Like many others in the gaming media, we are guilty of perpetuating the hype/neglect cycle. We preview all the new and exciting releases, and then a month after a title’s release, rarely mention them again. In this filthy internet culture, page views are our currency, and last month’ mainstream title doesn’t garner as much attention as tomorrow’s niche release.
While many games are filed away in our dust-collecting cases upon completion (or often times, exhaustion), one title seem to consistently return to our console’s drive-tray, Burnout Paradise. We have been fans of developer Criterion’s work –from the careful crafting of the Burnout series to the mastery of the first person shooter with Black. They are a developer willing to take risks. Criterion could have merely added new crash junctions and tracks after Burnout Revenge, creating a predictable sequel that would have sold well. Instead, they rethought and rebuilt Paradise around an active online, multiplayer aspect. While some critics and fans bemoaned the change, keeping the aging franchise fresh was clearly Criterion’s goal.
So unlike many developers who release a game, then begin work on their next title, the developers of Paradise have been working steadily. Upon release, the game was patched to version 1.1, and then three months later, the “Bogart” patch was released. This title update remedied many of the small, nagging idiosyncrasies of the game, while ironing out the 360’s framerate.
Now, this July 10th the third update, entitled, “Cagney”, will add the following new features:
– Three new online Game Modes: Stunt Run, Road Rage, and Marked Man.
– Seventy new timed online challenges, where a group of players have a limited time to pull off as many stunts as possible.
– Improved support for owners of 1080i, and SD television sets.
– Support for custom soundtracks.
– New vehicles
Due in August, is the “Davis” update, that will bring an additional island, night racing, and motorcycles to the game. Unlike most other companies, who charge for any additional content, Criterion will be offering everything except for the motorcycles free of cost. We wish more developers would follow this route, allowing their games to grow and change, and avoiding stagnation.
Finally, “Eastwood”, which is due in the fall, will bring additional islands to the game, which will be accessible via the two existing bridges in the downtown area of the game.
We at Tech-Gaming applaud Criterion’s efforts. As a developer, they seem to be rethinking the existing paradigm of a short-term sales approach. By continuing to add and change Burnout Paradise long past its’ initial release, they are reshaping the model of critical and commercial success. Kudos!