Burnout Paradise 2: Five Ways Criterion Can Improve The Series
Burnout Paradise was arguably the defining arcade racer of this generation; a sprawling, ambitious statement of intent from one of the world’s most talented studios.
Now, Criterion dev Alex Ward has tweeted asking fans what they’d like to see in a Burnout Paradise 2.
We’ve responded, with the five things we want to see the series do next on PS4 and Xbox 720 – and what we want to stay the same.
Open World 2.0
Criterion is the master of open-world racing, so rest assured expansive areas and open-plan speeding is here to stay.
But with the power of next-gen, Burnout Paradise 2 can make a bold statement about what can be achieved with all that extra grunt: the largest ever open racer, with giant cliffs, sprawling lakes and enormous deserts the norm.
Criterion’s other two racers, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit and Need For Speed: Most Wanted both perfected Paradise’s vision of inner-city racing with adjoining countryside. Paradise 2 could be the evolution of that: Open World 2.0.
We could even see multiple cities linked up, GTA: San Andreas style. Imagine having forests winding up hillsides, with muddy, claustrophobic dirt tracks sprawling through the trees and huge jumps over crystal-clear reservoirs, nestled neatly between two skyscraper-packed cities.
Similarly, a network of underground tunnels beneath the city for fast travel and stunt runs would be a neat way of expanding the game without making the city too large.
Paradise 2 could almost become a racing MMO: imagine if every car driving round Paradise’s world was another person, with people populating car lots and race events all over the map.
‘Lobbies’ no longer become rooms, nor internet racing something you switch on and off via Autolog.
You could play single-player events or pull up on the side of the road to join a lobby full of cars, represented by a group of vehicles in a car park or showroom, a sign overhead displaying the race event they’re currently in and the time remaining. Always online, even if you’re playing single-player.
We’d also like to see the lessons Criterion has learned from its three racers this gen to be applied to Paradise 2: Autolog, instant event restarts and cars available across the map, waiting to be driven.
Planes, Choppers and Boats
Add-ons for Paradise brought bikes and a day/night cycle, but the long-rumoured planes never took flight, despite Criterion itself confirming it was working on aeroplanes (and a set of plane-based-races) for the game’s updates.
Helicopters were also announced officially on Criterion’s website, with the idea being to have a set of co-op events which would see chopper pilots and on-ground vehicles team up to take on challenges.
Sadly, copters were canned due to problems with invisible walls. But a city built from the ground up with flying machines in mind? It’s a possibility.
Boats were also rumoured after the Big Surf Island DLC pack, but never surfaced.
We’d love to see the long-teased vehicle types make it into the sequel.
Another feature planned but left on the drawing board, Criterion originally wanted to have an expansion pack which would take players to The Moon for a series of zero-gravity challenges, but were unable to do so due to the DLC contract with EA limiting the devs to one pack (Big Surf Island). Well, that is if you believe the unofficial Burnout Wiki.
Either way, we’d love to see the big ball of extra-terrestrial cheese snuck into the sequel, either as a hidden unlockable or a DLC pack.
Slicker Stunts & Sicker Crashes
Crash mode was a fan-favourite in Burnout 3 and Burnout Revenge, but the feature was largely irrelevant in Paradise.
Burnout Paradise tasked players with setting scores on every road, but subsequently lacked focus.
Paradise 2 would naturally have a larger map – perhaps crash-specific areas, built purely for the mode, could be created, with entire junctions designed solely for the purpose of smashing up cars for the largest score. This would be closer to the PS2/Xbox originals, but without detracting from the open-world.
Please don’t change this, Criterion…
Tweaks and changes are all well and good, but the Burnout formula needs to be kept intact, too. Here’s three things we need to see in the next installment:
Rock ‘n’ Roll
From Guns ‘n’ Roses to Maxine, Funeral For A Friend and Soundgarden, Burnout Paradise had an identity borne out of classic rock and modern indie.
Naturally, the music scene has evolved since then, but we want to see Burnout stick to mostly guitar-led genres and not sell out to the evils of wub-wub dubstep.
Arcadey Handling & Takedown Focus
Need For Speed: Most Wanted is a little classier than Paradise, in the sense that it uses real cars, with realistic handling and, while still an arcade racer, a focus on being believable.
Burnout doesn’t need to do this. It knows it’s a hyper-arcadey racer with cars that are mere caricatures, not real vehicles. It means it can unleash sideways-comfortable, light-as supercars that don’t feel heavy, just a blast to throw around. Let NFS do realistic arcade racing, and let Burnout be Burnout.
Similarly, push the focus on badass takedowns – the very feature Burnout popularised in the first place.
More Amazing DLC Support
Burnout Paradise’s ‘Year Of Paradise’ in 2008-2009 was one of the highlights of the generation. Free DLC for 365 days brought new cars, modes, bikes, day/night, events – all sorts of amazing content, completely free. It made Paradise a no-brainer purchase, and kept the game alive on store shelves for years.
We’d love to see the same again: a Paradise 2 that can last much of the next-generation with the loving support of Criterion’s finest.
So that’s our wishlist. Of course, we don’t know for sure yet that Paradise 2 is in the works – but we’d be surprised if it didn’t surface next-gen.
What would you like to see in the series next?