The creators of several venerated virtual racing titles, Criterion Games, has delivered high-speed experiences for well over a quarter of a century – and now five of its senior team members are leaving to create a new studio.
Fuse Games will be headed by Matt Webster, who worked formerly as VP, GM at both Electronic Arts studios Criterion and Ghost Games.
Joining Webster will be Steve Uphill as Head of Content, Pete Lake as Head of Production, Alan McDairmant as Head of Operations and Andrei Shires as Head of Technology.
All five have worked on prior Burnout and Need for Speed releases, including the most recent release, Need for Speed Unbound, forming part of the studio leadership team.
For fans of racing games, Criterion is best known for the adrenaline-pumping, crash-filled, Burnout series, before moving on to revive the then-floundering Need for Speed series. Its Burnout Paradise and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit titles were given HD and 4K remasters by EA in 2018 and 2020 respectively.
Unbound released in November 2022, and expected to receive a series of updates throughout 2023. In May 2022, EA announced that the former Codemasters Cheshire studio, which was responsible for OnRush and DIRT 5, had been subsumed into Criterion.
“It’s been fantastic, there’s some real talent on that team,” said Unbound’s Creative Director, Kieran Crimmins, to Traxion.GG in November when asked about the change.
“It couldn’t have been nicer to have such a talented and enthusiastic team join as we’re shipping the game. They were here for the last year of the project.”
The new video game development house will be focussing on a brand-new ‘AAA’ release, that is set to feature ‘blockbuster spectacle’ and ‘player-centric innovations in social gameplay, self-expression and creativity’.
“Fuse’s founding team and I love games and we love making them, and we’re driven to look at what’s next for us and for this wonderful industry,” said Matt Webster, now Studio GM at Fuse Games.
“It takes a great team to make great games, so at Fuse we’re striving to inspire and lead the next generation of game developers and game industry leaders.”
No specific details have been announced as of yet, so there’s no guarantee that its new project is racing-derived. Based in Guildford, UK, the studio will operate a hybrid model, with remote employees around the globe.