Need for Speed Studio Hit with Layoffs, Franchise Future in Limbo
Ghost Games UK was just hit with multiple layoffs by Electronic Arts and any progress made towards the next Need for Speed title has hit a red light.
Both Ghost Games development studios worked together to help bring Need for Speed: Rivals to the next-gen. Ghost Games, formally known as EA Gothenburg, primarily worked out of Gothenburg, Sweden. Ghost Games UK, formally known as EA Gothenburg until a recent rebranding, primarily operated out of Guildford, Surrey, England. Unfortunately, we have caught wind that EA has started handing out the pinkslips to the team at Guildford.
According to Polygon, EA has given all of Ghost Games UK's contractors at the office the boot and gave the office's full-timers the choice to get a severance bonus and leave or to continue working at Ghost Games UK to help put together a rumored Battlefield spinoff.
Polygon also stated this possible Battlefield spinoff title is code-named Havana and being developed by Visceral Games (formally EA Redwood), the team responsible for creating the Dead Space series. A few weeks ago, Polygon reported that Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry, co-founders of Criterion Games (known for creating the Burnout series), had both left Ghost Games UK.
An Electronic Arts representative responded to Polygon's inquiries about Ghost Games UK, stating the company had "entered a consultation period for some positions in our Ghost Games U.K. studio."
We're always sad to see whenever a solid development teams gets split apart, especially when we considered Need for Speed: Rivals to be a very solid racer in our review. The move is a bit curious, as the 'Need for Speed' movie starring Aaron Paul is due out this March. Awareness fro the franchise would be high, and missing out on an opportunity to release a game with the same branding seems like a misstep for EA. With progress on Ghosts' follow-up to Rivals stalled, the franchise's future is murky. It'd be a shame if the long-running series were to simply vanish.