The folks that worked to create the Burnout franchise are leaving Criterion Games for a brand new company, Three Fields Entertainment. Co-founders of Criterion Games, Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry are looking to pave a new path in the video game industry.
Criterion Games is not only responsible for the Burnout series but also Airblade, Black, and more recently the reboot of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Need for Speed: Most Wanted. Back in 2007 Criterion Games and EA Bright Light moved into the same building but worked independently of each other. In 2011 EA Bright Light was permanently closed and in 2012 Criterion officially announced that they were taking over the Need for Speed Franchise. Criterion Games is owned by Electronic Arts (EA) which makes Criterion Games a subsidiary of EA.
It seems that not all of Criterion Games was on board with the new shift and in April of 2013 Ward announced that the studio was planing on making games substantially different from the racing genre. Unfortunately, In September of 2013 Criterion Games cut down their staff by 80 percent leaving only 17 people. At that point the studio moved to Ghost Games UK to continue work on the Need for Speed Franchise. In January of 2014 Ward and Sperry left Criterion Games and now they’ve created Three Fields Entertainment
Three Fields Entertainment has a website up and running,but it has little more than a logo at the present. Ward says the company is “looking for talented staff who are skilled in at least three fields of creative electronic entertainment.” At this point the Ward and Sperry have enough experience to understand that their prefered method of making games involves small teams with skills in multiple places. Once the company is ready, they intend to “make games for all platforms where we can self-publish.”
Criterion Games was a big name, one not only responsible for creating more than a dozen games but also changing the genre for racing games entirely. In 2004 Burnout 3: Takedown blew critics away receiving excellent reviews across the board. At the time GameSpot said it was “an amazing achievement that anyone with a pulse will probably love.” With such an amazing reputation to uphold Criterion Games did not disappoint with their next iteration of Burnout Revenge. That doesn’t mark the end though, Criterion expanded what Burnout was capable of by creating an open world setting for high-speed madness, Burnout Paradise. They are also responsible for the fairly successful shooter Black. The game is most noted for its award-winning sound quality as well as the destructive environments.
Times have changed and as it would be, Criterion Games has changed as well. The majority of the Criterion family has disbanded, but former vice-president and creative director Alex Ward and former studio director Fiona Sperry have left to create Three Fields Entertainment. With the rest of the Criterion team working on the Need for Speed franchise Three Fields Entertainment intends to create games separate from the racing game standard Criterion was mostly known for.