The first video game my son ever played - I mean really played, rather than toyed with - was Burnout Paradise. We played together, but he took control; he decided what he wanted to do and he did it. The 2008 open-world driving title from Criterion, which is being released in a remastered edition on PS4, was a formative entry in the emerging universe of free-roaming multiplayer racers, leading us to the likes of Forza Horizon and The Crew. It gave you a city and a car, and it just said 'drive'. That's exactly what my son did.
Editor's note: As Burnout Paradise finally arrives on the backwards compatibility list for Xbox One, we thought it was time to revisit this astonishing game.
Hello! It's Podcast time, and we have played some gaaaaaaaames. Busy period, right? Lotta ins, lotta outs. Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1, Civ 6? Well don't worry. We have you covered for games. Not any of those games, granted, but still, testify: Beglitched! Book of Demons! Burnout Paradise!
In part one of the Criterion technology interview, Digital Foundry talked in-depth with two of the guiding minds behind the company's approach to the engine side of game-making, discussing the underlying Renderware technology, the team's proven approach to cross-platform development, the move to an open world in Burnout and the evolution of their technology through the use of DLC, with all the issues that entails.
Every Saturday, Digital Foundry takes over the Eurogamer homepage, offering up a mixture of technical retrospectives, performance analyses and new ways to showcase some of gaming's most classic titles. When the opportunity arose to meet up with the Criterion tech team, I jumped at the chance - the aim being to get the full story behind what is one of the most technologically advanced games of this generation: Burnout Paradise.
"Let's just say you have to be very sensible! Very pragmatic. It isn't magic, although perhaps we'd like to say it is."
Like a mum on her kid's first day at school before that dishy gardener shows up, lots of people are worried about Burnout Paradise. And with good reason, too. Paradise's crazed next-gen design document involves no menus, right down to players not having an option to instantly restart challenges, and a focus on online multiplayer that's entirely new to the series. Then there's the removal of Crash mode and the replacing of levels with a single, huge open city.
Burnout is already synonymous with insane speed, great handling and big crashes. So what's next? Well - parking. Obviously.
The announcement of Burnout 5 this week won't have come as a shock to anyone ("Did you honestly think we'd NOT do a Burnout on PS3?!" quips Criterion's ever effusive Alex Ward) - but that doesn't mean we're not excited about the prospect of a next gen overhaul for one of our all-time favourite games.