Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry leave Criterion

Studio co-founders Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry have left EA-owned developer Criterion Games.

"Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry have decided to leave EA," a spokesperson told Polygon. "We appreciate their many contributions through the years and wish them well in their future endeavours.

"The incredibly creative and talented team at Criterion are hard at work on a new project for next-gen consoles as new IP continues to be a major priority across EA. Matt Webster is leading development of the new game and the Criterion studio moving forward. Matt has been part of Criterion for years and has an exciting vision for this new game."

The acclaimed UK studio was formed in 2000 and is responsible for a host of hit games such as the Burnout series and recent Need for Speed release Most Wanted.

NFS was handed to Criterion in mid-2012 although in August of last year stewardship of the IP was handed over to Ghost Games.

Criterion is currently said to be working on an as-of-yet unconfirmed next-gen title.

However, this news bodes poorly for the future of the studio, whose employee count is now incredibly low. In September it was revealed that it was down to as few as 15 workers.

UPDATE: Ward has tweeted that he and Sperry have left to start their own studio:

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