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The Playstation 4 hasn't had a single good new Arcade Racer in 5 years - why? **Criterion founder Alex Ward responds on page 2!**


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I just want to chime in that i also loved Burnout in the GameCube and Burnout 3 on Xbox. 

 

Something I lament about racers nowadays is the stupid amount of races and tracks in games. Give me a dozen or so evenly matched cars and half a dozen tightly designed tracks any day. I’ve got a family and shit that gets in the way of gaming, I don’t have 100 hours to complete a career mode or unlock 200 different cars. 

 

P.s. good luck with DD. (We’re calling it that right?)

 

Edit: thinking about it, my happiest racing experience of recent times was on the fast and furious freebie on the bone. All killer, no filler (well not too much).

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That's right. 

 

And thanks to this thread (which I only looked in since it mentioned you were posting in here - I don't own a PS4) I just hit amazon up for an old copy of Burnout 2. My wii needs something other to play than Xenoblade. :)

 

Edit: Just seen you are doing a bone version :happy dance:

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With the exception of sega rally criterion made the only racing games I’ve ever actually enjoyed.  It’s never been a genre I’ve enjoyed but someone put burnout 2 on once at a gaming meet and it blew me away. 

 

So so thanks for that. You guys made wonderful games and I look forward to seeing the new game. 

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26 minutes ago, CrashedAlex said:

@wev If we can stay around and continue to make games I promise you we will make a killer open world game..

 

Doesn't have to be open world, it's the handling models that make the game imo and having some elements of reward. Paradise suited where I were within myself at that time, Points of Impact did likewise at that particular moment and so on but if a driving game feels rewarding to play (and gives off that sensation of speed) then it's doing its job right. I think you have to feel that you're both going ridiculously fast but somehow able to push that little harder then having the feedback from the game when you do push too hard that doesn't punish you too heavily. The Burnouts, Ridge 4 (sorry all, RRT4 is the best Ridge, I could play that campaign mode over and over and still enjoy the circuits now!) and AM2s output all do that. 

 

Also a sign of a good racing game is when it's fun just competing against the clock, which is doable even in "racing Sims". I used to love taking the 1971 2000 GT-R up and down the Fuji hill climb courses, just throwing the thing into the corner, not a particularly fast car but great fun and rewarding to drive.

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Here's another thing. I was scoping out Saturn's on eBay earlier because I had the hankering to play me some Sega Rally. Does that game suffer for only three tracks and Three cars? Nope. All the better for it in my mind. It's about you, not which car you've unlocked or which upgrades you've bought.

 

 

Screw it, I'm deleting forza. I ain't got time for that shit.

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I won't go through the entire thread, but just saw the title and went straight to @CrashedAlex's post.  All I can say is that for me I was a Gran Turismo nut, I had Gran Turismo, Gran Turismo 2, Gran Turismo 3, that Gran Turismo Concept game, a Gran Turismo demo featuring BMW cars (for a showroom, apparently), Gran Turismo 4 Prologue, Gran Turismo 4, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue.  In the midst of all that I got handed Burnout 2 by my girlfriend.  My God, this game was amazing, especially the Crash Mode - I even dragged her out of bed to show her this amazing mode, and then when she preceded to set some fantastically high score on one of the tracks in Crash Mode I was up every night for the following month trying to beat it (fantastic times!).  Loved Burnout 3 even more, didn't like Burnout Revenge (thought it had lost the strategic element of the earlier games and gone gratuitious), absolutely loved Burnout Paradise.  When I heard that Criterion had been bought by EA (before Burnout 3) I always thought it was a matter of time before Criterion got to use real cars in a game... and for me Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit was THE game.  THE game!  I then followed up with NFS: Most Wanted and Rivals, but was sad to hear that EA broke up Criterion by shoving most of the developers into a new studio (Ghost Games) and junking what's left of Criterion.  It was also a shame when I also heard that Alex W and the principal others left completely after that.  Still, very interested to see how this new game Alex W and others work out.  I need a new racer, not Gran Turismo and I fear NFS has peaked already.

 

In answer to the OP's question, at least for me, I've always liked to race real cars, so real car racing games have probably appealed more, but I've also liked arcade racers.  I think games like NFS: Hot Pursuit/Most Wanted/Rivals have captured the arcadey/real balance incredibly well, and are far more fun than the ultra-serious Gran Turismo.  I'm definitely going to look at this new arcadey racer that Alex W and others are coming out with - keep up the good work!

 

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@CrashedAlex I have a question about the Burnout games that I've been curious about for a while. The first time I ever heard about Burnout was in Edge's pre-release feature on the first game. One of the things mentioned in that interview that's always stuck in my memory as a great idea was the way that the traffic crossing your path at 90° crossroads was set up to be triggered based on your speed toward the junction, so that almost every time you crossed it, you'd have a spectacular near-miss.

 

But those 90° junctions with traffic crossing your path seemed to get less and less prominent as the series went on.

 

My questions are: what are your memories of developing that feature, and am I right that the de-emphasising of those right-angled crossroads in the sequels was an intentional change?

 

My guess is that those crossroads were a horrendously difficult thing to balance: to make it seem like the player is surviving them fairly, instead of only making it through either thanks to pure random luck in the traffic pattern, or because the game is giving them a helping hand. (And a front-facing camera angle is not good for judging traffic coming at you from the side!) Was this why those junctions became less prominent in the sequels?

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10 hours ago, CrashedAlex said:

The first game was going to be called "NFS Millionaire" and opened with you winning the lottery, having all the world's best supercars delivered to your house before you and your Friends went off and had a lot of car-related "Top Gear" style adventures. This was 2009.

 

Can you make this next pls k thx

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9 hours ago, CrashedAlex said:

@Pob why not come down to Hampshire tomorrow morning? I'd like to satisfy that driving craving...

Hi @CrashedAlex. Thanks a lot for this invite. I would love to but family commitments and all that.

 

Is anyone else taking Alex up on his offer? It'd be brilliant to get some first-hand opinions. The game looks superb.

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@CrashedAlex Your NFS game was the last arcade racer I was excited about and it's the only EA game i've ever bought full price. Which of the other NFS games were you involved in?

 

Dangerous Driving looks great and a step up from Danger Zone...never heard of it before, I just youtubed it. Can I only ask that you don't have enforced time trial races in the main game mode? They really put me off NFS and really wrecked the flow. I just want pure carnage and action packed fun!

 

Is this going to be a digital download game? Any chance of a Switch version!? It would be ideal I think.

 

Your info on the Namco Ridge Racer team is really heartbreaking but not completely surprising. Ridge series high was 20 years ago sadly and I guess every game developers get old and move on. It's sad to see all that talent not get passed on to the next generation.

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Good Morning everyone. Sitting here in the dark waiting for sunrise and then down to our Studio to set up for our open day. All welcome, the codewords is in my original post!

 

@Smoothy EA didn't really break up the Studio. Fiona Sperry (who ran Criterion) and I did intentionally so. We formed a smaller group and we moved out of the corporate building, rented a new one and started work on a new game. Some know that as 'project beyond cars' and it got cancelled a year after I left. That was my idea and was actually called 'project EA' which stood for 'epic adventure' - that's another story, but I wanted to clarify that this 'mysterious EA person' wasn't always calling the shots. It was Fiona and me who decided to go and get NFS for us after seeing EDGE give Undercover 3/10 (as we thought it would after playing the builds)

 

@Nick R You're absolutely spot on. B1 had a lot of triggered traffic. Probably less so after the first game. Looking back that first game was FAR too hard and that was one of the reasons why. However, if it's stuff like that you like - then take a look at our last game "Danger Zone 2" which is Crash Mode set on REAL road junctions in the UK, Spain and America. The entire game is built using traffic running on timers - each one was hand authored and tuned. It's not for everyone, and most people have never heard of it. It's got a bit of B2 Boost Racing in at the end, it has the full spaghetti junction in there, and there's a shit ton of physics going on. If you're into some UK motorway carnage on the actual junctions of the M5, M4, M62 and M6 then I would love to know what you though.

 

@Paulando I think my days with the "NFS franchise" are definitely behind me though. That said, I know me and my team could really smash it by doing what we wanted rather than having the game designed by some market researchers (they were experts at selling a lot of BBQ charcoal and also Bleach though)

 

@Gizamaluke Thanks for the words of support. The whole team at Three Fields Entertainment will enjoy reading them.

 

@probotector that one and the one that came immediately after it. Re Switch version I wrote about that earlier in the thread. Simply don't have the money to be able to do it. Would take a big team of 10-12 six or seven months I think. No probably for a team like that funded by a billion dollar company. Totally out of the reach for a self funded team of seven.

 

@PeteBrant Again thanks for the kind words. You know I wish all developers could receive this sort of encouragement. It really does have such an impact.

 

@skondo Yes. As a staunch Bizarre Creations fan (and lucky enough to visit them a lot on "Fur Fighters' for DC) I was gutted when I heard they weren't going to be around anymore. I heard the founders made something like $40m selling the company, They must have really had a belly full of the industry to simply stop making stuff and put everyone on the street. I loved the Bond game too.

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42 minutes ago, CrashedAlex said:

 

@skondo Yes. As a staunch Bizarre Creations fan (and lucky enough to visit them a lot on "Fur Fighters' for DC) I was gutted when I heard they weren't going to be around anymore. I heard the founders made something like $40m selling the company, They must have really had a belly full of the industry to simply stop making stuff and put everyone on the street. I loved the Bond game too.

 

I worked at Bizarre Creations, on contract, on the Bond game. 

 

The Chudley's sold the studio to Activision but continued to work there although I didn't have any dealings with them. Activision run an independent studio system where they fund the game and seemingly let you get on with making it but the studio lives and dies on how financially successful the game(s) become. I was only there for 10 months as a lowly animator so never got to hear a fraction of what went on but my contract ended in august and the following February(?) they were closed.

 

The Bond game suffered because it had no movie tie-in, iirc there was a script writers dispute going on at the time and the Bond film was on a hiatus. I don't know if there was ever going to be a movie tie-in but with the situation the way it was it was never going to happen. Plus the story for the game had been approved and production was in full swing when I started working there.

 

Blur suffered from horrendous marketing, which was handled by Activision. The basis for the marketing campaign was to essentially slag off Mario Kart as a kids game and promote Blur as the grown up version (anyone remember Brock Lee?). I remember filing out of the weekly company meeting after the launch trailer for the campaign had been shown; people were already muttering about the direction it was going. I think the reasoning was it was hard to sell the idea of real life cars shooting balls of energy at each other but what Marketing came up with seemed to be slightly disrespectful and arrogant at best.

 

It launched a week after Split Second and just before some other racing game so was essentially sent out to die but it had the potential to be a massive and successful game that was a lot of fun to play. The dev team knew how to make a driving game, after all, they had done PGR and F1 previously.

 

 

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Blur is my favourite racing/combat game ever - was always fun no matter where you sat in the pack. Was gutted to see bizarre get killed off the way they did. 

 The Burnout series are a close second in that regard although I have to admit not being as big a fan of the open world in paradise - I much preferred the tighter focused tracks of previous games. 

 Day one for Dangerous driving for me and I’ll be picking up Danger zone 2 when my wages come in - that one entirely passed me by despite owning the original and the golf.

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1 hour ago, CrashedAlex said:

Good Morning everyone. Sitting here in the dark waiting for sunrise and then down to our Studio to set up for our open day. All welcome, the codewords is in my original post.

 

Hi Alex,

 

I so wish I could be in Petersfield today to see how the new game is getting along. I was lucky enough to be in our little Edge games room the first time you showed off Shiny Red Car and it was an honour to see the game at different stages and evolve into Burnout. Wasn't there fuel stops in that first demo build? Or maybe you were thinking of putting them in.

 

On a side note, the only other driving game I've played to death in recent years (I came to it very late) is NFS: Hot Pursuit. It was a game both myself and my son rinsed. Addictive as hell. I didn't know you were responsible but it makes sense now.

 

And Black too. You were kind enough to demo it to me in a dark room with surround sound. Another awesome game in a completely different genre. Still wish you'd made a PSP version though. (Maybe something similar on Switch ;-))

 

Anyway, best of luck with the new game and now I know you're working on it I'll be sure to watch out for updates.

 

And now I'm going to have to get my son to buy Danger Zone 2 with his pocket money. 

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22 minutes ago, CrashedAlex said:

 

 

@Mawdlin IIRC we the EDGE guys weren't around at the time, so we showed one of the accountants and one of the cleaners. which one were you? as for 'stopping for petrol' that was a suggestion Joao made at the time - complete with button bashing. I think his tongue was firmly in his cheek at the time. But thinking a bit more, I think I *might* know who you are. Or maybe a guess based off your forum Avatar. Either way, if you'd like to visit and play, you and your son would be more than welcome.

@Jazz Glands

 

 

Now you mention it Joao Did have a few crazy suggestions now and again. But also some excellent ones. Best boss ever.

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@Mawdlin Hey, what a shame Ricky Jay died the other week eh? Have you ever watched his '52 Assistants' show, it's on YouTube?

 

Joao was the first person I ever showed the software to who not only understood what we were about, but also more importantly, what the core experience was  - which was 'high speed everyday driving' - which obviously is a different sort of driving to what other games in the genre do. Haven't spoken to him in a few years. I did email him and say how I sort of missed seeing him every year. We had him as a Judge in a BAFTA category once and I think everyone in the room loved listening to his speak about each game that was in contention. I met many industry people over the past two decades all over the world. I can count on one hand the people who made an immediate impact on me with their knowledge and passion. Joao is one of those people.

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Here are some pics from the inaugural meeting of the 'Dangerous Driving Club' at TFE18 held earlier today in that mecca of gaming, Petersfield, Hampshire (home of the best arcades in the world)

 

http://www.threefieldsentertainment.com/today-we-opened-our-doors-to-the-players/

 

Beautiful intelligent, racing game veteran players of all ages and from all parts of the country came together in one very cramped office!

 

If you're interested in visiting our Studio, playing our games in development, giving us feedback, and arguing with us as to which version of "Burnout/Ridge Racer/ Gran Turismo' was best then have a click on www.threefieldsentertainment.com/dangerousdrivingclub

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@CrashedAlex Hi Mr Ward, loved your old racing games, especially Burnout 2, which I consider to probably be the best original home console racer ever made. I was curious as to whether it was a decision by EA or yourselves to transition the Burnout series away from being more of a pure racing experience to something closer to a car combat game and then an openworld game? And did similar thinking apply for the Crash mode which morphed over time to be something different to the original version of the idea?
 

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