Outside the Box

Outside the Box
Vroom with a View

Graeme Virtue | 20 Jan 2009 11:54
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TE: That update included some car livery designs created by a Burnout fan. What have been some of your other favorite moments of community interaction?

PL: We had some people turn up at the studio one day. They were some people we talk to on the forums who said, "Yeah, we're in England next week, can we drop by?" So we welcomed them and showed them around. And people are always sending us things. We had an American cop who sent us a police patch. It's a big thing in the U.S. - he said officers trade patches with each other to show "brotherhood and respect." So that was cool.

TE: Especially considering there isn't much of a police presence in the game ...

PL: At least they get some special police cars to drive.

TE: Then, last September, came the bikes ...

PL: It was a smaller update than Cagney in some ways, because it was really just the bikes and also the new day/night cycle, but it was fantastic to get it out there. It showed that the game doesn't have to stand still; you can have a completely different way of experiencing all the gameplay.

TE: Criterion had never made a bike game before. Was it a risk?


PL: It was a good risk because it was fun. We began last year saying we wanted to make game-changing content so we'd have meetings where we'd ask: Right, what's the craziest thing we could possibly do that no one will expect? Let's take all the things we love about Burnout - driving fast, skidding 'round corners and doing stunts - and just do them in a completely different way and offer people something brand new. Once we got it running, we spent a lot of time getting the handling right. We didn't want to make a bike simulation. We wanted to make a Burnout with bikes.

TE: Last October, nine months after Criterion released the game, you clocked the most players online simultaneously. Did that feel like a vindication of your strategy?

PL: It did. We were obviously watching how many people were downloading the update, but then to see them playing it and sharing it with other people online, it just showed that games don't have to die after a few months of playing them. They don't need to get traded in or just sit on the shelf. People were going back to the product. Anyone who makes games would be happy to know that their game is still being played nine months after release.

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