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Criterion on making a next-gen world

13 December 2007

Criterion Games claims that Burnout Paradise is their first true next-gen game, and we'd have to agree. While Burnout Revenge on the 360 was fun, the game was "very much the warm-up act" for Criterion. Built from the ground up with new code and leading on PlayStation 3, Paradise will feature a fully open, next-generation city.

Scott, an artist at Criterion, recently addressed what went into making Paradise City an immersive, next-gen world.

"In the space of five Burnouts, the world team has modelled well over a dozen US cities. If Paradise City were just a high-resolution version of those, it would have been a failure.

"For the first year and a half, we had to just throw art at the game, and wherever the game crashed or the frame rate dropped became our limits. There was a point where pretty much every art asset became its own mini-R&D exercise, where we would just try things to see if they would work.

"All of this notwithstanding, the world team made Paradise City look 'next-gen' by making it believable. In previous Burnouts, buildings were placed in a way that looked good, or that fitted the reference images we had. In Burnout Paradise, every building had a purpose. The game is set in a single, self-contained city, and the player would expect to find the elements that make a realistic city. Every city has a city hall, or a police HQ, or a residential area, and so on.

"This all sounds very trivial, but the result is more than the sum of its parts. If we made a world where every street just repeatedly had the same five buildings in a row, the player would notice, it would become distracting, and Paradise City would just feel like another bland video game environment. Conversely, if we made a world that satisfied the player's visual expectations (however subconsious those expectations may be), then the world would become immersive. It would become next-gen."

To read the full feature (which we wholeheartedly recommend), check it out right here. Finally, make sure to check out the Burnout Paradise demo, which releases this Thursday on the PlayStation Store.


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