Burnout Paradise Community Day
Written Thursday, February 21, 2008 By David Creech
Last week members of various online communities were flown to San Francisco to spend a day with Craig Sullivan, Lead Designer for Burnout Paradise.
The day started off with breakfast at the hotel where a bowl of cereal cost $15.00. I am not kidding about that, by the way. On the plus side, the waiter was very apologetic when he brought someone the wrong omelet.
After we were done eating we walked over to EA Redwood Shores and got to play Army of Two for 30 minutes. This seemed to be a pretty cool game based around teamwork, and has a couple of cool little features in it. For instance, if you like the job your partner did, you can give him a high five...or you can do what I did: press the wrong button and bitch-slap him.
Next was a tour of the campus (about 2800 people work there for EA), a visit to the EA store (they still sell Tiger Woods 06 for some reason) and then the twelve of us sat down to play some Burnout. The games varied a bit, both individual and team oriented.
The first competition was to get the Millionaire's Club achievement (which I managed to NOT get, sadly enough). Several participants who took instructions better than I walked away with an exclusive BP Millionaire's Club shirt that only developers have had up to this point. FYI, the official recommended spot to do this in is at the bottom left of the map, from the stunt run at the end of the bridge. Head north, taking the first shortcut on the right, spinning off the ramp and through the billboard, then heading up the road to the left. At the intersection, turn right and go all the way up the curves to the jump into the quarry where you want to do a barrel roll (which I actually managed to do backwards, got a 16x multiplyer for that...) After that, jump over the mine shaft (the long ramp up toward the building in the middle, has a long ramp on each side) busting through the billboard. Stick to the right as you land and go up the hill, taking the first left when that is an option. Do a flat spin through the billboard in front of you, then get out of the quarry going out the same place you entered. Go down the hill, do a barrel roll off the superjump, go back to the starting intersection and turn left, hit all the jumps and billboards on the bridge, stick to the right and go through the docks. One of the guys in the room did that and scored 3 million or so, and apparently the developer who designed all the jumps (and online achievements, incidentally) has scored over 100 million on that run. Obviously, any time your multiplier is about to end, tap boost to continue your run.
After that was some team action, where 6 of us grouped together and powered through 25 challenges to see which group could do this fastest. I took the lead on this and directed my group to victory, which scored us a prize for the vault here at x360a.
In the midst of all of this was a chance for each member of the community to meet one on one with Craig. While some did full on video interviews, I shy away from those (my hands shake waaaay to much to use cameras without a tripod due to the caffiene I live on). I had asked our community in advance for input on this session, so here are the answers to the questions YOU wanted to know about:
Q: Are there any expansions to the maps planned? Also in general, what kind of DLC is coming?
A: The best place to look for answers to that is really criteriongames.com where there is a lot of detail on what is coming for DLC. The short answer is that that we are bringing content that is very new and innovative and will dramatically change how the game is played. I think everyone will be very happy with it when they get their hands on it.
Q: Is Criterion planning on adding the ability to restart races?
A: Not at all. In fact, the vast majority of people we have talked to said they preferred this format. I would estimate that out of the millions of players, less than 1000 want the restart option. We purposely designed the format of the game so that if you don't win one particular event, you only have to drive a hundred meters or so to get to the next race. We didn't want an experience of doing the same race over and over again, that just wasn't an organic experience. This approach avoids loading screens and feels much more next gen, which was very important to us, and based on feedback we have received, important to the community as well.
After this was dinner and drinks, all picked up by EA. Overall, it was a great deal of fun and informative as well. Definite thanks to Andrew Wood (EA) for arranging it all and Craig Sullivan for flying over from Guildford for the event. Shout-outs to Stephen Cameron, Neil Sloan, Alex Riviello and Hamsa Aziz as well.