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Need for Speed development is doing a U-turn

Swedish developer Ghost Games is going ghost... kind of. The studio had the honor of producing the Need for Speed franchise since 2013, but now EA is putting production back into the hands of the franchise's original developer, Criterion Games.

EA has decided that Ghost Games will be transformed into the engineering hub EA Gothenburg, as it was before focus shifted to producing Need for Speed. What this means for the developers working there isn't entirely clear. While many have been absorbed into other studios that happened to have been in the same building as the now-resurrected EA Gothenburg, there are still about 30 extra people on staff that EA will need to find a place for... or else lay off. 

Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz, EA said it would like to "place as many of them as possible into other roles in the company." This might require a move or two, however, because apparently the issue with the studio was its location.

Why Need for Speed is returning to Criterion

Ghost Games produced four Need for Speed titles, but none saw the same success as the Criterion's Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Need for Speed: Most Wanted. EA says that this is because game developers don't want to move to Sweden.

"Despite our best efforts to establish an independent development group in Gothenburg over several years, it's become clear that the breadth of talent we need to maintain a full AAA studio is just not available to us there," the company said.

Criterion, on the other hand, is conveniently located in Guildford, UK, which is something of a game development hub. The UK location has no shortage of eager game developers, and making tripe-A titles takes quite a bit of manpower. Prior to reclaiming the keys to Need for Speed, Criterion had been providing development support to the Star Wars: Battlefront and Battlefield franchises.

EA has assured us that Need for Speed will find a happy home back at Criterion and that the reinstated EA Gothenburg will be "vital to [its] ongoing plans." So long as those 30 extra devs find new work, this Need for Speed U-turn should have a happy ending.