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Spend Christmas in Paradise with Xbox One!

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Paradise Now On Xbox One
In 2015, Microsoft announced the Xbox One backwards-compatibility programme, allowing Xbox One owners to play some classic Xbox 360 games on their current-gen console. It wasn’t long before Criterion fans were demanding we pull together an Xbox One release for the Xbox 360 version of Burnout Paradise.

Every week – every DAY! – we’ve had questions through our mailbag, Twitter feed and Facebook pages wondering when it would arrive, and we’re overjoyed that, thanks to our boys at Microsoft who did all the heavy lifting, we can finally announce that Burnout Paradise 360 is available to play on Xbox One as of November 22nd 2016!

Anyone who already owns a physical copy of the game just has to insert the disc into their Xbox One and, as long as you’re connected to Xbox Live, it will download what’s required to make the game play. If you own a digital copy the game should appear in your READY TO INSTALL list. This is version 1.9 of Burnout Paradise, equivalent to the Ultimate Box, which includes all free updates. If you purchased a standard edition, the game should update itself. If you purchased any additional content this should carry over – check your READY TO INSTALL list.

If you don’t already own the game, we’re also super-pleased to announce, that, from December 16th to December 30th 2016, Burnout Paradise 360 is FREE for Xbox Live Gold subscribers through the Games With Gold programme.

To celebrate, some of the original Paradise team will be joining the community with some online play-sessions during November and December. We’re also going to be broadcasting our games through Twitch. Watch our Twitter feed for times and dates and be sure to join CriterionAlpha and CriterionBeta for some flat spins in the abandoned airfield and takedowns on the streets of Paradise City.

Come with us and spend your Christmas in Paradise!

::UPDATE::

If DLC that you’ve previously bought (eg. Big Surf Island) doesn’t show up as available in the game, try this solution:

  1. Turn your console off, then turn it back on, or make sure that the game isn’t running.
  2. With Burnout Paradise highlighted on the home screen or in your games library, press the MENU button (with the three lines on it) and select MANAGE GAME.
  3. Uninstall the game, then select READY TO INSTALL in the menu on the left of the screen. Burnout Paradise should appear with the game content you’ve already bought listed below it.
  4. Set it downloading and the extra content should install as well.

Sorry for the problem!

Star Wars Battlefront – Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission

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Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission

To work on a hot new technology is something that always gets the adrenalin pumping at Criterion – but to do that AND do it to make a game set in the Star Wars universe is blowing our tiny minds! And to tie it in 

In association with DICE and LucasFilm, Criterion is creating Star Wars Battlefront – Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission for release in holiday season 2016, exclusively for PlayStation VR. The game got its first showing with a short playable demo at Gamescom 2016 in Cologne in August.

Criterion’s James ‘Sven’ Svensson, was there with some of the Criterion team and this is what he had to say to the guys at PlayStation.Blog.

Q: What has your role been during development of Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-wing VR Mission?

James Svensson: I’m a Producer at Criterion Games in the UK. My role is to guide the game to be a great, fun, and authentic experience and to support the team in any way I can. For the past few months, my office chair has been an X-wing cockpit. Doesn’t get much better.

How did the studio decide to develop a VR experience for Star Wars Battlefront?

JS: Criterion has a passion for making spectacular vehicle action games, and we had a lot of fun making the speeder bikes for Star Wars Battlefront. This was the perfect opportunity to apply our passion to something new — a new way for people to connect to Star Wars in a spectacular X-wing VR gaming experience.

At E3, we saw the Star Destroyer looming overhead. Can you tell us more about how this plays in the Mission?

JS: These things are huge and powerful with a belly full of TIE fighters. Being in a fight with a Star Destroyer is not a situation an X-wing pilot wants to find themselves in, but that’s where the player ends up. The player will have to keep their wits about them, with intense battle ensuing from every direction, to keep them and their wingmen alive as they complete a critical mission for the Rebellion.

How is the X-wing mission integrated into the current Star Wars Battlefront setting?

JS: Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-wing VR Mission is an extension of the base game, which is known as a truly authentic Star Wars video game. It’s been really important for us to hit that high bar, working closely with Lucasfilm to ensure that the VR experience is fun and exciting for Star Wars fans. The VR Mission will be available for free to all owners of Star Wars Battlefront and a PlayStation VR headset on PS4.

The name is different from when we last heard. Is this now focused on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?

JS: Rogue One is in the same time period the base game covers, so to be relevant in the ever-evolving Star Wars universe we’ve since been able to work with Lucasfilm to make the connection here.

How did the team create an immersive environment for the experience?

JS: Frostbite allows us to deliver the best-looking game on PS VR, and we were able to leverage the latest rendering technologies from across EA. But also, the positional audio on PS VR is awesome — there’s a point where everything looks and sounds good enough and your brain is tricked into believing what’s around you.

What are the intricacies of developing on a new gaming platform?

JS: VR isn’t just a new platform, it’s a new medium. For the player in the headset, there is no “screen,” you just feel like you’re in a different space. There’s a really creative buzz in the studio trying to invent new ways to play and interact.

How do you see the future of VR?

JS: VR is part of an amazing, sci-fi future we’ve been promised for so long, alongside robots and hover-cars. One aspect I love is how social it can be. Being able to see where another player is looking, how they’re moving, you get a sense of it being a real person.

As you’re here at the EA Booth at GamesCom, what other EA Games are you most excited about?

JS: I’m a big fan of Star Wars Battlefront as a game, so I’m really looking forward to the Death Star and Rogue One expansions when they release this year. Maybe Battlefield 1? Titanfall 2? So spoiled for choices over Christmas.

Criterion on TV!

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Our UK fans will get a chance to see how we work at Criterion Games in a new CBBC show.

All Over The Workplace aims to inspire young people with an insight into different careers and back in January we had the opportunity to demonstrate how a videogame is made.

We hosted Kiya and Toby along with presenter Alex Riley and, with a bit of help from Criterion’s Max, Edwin, John, Pete and Rosa, they put together their own futuristic racing game in just a couple of days.

If you want to see what they came up with, and have a nose around Criterion’s HQ at the same time, tune in to All Over The Workplace on CBBC at 10:50 AM on Wednesday 16th March. The show will also appear on BBC iPlayer (for UK viewers), and be repeated in April. Watch out for it!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/shows/all-over-the-workplace

The Criterion 2015 Open Day – It’s #GIRLS4GAMES!

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Open day with logos

It’s well-documented that, even though many girls in the UK have all the aptitude and subject enthusiasm they need to work in technology fields, ultimately they choose not to. The reason often cited is that girls are discouraged from choosing science or other tech-related subjects while still at school because these are perceived as boys-only topics, and girls that pursue them are somehow… strange.

The upshot is that even though a vast proportion of our audience is female, when it comes to recruiting new development staff, applications from women make up less than 10% of the total. How do we make a game for a large audience when 50% of the population is barely represented on the team?

We like to do our bit to encourage the next generation of game-making talent, and with the above in mind we decided that this year we would make our annual careers open day into a female-focussed event. Out of over 100 eager applicants we selected 30 girls and young women to join us on October 29th to discover what life was like inside a development studio.

After a whistle-stop studio tour, the girls got an introduction to the disciplines of art, design and coding from Criterion’s own experts. They learned something of the part each plays in game development, what
variety of roles exist within those disciplines and what kind of studies, experience or talents they might work on to help find success.

Open day 3 Open day 1

Lunch in the Criterion kitchen gave the girls an opportunity to grab team members and ask them about how they found their way into the games industry.

In the afternoon, we split the group into six teams and challenged them to work together to develop their own game pitch. After being given a random game type, a random image to inspire them and a Criterion mentor to guide things along, the teams had less than two hours to work up a game idea they could present back to a team of judges.

Open-day-2015-web-2In the short time they had all of the teams came up with detailed presentations for a wide variety of games. The judges were dazzled by the variety of pitches, which ranged from finding lost puppies, to escaping a witch’s cooking pot, to branching adventures in a post-apocalyptic world of light and darkness. All the teams won prizes for their ingenuity, and everyone took home a bag of Criterion swag for their trouble.

We want to thank everyone who applied for our open day, and all the girls and women who came to show us that female game developers are most definitely a growing and talented band! If you want to make games, it doesn’t matter what gender you are. Be who you are and do what you love. If you can make it happen, the world and its HR department will be waiting…

Girls4Games teams
Open-day-2015-web-image

For more information on getting into game development, try these:
BAFTA YGD: http://ygd.bafta.org/competition

Game making learning resources:
http://www.codecademy.com/
http://unity3d.com/
http://scratch.mit.edu/
https://code.org/starwars
https://www.codeclub.org.uk/
http://creativeskillset.org/creative_industries/games

Burnout Paradise PC Bonus Car Pack Is Back!

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PC Paradise fans can finally get hold of all the PC downloadable content we created, now that the Burnout Paradise 4-in-1 Bonus Vehicles Pack is back on sale through Origin.

The pack lets you drive a slew of new vehicles, including the Boost Special cars, the toy cars and the awesome Legendary vehicles. Also included is the Time Saver Pack, which unlocks all of 75 cars and four bikes that were included in the Ultimate Box Set, for immediate play.

The pack has been off the shelves for most players for too long, but we’ve got our Origin chums to make it available to owners of the PC Ultimate Box Set, exclusively through the Origin Store. Just click the pic  below to be taken there.

BonusVehiclePack500

Check the Origin page for local pricing but what we can tell you is the pack sells for just $1.59 in the USA, €1.59 in the EU and £1.29 in the UK.

Criterion Does Code Club!

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At Criterion we know that making great games needs great people, experts in coding and gameplay. Lucky for us that, in the UK, schools are now doing more than ever to train the next generations of engineers who will be building tomorrow’s games.

From the age of five, students are being taught the basics of creating with computers. By the time they’re eight they will be learning to code in Scratch, progressing through programming languages like Java and Python until, at eleven years old, they are making their own apps and games.

Code Club is a charity that helps support this new learning by organising after-school sessions for kids aged 9 to 11, run by volunteers in schools, libraries and community centres all around the country. The job of these volunteers is to coach, inspire and energise young people about making software.

Code Club Action

After-school game-making in action at a Code Club in the UK. Pic by Chocolate Films Ltd.

Three of those volunteers happen to be on the Criterion team. Our Studio GM, Matt Webster, Chief Technology Officer, Alex Mole and Technical Artist, Edwin Jones all run Code Clubs in the south-east of the UK. “Software engineers will rule the world,” Matt predicts, “So if we want to increase the pool of talent it’s up to us to inspire that talent.”

Matt has been running his Code Club for a year, spending an hour a week after school helping his group of 18 make games in Scratch. He admits you don’t need to be a programming genius to volunteer. “I don’t know a lot about coding,” he says, “but I bought a text book called ‘Adventures in Scratch’ and I thought as long as I stay a month ahead of the students I’d be fine.”

What if you’ve never taught before? “Code Club gives you an induction because it can be scary,” says Matt. “They also provide lesson plans and tutorials for different projects and you can decide which you’d like to use. In our group we voted on which games we should make, and we built them from start to finish. It could be insanely chaotic but it was great fun!”

If you’d like to volunteer to run a Code Club in your area, you’re a parent or you’re between 9 and 11 and would like to find a local club so you can join in, check out https://www.codeclub.org.uk/. Scratch is free to download from https://scratch.mit.edu/ where you’ll also find lots of tutorials and community-made games, so try it out!

All great game creators have to start somewhere. Get involved and get coding!

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Local Boy Does Good! – 25 Webster Years

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Matt at 25 years

In a startling example of what “following your dreams” can ultimately lead to, September 3rd was celebrated as Matt Webster’s 25th anniversary at Electronic Arts. That’s right. Twenty-five freaky years of game-making!

Matt joined the company as a slip of a boy in 1990 working with the Quality Assurance and Customer Services team, finding bugs on Magic Fly on the Atari ST and talking users through their quandaries with Amiga Deluxe Paint. All of this was but a warm-up for stardom, though. In between production duties on the early FIFA titles, he came off the bench to play up front for the England team, and he was also cast as selectable winchman, Mamba, in Desert Strike.

FIFA-Webster

His star continued to rise until it collided with Criterion’s in 2003, when he came to work with us during Burnout 3: Takedown. Since then he has been a permanent and highly-placed fixture on all of our racing titles, masterminding features such as Burnout Paradise’s online challenge gameplay.

In 2013 Matt took the reins of Criterion and now rides it, like a thoroughbred Arab stallion in the Kentucky Derby, to further glories. Next on his list is Criterion’s #Beyondcars project. You can see what he has to say about that here.

Congratulations Matt! We salute you, boss!

Paradise Rockers Tour ’07

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Burnout-Rockers

From L to R: Lyndon Munt, Iain Angus, Kasim Niazi, Garry Casey, Matthew Jones, James ‘Jimi’ Warren

Bizarre Burnout Memories from the 2007 Criterion Family Album: We can’t remember why, but at the end of production on Burnout Paradise, some of the team set up in the middle of the studio and treated the team to an impromptu concert of Burnout Original Soundtrack music.

Many a tuneful axe in evidence but gameplay super-engineer, Iain Angus, surprised us all, rocking it with electric violin and sandals. Young-blood-now-old-timer, Gary Casey (third from right) wins the competition for “Best Attempt At A Rock ‘n’ Roll Grimace”. He can do much better now though.

Birth of a Takedown

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TakedownWhen you’re making a game, the best features aren’t things you design into it. It’s what the players get out of it. Burnout 2: Point of Impact was designed to be all about speed, crashing and traffic, but when players got their hands on it the thing they liked to add in, especially in split-screen multiplayer was smashing into their opponents. Sure, there was Pursuit mode, but what if it was possible to win a race by whacking your opponent into a wall just before the finish line?

That was the thought behind Burnout 3’s aggressive driving and Takedowns, although checking back through the first design documents, Takedowns were originally going to be called “Knockouts”.

Knockouts

Initially there were doubts. Would aggressive driving change the Burnout racing experience? Would it mean we’d have to change the way we built the tracks to put obstacles on the track? Would it mean a lot of extra AI work to get battling to work?

The answer to all of those questions turned out to be yes, but when Burnout 3: Takedown was finished in September of 2004, the results were worth the effort; a more exciting game that came to define the Criterion racing experience, as well as redefining the arcade-style race game experience for all time.

Do you have a favourite Burnout 3 memory or were you more of a Burnout 2 person? Or perhaps even a hardcore fan of the original? Or maybe it’s got to be open-world like Burnout Paradise? Let us know!

MO-LEN 10

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MolenMattWebWhere were you ten years ago? We know where Criterion’s ever-chipper Tech Director, Alex Mole, was. He was shining his shoes and combing his hair, getting ready for his very first day at Criterion Games!

From humble beginnings programming the menu screens on PS2 Burnout Revenge, Mr Molen has brought his magic to Burnout Paradise, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit and Need For Speed: Most Wanted, before becoming Criterion’s Captain Code Boss Supremo.

The highlight of his career? “Working with the online team to deliver the BAFTA Award-winning Autolog feature in Hot Pursuit,” says the man Molen.

That was until today, when his ten years at Criterion were celebrated by the team, and Master Webster presented Alex with a brand new GoPro Hero to record his outrageous Cornish surfing adventures for all time.

Congratulations Molen and thank you for all the hairy binary voodoo that you do so well.