible for the first FIFA game, released in 1993 for the Mega Drive. Also leaving are executive producer Pete Lake, who joined Criterion in 1996, and senior technical director Andrei Shires, who spent 16 years with the studio.
Also, head of studio development Alan McDairmant is leaving EA after seventeen years and Steve Uphill, who was head of content, is leaving after six years. Uphill worked for EA from 2004 to 2008 as an art director and rejoined the company in 2016.
EA confirms to GamesIndustry.biz that Charity Joy, who was the executive producer of several EA Sports games, has been transferred to Criterion. There she will also fulfill the role of executive producer. Geoff Smith, who previously worked on the racing games DiRT and Grid, is now the senior director of product development for the Need for Speed series. Criterion Games has been part of EA since 2004. The studio is known for the Burnout games and has made four Need for Speed games between 2010 and 2022: Hot Pursuit, Most Wanted, Rivals and Unbound.
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