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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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5 minutes ago, CrashedAlex said:

@nakamura I have to say I'm loyal to the original Saturn release - with the JPN joypad. Probably on my own there.

 

Right there with you bro. Very fond memories of Sega Rally on the Saturn with the original pad. The wheel wasn’t great as I recall. I must have played it for hundreds of hours in time attack, just trying to shave a hundredth of a second off my Desert time alone. Fantastic soundtrack to boot. 

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@SeattleStokie I also used to visit "The Silver Coin" as well. (I'm from Trentham originally and went to college in Newcastle - used to play a lot of  R-Type in the arcade next to Sainsbury's opposite the Koh I Noor)

 

@popo - Amen Brother Popo - I think I played for THOUSANDS of hours. And I still was rubbish and plagued with nerves on "Lakeside"

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Good lord. Actual video game royalty on rllmuk (I mean, we've the Pickfords but the novelty has worn off there now, sorry)!

 

I don't know what to add to the thread, but I do want to say that I got an Xbox so I could play Burnout 2 online's challenges, Burnout Paradise (360) is my favourite driving game that doesn't have "Out Run" in the title, and although it wasn't *quite* as good, I loved every second I spent 100%ing NFSMWU and I really, really appreciate that game coming to the Wii U. I got NFSMW for the Vita too and completed that even though I barely touch my Vita.

 

What I'm saying is, another Burnout (ideally Paradise!) with or without the name would be right up my street.

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56 minutes ago, gone fishin' said:

Burnout had a totally hypnotic experience because it was so punishing. One slight crash and you'd struggle to make the time up if the other player was perfect. You'd memorise every point in the track where you could use the boost. Ah, good times. I still play it on the Gamecube to this day.

 

Yeah, I loved the first game - both 1 and 2 were great arcade racers; the first still edges it for me despite some over-sensitive collision detection - especially around joins in road sections.

 

Rear-wheel drive (OK, fake TVR) through the fake NY course in the rain was intense, especially taking the intersections at full speed.

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@deKay I don' think there is such a thing as videogame royalty - at least not in the UK, we're not pop stars...

 

Wii U - there's nothing like a team of engineers trying to go the extra mile and deliver a game right before Christmas only to discover much later on that the company decides to support its release by not physically manufacturing any discs!

 

Hopefully we can go 'right up your street'

 

In fact a few minutes ago one of our longtime fans Brandon, has driven down from Cumbria with his Dad and was the first person outside the team to play the game. He's on site ahead of our open day tomorrow for members of our 'dangerous driving club' - he was straight into it and ruled like a God on a Road Rage on the Island short course. We start tomorrow but he knocked on the door and asked if he could come and have a go as we were testing the build for tomorrow.

 

Arcade driving fans unite! And on Twitter we are @ArcadeDriving where you can read more of my personal favourite all time driving games. Good toilet reading if you ask me.

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@smac We're all waiting for you with Survival Mode in DD. It actually wasn't a fake NY course, it was pretty much a real NYC course and it took ages to do and was the last course to get finished, hours before the Gold Master was burned. Eliminating pop-in was the bane of that track. Done by Omar Siu. He was a hardcore driving game fan as well.

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Y NO SWITCH :(

 

(I totally get it's probably a time/resources thing, but given the release timing and lack of competition it does feel like a platform that could work well)

 

I want snakes drifts on a plane.

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@rgraves Totally hear you. But to do it would take the whole team probably longer than we have to do three platforms just for that one single platform. Right now we just don't have the money to have a go at it. I know it can run "Doom" and all that but we would be looking at months of optimisations trying to claw back performance in each and every frame just to try and make a rough approximation of the PS4 game. We would not want to take it on unless we could do a bang up job. We could more easily make a sequel for three platforms for the cost of having everyone port it to the Switch.

 

It's possible, but with no one backing us it's highly unlikely to happen. Again, you need money to make all these things happen. 

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Call 1-800-PANICBUTTON? ;)

 

Spoiler

I totally get it, but this is just the sort of thing the Switch is lacking right now - look how happy people got when there was wind of Ridge for example.

 

I'd back you on Kickstarter for a Switch port and I don't think I'd be alone....

 

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16 minutes ago, CrashedAlex said:

@smac We're all waiting for you with Survival Mode in DD. It actually wasn't a fake NY course, it was pretty much a real NYC course and it took ages to do and was the last course to get finished, hours before the Gold Master was burned. Eliminating pop-in was the bane of that track. Done by Omar Siu. He was a hardcore driving game fan as well.

 

Even better - one of my all-time favourite gaming experiences, and I've been playing since the mid-70s...

 

There are very few arcade games I consider myself as getting 'good' at (most I get a few hours play out of then move on, dipping back in every now and then). Burnout 1 was one of them - I had to win all of the races, and I just loved that New York course - so short, one crash would pretty much cost you the race. Yer man Omar did a fine job. That apprehension as you barreled up to the intersections, ready to jink left or right to avoid the cross-traffic that you knew was going to be there.

 

As for DD? You had me at 'Burnout'...

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The 'just one more go' joy of the arcade racer. Burnout 2 and NFS Hot Pursuit are two of my absolute favourites. Both games were beautifully put together and are still so much fun.

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@rgraves the best way to support us and support the development of new software is to buy our games. we would love to be able to support all the platforms. we try to set fair and affordable prices and we try our damn hardest to entertain people. are they the best games in the world? No. Not yet. But everyone has to start somewhere. And we get better with each and ever release. We're trying to make bigger games each time and to a higher visual quality.

 

Dangerous Driving has more miles of track in it than probably ALL of the Burnout series of games put together. And the corners are better on every single one of them.

There's a short, long and marathon variation of each one across seven different locations. And then 9 point to point versions for stuff like Pursuits and Face Offs.

Each Burnout game took 12 months (excluding the open world one) with teams of between 35-80 people. There are seven of us. And we started on August 1.

 

If the support is there then we will go wherever arcade racing fans are.

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1 minute ago, CrashedAlex said:

@rgraves the best way to support us and support the development of new software is to buy our games.

 

Oh, trust me, you've had plenty of my cash over the years, I see no reason for that not to continue. It's just a case of 'how much' really.

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@smac Thanks for those words. If Omar reads this I'm sure it will raise a smile. Either that or he fucking hates it these days. 

 

And thanks for the words of your support. My talented team, and ALL of their wives, families and children NEED to hear such words. Because all we've heard again and again is 'you will fail' 'no one cares' 'people only play Fortnite' 'no story? no sale' along with 'looks garbage' - a little bit of encouragement in this world makes a big difference.

 

@skondo It's always a pleasure to hear from "Point of Impact" fans.

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@rgraves thing is when the development team is working through the night and our Bosses were  busy buying yachts, jets, and seats on space rockets it was probably the case that 'the developers' didn't really see any of your money at all. Which can often be a motivating factor to quit and go it alone. So we did.

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5 hours ago, CrashedAlex said:

There are a TON of people in the industry who much prefer to "work on the story" because "working on the game" in reality is often far harder. They (the Hollywood guys) were more interested in having a crack at a NFS movie I think. Or have us make a game based around a movie they wanted to do about illegal moonshiners in the 1930's, the basis of which led to the start of NASCAR. I wasn't up for that, but I must admit seeing what they prepare to pitch a movie was fascinating. They really knew how to set the scene for example.

 

What could have been.

 

 

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@CrashedAlexs game deserves its own thread, so it's got one

 

 

As much as I love Forza and Gran Turismo my racing origins started with Rock n Roll Racing and FZero then progressed to SEGA Rally and Daytona USA CCE on Saturn. My brother had and sold them all as I'd sneak into his room whilst he was still at school/work (there's an 8 year age gap) and beat his lap times, he got so tired of me doing it he, as I said, sold them :lol:

 

Thing is, unlike so-called realistic racers, very few of these games age poorly. SEGA Rally is as playable today as it ever was.

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I lived Burnout 2 so much I rinsed it on PS2 and then did it again on GameCube.

 

Hours and hours of fun.

 

Petersfield isn't far from where I live. Wonder if I can make it tomorrow.

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@James Lyon never seen that before. made me laugh.

 

@wev totally agree. just hearing that bass line on the theme track makes me want to drive it. a friend had a sticker on his Lancia which said "FLY Air Lancia' and he bought it after wanting one playing the game all year long. He once out-ran the police in it, turned into a housing estate, knocked it into someone's drive and got the headlights off. turned out there was only one entrance to said estate. waited half an hour then attempted to drive home. police blocking the only exit. approached his Lancia with a 'nice try, Sir!"

 

@teddymeow Burnout 2? On PS3? One of the original fat machines then? More than welcome tomorrow from 10am.

 

@deerokus Make me feel good to know that so many Burnout 2 fans are in fact, still alive.

 

@parrapatheslapperI love you too. 

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7 hours ago, CrashedAlex said:

Hello,

 

I'm Alex Ward and I founded Criterion Games in 2000. I started off the "Burnout" series and was the Creative Director of all of the Criterion titles 1999-2014.

So that was Burnout, Burnout 2 Point of Impact, Burnout 3 Takedown, Burnout Revenge, BLACK, Burnout Paradise, then I took on Need for Speed for a few years and those games were Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and then Need for Speed Most Wanted.

 

I grew up in the 1970's and 1980's so the most influential period of my gaming life was the coin-op era from 1985 through to 1995. Driving games have been my main passion so that's why when I became a developer and started the first "Burnout" - it was because I was very into "OutRun" "Thrill Drive" a LOT of "Sega Rally" and a bit of 3DO "Need for Speed." 

 

I left EA nearly five years ago and formed my own Studio, Three Fields Entertainment.

 

After 14 years of finding myself sat in rooms every year trying to explain to people who for the most part didn't own consoles, didn't play games and never knew what arcades were what arcade driving games were about, why they were fun and what the genre was and wasn't - I decided to return to working with a small team making whatever we wanted and releasing the games ourselves. Which is just how "Burnout 1" or "Shiny Red Car" was started.

 

The genre has never been popular with publishers or marketers or PR's. With fake cars and made up courses built for scenic beauty,  a feeling of flow on each track, and massive drifts there's nothing for them to bring to the table, apart from some music licensing maybe. The best they could usually offer was a glamour model to appear on the box or to pay them to wear a T-Shirt with the game logo on for an hour and get it in "the Daily Star."

 

I've been told professionally that arcade games aren't popular since 1999. But the "Burnout" series provided jobs and steady employment for a lot of people for 14 years. Since  "Burnout 2 Point of Impact" in 2002 I was told that we 'really needed more celebrities' and "hot chicks" in our game because when we went to events it was just us and a PS2 game disc to show. At glitzy shows full of "booth babes" , as yet unreleased cars and celebrity signing stations, we were just left with "a really good 60fps videogame we'd made." 

 

I heard many many times from the folks who had to market, sell and PR games that 'we sell what is ON the box not what is IN the box.'

 

"Burnout 3" won GOTY from both US OPM and US OXM and was EA's highest rated game at the time they bought our company in 2004. But I was always told that consumers would always choose "Gran Turismo" or "Need for Speed" over our games. Again, no-one likes arcade games right? And our stuff didn't have 'cultural relevance.'

 

"Burnout Revenge" had a funny name because someone at EA Redwood Shores decided that "no successful entertainment property can ever have the No.4 in it" so "Burnout 4: Rush Hour" became "Burnout Revenge" instead.

 

Then we made "Burnout Paradise" open world because we were able to do something different, and somehow making an 60fps open world game on hardware that was a real pain to work on seemed like a good idea at the time. The racing wasn't the same as the others, but the game broke new ground in offering different types of experiences. It was one of the few PS3 games out there that let children drive around without being stopped by a Timer or be continually told 'they had failed' all the time.

 

After the Canadian NFS team released a couple of stinkers, I made a phone call - asked to do it, and ten minutes later, the "Burnout" guys were doing "Need for Speed." 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.

 

We burned a bit of time trying to start that, but as Occupy took over NYC I was told by the Leader of the company that "it's not a cool thing to be a millionaire at the moment' and then "your positioning is not as good as MY positioning of hot cars and hot chicks." (there's that line again..) Matt Webster (who now runs Criterion) was sitting next to me and muttered aloud "well how come they sell so many fucking lottery tickets then?" but we all knew then that our heavily online Friends-focused concept was a non-starter.

With just over a year left we decided to 'give the people what they want' (and by that we meant the US Mktg people) so "NFS Hot Pursuit" (2010) was born. That was a shorthand for "'let's make Burnout 3 but with real cars, big drifts and James Bond style car weapons.'

 

After that game I was done I was told that the next one "had to be either Most Wanted or Undergound again." I never liked NFS Underground that much so I chose "Most Wanted". It wasn't as easy to make as "Hot Pursuit" and we were also setting up Ghost Games to do "Hot Pursuit 2" because 'new team, new studio, new game, new hardware' would have been too much.

We went down a lot of dead ends - trying to get Spotify integrated into the game with specific songs tied to specific events and working with Michael Bay's team to write and direct the live action cutscenes for the game. In the end I felt the game was OK, but not as good as it could have been. We also had to do a Vita SKU and then a Wii U SKU, and I think the main game would have finished more strongly if we hadn't been tied up doing those platforms at the same time.

 

TL;DR - I'm now making "Dangerous Driving" for PS4, Xbox One and PC. It's coming on Feb 22 2019. We are a small team of seven people and we started last August. Yesterday IGN First featured a brief glimpse of some footage of all the game modes from footage we captured last week. They didn't show everything we sent them, and the questions I answered were also edited. We'll be showing more of the game over the next two months. It isn't even at Alpha stage yet.

The game features all of the great game modes that featured in all of the "Burnout" games - from "Survival" from B1, to the style of "boost chain" racing and "Pursuit Mode" from Burnout 2, to "Takedown Races" and "Road Rage" from B3 and Revenge.

 

So another TL;DR - there ARE arcade racers being made and coming to PS4. You might not know they exist because in a highly competitive market, it's increasingly more difficult to get recognised. A nod to Ryan at IGN for being a longtime fan of the genre and for covering our game.

 

We make what we make because it's what we know and we love the genre, passionately.  It's not for everyone, nor will it ever be 'the biggest genre in the world.'

 

Tomorrow we have an open day at our office in Petersfield from 10am. If you want to come and play the game you are more than welcome. Just say the secret codeword 'Magical Sound Shower' at the door. We're five minutes from the train station and just behind the Premier Inn. If not, you can get regular updates by signing up to our newsletter at www.threefieldsentertainment.com/dangerousdrivingclub

 

And I loved the comment earlier that said "I can bet they never ever set foot in an arcade!" that made my day. I can only agree!

 

Thank you for an interesting post. I haven't played a racing game in ages, but I look forward to buying Dangerous Driving. Developers making what they love and belive in is more important to me than genres. 

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@Stevie There are some still good ones out there. Thanks for your comment.

 

I agree, which is why I have been a lifelong follower of Jeff Minter at Llamasoft. He has always been an inspiration to me since I first saw him in “Personal Computer Games Magazine” in the early 1980’s. He is still going, still making games, has never given up.

 

Now that is true gaming prowess.

 

I firmly believe that the UK has and makes the best games programmers. Totally shit weather probably has something to do with it. 

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I can only wonder what Namco is thinking not making a proper Ridge Racer for however many years now. It's not like they don't know how arcade games work, it's still very much a part of their DNA and identity. Hrm. :(

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@NEG Thing is it’s development Staff that make games. I used to know a couple of the Ridge team. Don’t think any of them are there anymore. People get older, get families and sometimes making games can be a real pain. Namco could ring me up anytime for a new “Ridge Racer” but I bet no one there have ever played any of my games.

 

That said, Suda-51 told me a load of JPN devs used Paradise as a chat room most nights...

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