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A Brief History Of Burnout

Learn more about one of the most iconic franchises in arcade racing history

Behind Closed Doors

Burnout is the first name in arcade racing. Developed by Criterion Games it became known for its arcade-fuelled action, high-flying stunts, amazing crash sequences, slow motion replays and vehicular destruction. These elements have given Burnout a reputation as being one of the greatest names in arcade racing.

Join us as we take you through a brief history of one of the world’s most popular gaming franchises.

In November 2001, Burnout was introduced to the world, bringing with it over-the-top crashes and high-risk gameplay, as players race at breakneck speed. Its locations were inspired by real-wide cities, distinguished through their environments and the vehicles that populate them.

Through modes like Championship, players compete against other cars in a bid to come first on various courses peppered with road traffic, on-coming traffic, cross junctions, and obstacles.

Crashing is an iconic element to Burnout's gameplay. Every accident is highlighted and replayed through a number of camera angles, and if the game's Replay Mode was activated, they could be relived in slow-motion and rotated through the use of a 360°camera.

Players also needed to accumulate Boost, which temporarily increases a cars speed. Other acts of reckless driving such as drifting around corners, near misses with traffic and driving into oncoming lanes, also help increase Boost.

Burnout is one of the most intense and entertaining racing games ever. It was only a matter of time before a sequel was on the horizon, and In October 2002, Burnout 2: Point of Impact launched.

Point of Impact brought with it 30 new levels with weather effects, heart-stopping chases in Police Pursuit Mode, and the opportunity to learn maneuvers in Offensive Driving School.

Championship Mode was key to unlocking new cars and tracks, which could then be carried over to other modes like Pursuit, Point to Point and Crash; where players earn points by causing damage to other vehicles.

It generated huge excitement on its release, and that same excitement carried over to the third installment to the series.

In 2004 Burnout 3: Takedown launched to critical acclaim. It’s addictive gameplay, stunning visuals and dynamic soundtrack saw it become one of the highest rated racing video games of all time.

Enthused with fast-paced driving, players took to the streets with a goal of taking down the competition. Fuelled by some of the most spectacular crashes, roadsides were left decorated with the remains of opponents.

A core gameplay mechanic, Takedowns are when you use your vehicle to nudge rivals and shunt opposing vehicles until they crash. One of the more common variations is the Wall Takedown. As the name suggests, this occurred when you smash a rival, often in a satisfying manner, straight into a wall.

Other variations in Burnout 3 include: Psyche-Out Takedown, Grinding Takedown, Multi-Takedown and the Total Takedown, which would only be achieved when five rivals are taken out all at once.

The game's Aftertouch feature allows players to move their car when crashing. When coupled with Impact Time (a slow-motion effect) it can be used for another type of Takedown, the aptly named Aftertouch. Perfect for getting that last little bit of revenge and placing your smashed-up car directly into the path of oncoming rivals.

Boost changed dramatically in Takedown, allowing it to be used immediately, but as with previous iterations, could be topped up with outlandish driving. However, should you crash, then you’ll soon find your Boost meter empty.

Gaming modes such as Road Rage, Single Races, World-Tour and events like Grand Prix, added a new layer of versatility to gameplay.

Featuring 40 different tracks and 72 vehicles available to unlock over three continents, Burnout 3: Takedown gives players an experience across a broad range of conditions, environments and unique crash junctions.

Fast forward one year to 2005 and Burnout Revenge was released. This time around, the focus was on an utter disregard for the rules of the road and total domination through a mixture of racing, and ultimate brutal car combat.

Every vehicle on the road is in play and a potential target. Ramming traffic into rivals, orchestrating multi-car pile ups and laying waste to everything in sight amplify the games maximum carnage potential. Tracks in Burnout Revenge are littered with massive jumps, multiple paths to take and nasty chokepoints, delivering the ultimate in vehicular anarchy.

As with its predecessor, vehicle deformation remains an integral gameplay experience. In Revenge, localized scratch, crumple and scorch maps help deliver Hollywood-inspired special effects and bigger explosions than previously seen within the series.

All new modes like Traffic Attack pits players against the clock in a dash for destruction, to level traffic by any means necessary. Other avenues for destruction come through Vertical Takedowns where airborne cars land on unsuspecting opponents; and Traffic Takedowns, giving players the ability to nudge commuters into rivals.

Later in 2005, Burnout Legends launched exclusively for handheld devices, featuring a combination of gameplay modes, alongside new and old tracks and vehicles from previous Burnout games.

Through a number of modes like Pursuit, where players were able to play as cops in order to take out racers; to unlock new tracks, cars, and events.

By March 2007, the most intense and challenging installment in the series raced onto the road. In Burnout Dominator players engage in every type of dangerous driving imaginable.

An unwavering assault on the senses, Dominator boasts signature shortcuts on every track, revealed by slamming the competition through shortcut entrances.

Complete a series of challenges to progress to the deadly Dominator series. This mode sees high scores set for Maniac Mode, Road Rage, Race and Time Attack without some of the combination restrictions that exist in the World Tour mode.

Draining Boost meters to perform Burnouts in-race, returns an instant Boost recharges. This process can be continually repeated, allowing players to achieve a Burnout Chain.

With tons of unlockable features and awards, Burnout Dominator has kept its fans engaged with a notable vehicular combat experience.

Three years later In January 2008, a complete reinvention of the Burnout series came in the form of Burnout Paradise. Its excellent sense of speed and redefining open world experience excited players around the world.

Players are introduced to Paradise City, a fictional setting and freshly designed playground filled with the most exciting jumps, gripping races and unrivaled excitement at every intersection.

Burnout Paradise also has its own police force - the PCPD, or Paradise City Police Department. Located in Downtown Paradise, Silver Lake and Big Surf Island, they keep Paradise’s hectic freeways and sweeping mountain roads safe for all.

Showtime, previously known as Crash Mode, lets players crash anywhere, anytime, leaving a trail of expensive wreckage in their wake. Unlike previous Burnout games, the newly renamed mode can be initiated at any time and place in the game.

Burnout Paradise's damage system changed too with cars dynamically compressing and deforming around the objects they crash into, bringing with it Driveaway and Wrecked states.

Multiple petrol stations dotted throughout Paradise allow players to top-up Boost. Need assistance with car damage? Drive through a garage forecourt for instant repairs.

Burnout Paradise removes all restrictions, breaks all the rules and puts the control in the hands of players across 250 miles of open road and 120 unique events.

Hours of reckless chaos continued with Burnout CRASH! when it released in 2011. Its top-down perspective provides a full view of each location, providing the opportunity to strategize and plan destruction to achieve high scores.

Three explosive game modes available across 18 crash junctions in six unique locations, require different skills and strategies to maximise damage and destroy everything in sight

The Burnout series has always been about high-speed racing, breath-taking crashes and vehicular destruction. It’s a series adored by millions of fans around the world with a dedicated fan base who can now relive one of the greatest arcade-driving games ever, with the recent release of Burnout Paradise Remastered.

Most of the bikes and cars from the original version have been rendered in jaw-droppingly high resolution, with Stellar Entertainment ready to show a new generation of consoles the true definition of a “smash hit.”

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