Burnout 5 • Page 2

Alex Ward on Criterion's next gen reinvention.

Eurogamer: Online play in Revenge (particularly the 360 version) was definitely a big improvement on Takedown, but there's still the feeling that Criterion could go further in seamlessly integrating the single player/offline element in the way Project Gotham does. Can we expect a greater emphasis on the online element this time?

Alex Ward: Yes. I think all games are moving towards heavy online gameplay. We've certainly got some great ideas for that area.

Eurogamer: Traffic checking was Revenge's 'big idea' but not everyone liked it. Will it be in 5? What's the big new addition to 5?

Alex Ward: The big idea for Revenge was actually Revenge Takedowns and how they work. Traffic Attack is just a fun game mode. There is a lot of sublime gameplay in there. Personally, I'm not a fan of boiling down a couple of years work to one big idea. It's more of a central experience. The Burnout Experience.

Eurogamer: How's life at Criterion since the EA acquisition? How has the company culture changed?

Alex Ward: The culture of the company hasn't changed at all. We're still Criterion. Always have been. Always will be.

Eurogamer: With Fiona Sperry taking over as EA UK Studio's general manager recently, is there a sense that Criterion has taken over EA's UK development - rather than vice versa?

Alex Ward: I can't speak for Fiona. You'd have to ask her that one. I just make games.

legends
The PSP's Burnout Legends.

Eurogamer: EA gets accused of not producing enough original IP, and of churning out sequels. How concerned are you about being tarred with the same brush now that you're onto your fifth Burnout?

Alex Ward: Not concerned one bit. Burnout was an original game started by myself and my team. Same with Black. They have all been incredibly successful.

It's been a great generation of gaming for us and we're excited to move forward into another one.

Do you honestly think we'd NOT do Burnout on the PS3?

Our critics forget that games like Burnout, Black, Army of Two - which is really incredible by the way - Need for Speed, The Sims and Medal of Honour - these are all original properties that are 100 per cent owned by Electronic Arts. That's quite a line-up.

Eurogamer: How hard is it for a company like EA to hang on to talented staff? Is the rate of staff turnover high, and does that present a problem for your projects?

Alex Ward: To be at Criterion, you have to be exceptionally talented. Across the company, the whole of EA, we have some of the best game makers I have ever met.

Eurogamer: Is your focus entirely on Burnout at the moment, or are you working on other IP as well? A Black sequel perhaps?

Alex Ward: I am working on about six or seven projects right now.

The Black Team are overseas at the moment. I occasionally receive postcards from them from time to time.The last one came from a location marked '2900 E.Trop.' They are a mysterious bunch.

revenge
Burnout Revenge on the Xbox 360.

Eurogamer: Is Criterion now an exclusively next gen developer? Do you think there's any life left in PS2/Xbox?

Alex Ward: We work on anything that is interesting to us.

Eurogamer: Were you surprised by the level of success that Burnout Legends on the PSP had? It stuck to a much older model of gameplay than Burnout: Revenge had, but seemed to go down better with both critics and consumers...

Alex Ward: Not really. It did really really well. The team did a good job. The design was very deliberate.

Eurogamer: The DS version was less well received. Why do you think that was? Are you likely to do further Burnout games for DS?

Alex Ward: Probably because it was not developed by us. We might do something, you will have to wait and see.

Eurogamer: EA Mobile has had success with bringing Need For Speed to mobile phones. Could we see Burnout on mobiles one day? Is mobile gaming something Criterion is interested in?

Alex Ward: Right now it is not something we are doing. But that may change in the future.

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Kristan Reed

Kristan Reed

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Kristan is a former editor of Eurogamer, dad, Stone Roses bore and Norwich City supporter who sometimes mutters optimistically about Team Silent getting back together.

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