Former EA veterans form new studio, Fuse Games
"Once we select a genre, we want to lead that genre.”
Back in December, five of Criterion’s veterans left the studio. Now, the five have come together to form an all-new studio, Fuse Games (thanks, GamesIndustry.biz)!
Fuse Games is currently comprised of studio general manager Matt Webster, head of content Steve Uphill, head of technology Andrei Shires, head of operations Alan McDairmant, and head of production Pete Lake.
All five of the individuals held senior positions with Criterion, with all members of the team being with the studio for a decade, if not longer. Matt Webster worked with Criterion and EA since 1990, with Pete Lake joining six-years later, and so forth.
Needless to say, some of the most talented minds at Criterion have now officially set sail on their own project.
According to Christopher Dring of GamesIndustry.biz, the team is currently in the process of finding a new office in Guildford, UK, where it will adopt a hybrid-working approach. The team has apparently done some planning for its first game already, which will be a triple-A release on PC and consoles.
As for what the game will entail, or if it will bear any similarities to the games Criterion are known for, the future is unknown. “We have played around in other genres over the years, including Battlefront, Battlefield… VR. We know what we are good at, and that spans a broad range of things now. Once we select a genre, we want to lead that genre,” shares Webster.
Given just how long Matt Webster and co. were with Criterion and EA, their departure came as a surprise. After all, Webster was a grand part of the team that created FIFA. When asked about it, Webster shares that, “I love EA. I learnt everything there. I celebrated a milestone birthday last summer, and - as you do as you get older - I started to think about what’s next?”
“I’m glad I didn’t talk myself out of it this time,” Webster adds. He then details just how difficult it was to leave EA, and how fun it was starting out with the team in 1990. All in all, Webster speaks very highly, and even more affectionately, about his time with EA. Although, he notes that, “I am looking forward to having new experiences outside of it.”
Fuse Games’ head of content, Steve Uphill, also left EA after a decade with the publisher. Unlike Webster, however, he does have some experience in forming his own indie studio.
“When I did this before, I didn’t quite have the right mix of people. That was fine for the first six or 12 months, during that honeymoon period. But when you have to make a game, it really is all about the people. This time, all the co-founders have worked together for a long time. And the group under us, the project leaders, we have a strong bunch of people there,” Uphill details.
Uphill follows up by saying, “I am feeling more confident than I did at the same point when I did this before.”
All in all, it seems that the founders and studio heads over at the newly formed Fuse Games know exactly what they’re doing. After all, these are some of the best in the business. Let’s just hope they can maintain their momentum and confidence when the development and launch of this triple-A title rolls around.
I sincerely look forward to seeing what these folk think up and create. What do you reckon to the new studio? Are you hopeful? Catch the full interview with Matt Webster and Steve Uphill over on GamesIndustry.biz!