When word broke that 2008's Burnout Paradise would be returning to consoles in remastered form, Switch owners got nervous when there was no mention of Criterion's seminal open-world racer releasing on Nintendo's platform. It took nearly two years, but a Switch port did eventually materialise and we've been enjoying it for the past month or so.
It's been a while since a Burnout game came to a Nintendo platform and, frankly, we'd have been relatively content with a simple upscaled port in portable form. Fortunately, the dev team at Stellar Entertainment--the company responsible for Burnout Paradise Remastered--wanted to deliver something more worthy of a title which had a huge influence on the open-world racer genre.
"With the sheer amount of work it takes to properly resurrect the original game to run on modern systems both online and offline and integrate a years worth of additional content into the game, we felt the game deserved a comprehensive remaster," Chris Roberts, Creative Director at Stellar tells us via email. "Also given the heritage of the game and franchise in question plus what we strive for as a studio we were just doing it justice."
Stellar Entertainment is home to several ex-Criterion and Burnout series veterans, so the opportunity to work on the remaster was a rare chance for many of the team to 'go home' and revisit the series after a decade away.
"For all of us with a connection to the original series it was a very personal and rewarding experience, however, [as] lead designer on the first four Burnout games but [someone who] didn’t work on Paradise, it was a chance to ‘complete the set’."
Striking a balance between preserving the much-loved game as fans remember it while also making improvements and additions is a tricky problem faced by any ambitious remaster project. " The challenge with making this remaster was ensuring that we retained the spirit of the original whilst sympathetically updating it to feel right on modern platforms. A key challenge was retaining 60 FPS and improving the visuals across all platforms, including Switch [...] if it’s not 60 FPS, it’s not Burnout."
The starting point was to understand how the existing software ran on the Switch so that we had a clear idea of what we needed to do to get it running at 60 FPS
The two-year gap between releases on other platforms and Switch had us (and many others) confused for a while, and you'd be forgiven for thinking somebody in the publishing chain needed convincing to greenlight a Switch version, but according to Stellar that gap "was always the plan, we just waited until it lived up to our high standards and expectations [...] We did some deep analysis of the software and hardware then made the most of all the available tools and support to help us do the right things."
While the game obviously looks crisper on more powerful non-portable platforms, the Switch version maintains a rock-solid 60 fps throughout, an impressive feat considering how many other Switch ports end up reducing the target to 30. As Roberts tells us, hitting that target was a challenge which required not a small amount of ingenuity.
"The starting point was to understand how the existing software ran on the Switch so that we had a clear idea of what we needed to do to get it running at 60 FPS. We used Nintendo’s profiling tools to help us see where we would need to make adjustments for the Switch platform, support the choices we had to make and fully utilise the three available cores. One of the key decisions was to give audio it’s own core with a rewritten mixing library in ARM (the processor) Neon (the instruction library). We then packed the data for the correct memory alignments and sizes for Switch, meaning that when data streams in off the game cart or hard drive it’s decompressed as fast as possible and reading as many files as possible at any one time.
"For rendering we wanted to make sure we could achieve the same graphical fidelity as the other consoles and to achieve this we targeted 900p so that the post process effects had more bandwidth (as we’re rendering with less pixels). Dynamic resolution seamlessly handles the most intense scenes to help keep this all very smooth and in addition we have used the Nvidia version of ambient occlusion specially designed for the Switch. Handheld is limited to 720p, so is like an additional platform, so we optimised for that and utilised boost mode to tune the level of detail and balance it for handheld requirements. HD rumble runs in a parallel thread to give great contextual feedback and enhances the experiences. So as you can see from these few examples we made a lot of well informed decisions along the journey to help get us to our final destination!"
Although nothing is straightforward when you’re dealing with a ten year old code base, the Switch libraries were very helpful
The Switch version features touchscreen menu navigation and pinch-and-pull control for the map – very handy exclusive features that go the extra mile, although these sorts of additions are often missing in other ports. "We’re really pleased that we were able to implement the pinch and pull feature as it’s an important part of using the Switch and is a much better way of interacting with the map that only the Switch can provide." We wonder how simple it was for the team to implement. "Although nothing is straightforward when you’re dealing with a ten year old code base, the Switch libraries were very helpful getting it up and running."
As we mentioned above, for some of the team this was a relatively unique opportunity to revisit past work. Once they got into it, it must have been tempting to change or tweak other aspects beyond the original remaster remit, but Roberts and the team managed to resist. "Going into it we were super conscious that our job was to deliver a new way of playing Burnout Paradise, not to create a new game, so we were very focused and disciplined on doing that, and hopefully that shows."
A decade in the game industry is a very long time from a technology perspective, and access to better, faster tools must be a big help these days. "That is certainly a part of it, plus you can make changes and see the changes in software much quicker." Faster iteration makes for a better end product.
On the subject of iteration, Burnout Paradise’s open-world approach had a huge impact on the driving genre. We asked the team what it felt like to see the game’s influence on other titles in the years since. "I think we had an idea at the time that we were working on something truly groundbreaking," Roberts remembers, "but it’s only after the fullness of time that you can appreciate the impact that it’s had, which is a great feeling."
Obviously Burnout Paradise was a series highlight, but there are many fans who love other entries in the series even more, with Burnout 3: Takedown being a particular fan favourite. Before finishing up, we couldn't resist asking about the chances of seeing further remasters or re-releases down the road.
"We certainly had a lot of fun making this, what would you like to see?"
Now there's a question! You can let us know what you'd like to see in the comments below.
Our thanks to Chris and the team for their time. Burnout Paradise Remastered is out now on Switch.
They absolutely nailed this release. Great job EA. More like this please. (See we aren't monsters, we just don't like half heartedness)
Do not tease me with the possibility of a remaster of the greatest racing game of all time please. Burnout 3 is a purely wonderful gaming experience. It's one of my top five games of all time, easily. I would lose my absolute **** if they decided to remake it.
You know, I think I’m going to buy this just because I loved it so much on PS3.
I picked this one up a few weeks ago. I got it never having played the game in the past, so for me it was a brand new experience. A fantastic, fun game that's great to play both docked and handheld. Very much a "GTA with racing" game where you can go around and not do any races at all, yet still have fun, or you can go do a race or two, put the game down, come back, and do another race when you have more time.
I know EA gets a lot of flack from the Nintendo community, and much of it is well deserved, but when they put in the effort, they are still an amazing game creator.
This game needs a sequel.
Even with another name so as to avoid licensing.
Sounds like a nice port, which is great to hear. If I could wish for another remake I too would prefer Burnout 3. I really don't like the open world concept and prefer unique tightly designed courses.
It's a fantastic port and great for the on the go play as well. Here's hoping the Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit port is good too.
Weird opinion- my favourite Burnout was Dominator which was released on PS2/PSP as a stop-gap while Criterion were working on Paradise for the next gen.
The thing I really liked about it was how you could “earn while you burn” by doing power slides, takedowns, traffic checking, etc while using the nitrous which would in turn keep refilling the nitrous bar so it was possible (but tricky) to do entire races without ever running out.
It was immensely satisfying when you could pull it off and it really helped to differentiate it from the other games in the series.
Only 60 FPS in OUR 120 FPS world?!
Outtahere with that scrubs expectations!
Good job EA on the game. Bad job EA on the price.
@NookMiler as long as you think bad Nintendo on their port prices I am OK with your statement.
Wow nice!! Now i want this game.
Good game and all, but why is it so stinking expensive? 😂 50$ just seems incredibly steep for a remake.
Oh wait, Nintendo’s been doing that forever. Never mind 😔
We got this game a couple weeks ago and my seven-year-old son and I are having a blast. So much fun.
@NookMiler yup, there seems to be an unspoken agreement that if its on the switch they have to gouge their costumers, starting with nintendo themselves... mario kart 8dx is still 60 bucks!
Once I got the hang of it, I loved it.
Would love to see Burnout 3 as well --- done with the same care.
@Moonlessky Nintendo games tend not to go down in price because they still sell at those prices. It is demand-side pricing. As long as people buy the game, the price is not going to drop.
@Paraka I actually laughed out loud at that!
@Moonlessky I agree that other companies make their games too expensive, but that is partially because of them being on cartridges. Nintendo’s games are still 60$ because they are good. They have great value and will keep it. Nintendo’s GameCube games still sell for around 60$ on eBay.
I was under the impression these graphics were super rough in portable mode? Did they fix that?
@bobzbulder I mostly agree. I bought a used copy of the new Link’s Awakening because I thought $60 was too high for that game.
This game is on my radar, waiting for the inevitable price drop to the $30 range.
This will go on sale, I'm still curious if they fixed the online portion/toy cars/events, 60fps means nothing if your doesn't run properly.
@doctorhino I've been playing it in both handheld and docked mode. It looks very solid in both modes, with smooth graphics. I'm not sure where the "rough" opinion came from.
Burnout 3 was the first Burnout game I tried and enjoyed 15 years ago, on a friend's PS2. Some years later I tried Burnout paradise on PC and enjoyed it also, even if the open world structure does not have the same appeal (no possibility to immediately retry a missed race).
I bought the Switch edition when it launched and I enjoy it, and I will continue to play it from time to time, but that awaken my need for coming back to Burnout 3. So I found that game at the end of june, plus a PS2 slim console, plus 2 controllers (for multiplayer races, road rages or crashes).
By coming back to B3, it is as fun as I remember and has aged gracefully apart from some rude difficulty spikes for some preview lap events and some races. By exemple, after having tried it like 60 times, I achieved a silver medal for the sadistic Tropical drive preview lap with a F1. The time to achieve for a gold medal is 3min50, which required not to do a single crash, we're talking a difficulty over Cuphead here if yoy ask me...pretty frustrating...
Man now that is an interview i love reading! In case the developers read through the comments: You guys are amazing! It's such an amazing game and really the only series i thought of whenever i thought i would like something to satisfy my itch for Arcade racing games on the Switch. And it's an absolutely stellar (pun not intended) port!
Btw: Was Burnout Paradise really one of the earlier games to do open-world racing, thus pioneering the trend?
@doctorhino Digital Foundry's usually in-depth coverage asserts that it actually runs a bit better in portable mode. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9kcCPFOeHo
@StefanN nope, that would be Need for speed underground 2.
Edit: I'm gonna retract that statement because I just remembered an old dead franchise based upon rockstars open world 3rd person behemoth GTA(the 3rd one to be exact)
That series was called Midnight Club, I can't believe I forgot about that, being the big rival to NFS at the time.
@Tandy255 yeah some of Nintendo’s games are too much like Link’s Awakening, 1, 2, switch and the Pokemon let’s go games along with mystery dungeon.
Need For Speed (Wiiu) it’s incredible!!
I hope that game is in the same level!
@BulkSlash FWIW that sounds like one of the systems present in Paradise as well, albeit limited to certain cars.
@kingbk This site:
"The other notable hit to the visual detail comes when you play in handheld mode. Let’s be positive first: Burnout Paradise still manages to run at a solid 60 frames per second in handheld, which is verging on a miracle, given that it’s an open-world game that chucks scenery at you at a terrifying rate. Sadly, in order to manage this feat, the game does make use of some fairly aggressive dynamic resolution scaling, which gets more severe the faster you go."
Quote from review
@doctorhino Ah gotcha. Well, I thought it ran smooth and didn't notice anything rough when I played it.
@doctorhino In my opinion it looks great in portable play. Digital Foundry said it targets 720p in portable play. To me it seems to stay pretty close to that target, and stay at 60fps like 98% of the time. Totally worth the $42.88 I paid for it! Been having a blast playing through it for the first time.
This is a very interesting interview! I love reading somewhat detailed comments about getting stuff running at 60fps on Switch. And I'm totally hoping for Burnout 3 on Switch!
That is cool and all but the $50 price tag is a total joke and a complete rip-off, especially considering how I got it on the PS4 for $5.
Even as a massive fan of the Burnout series (Takedown is my favorite game ever) I was never a fan of Paradise. But I bought it again on Switch in the hope good sales would mean they'd port over some of the older games. Having spent more time than ever now with Paradise I can say yes it is enjoyable, but flawed. It's very samey, racing the same courses over and over. And you crash into objects you had no chance of seeing in time, there's an unfairness to it that's not present in the other games, it's frustrating. And part of this is because the default behind car view is just too low down to see obstacles ahead as you speed down the road at 200km an hour. A few quality of life improvements could have made this Paradise remaster even better, as it stands its a very good game but the weakest in the series.
@doctorhino It looks great and runs great on my Switch Lite. I was put off at first with the reviews, but watched enough videos on YouTube to convince me that wasn’t the case. It’s a great game 😊👍🏻
@kingbk Nice, I will wait for a price drop but was hoping it would get better with time. It's also possible this site received an advanced copy or something, who knows.
Burnout 3 please!! Or burnout revenge.
@Hagemaru Completely different driving experiences; Burnout is much closer to an arcade experience, whereas GRID is edging towards simulation. GRID is all about track races with qualifying and rewards studying the circuit and nailing the racing-line. Burnout is an open-world tear-up through the streets. I personally prefer the more precise, ‘realistic’ racing style of GRID, but Burnout is a lot of fun too.
You forgot the ‘takedown’ love that game!
@Hagemaru They're both so good, and so different. That's a difficult call! Also, for me, some of the tracks have too much frame rate dipping in Grid. It's only to like 50 or so, but it is distracting and affects control over my car on some of the city tracks (I only play in performance mode on Grid Autosport).
This will be my most played game of 2020. The motorcycles are really cool.
was going to get this, but then saw that it was on sale on xbox for $5. I couldn't pass that up.
@bobzbulder doesn't explain digital copies and why they are so expensive. It's funny because up til today you could get it on ps4 and xbox for like $5
Need for speed most wanted Wii U port please.
I'd say that GRID is without doubt the best racing-sim on Switch; it's a great game with a huge amount of content. Burnout... Yes, it's the best open world racing game on the Switch, although it's not exactly a crowded category! You won't go wrong with with, or both for that matter.
$20 is my happy place for this game... the day it drops to this I will buy it and be very happy
I am totally fine with paying a little more for portability as this is my main mode of play but 10x the price elsewhere for the same game is just too steep.
@60frames-please I hope you feel sufficiently acknowledged after reading this article
@Hagemaru Both are great games. GRID Autosport is probably the closest thing to Gran Turismo that the Switch has (and yes, I know, it's not Gran Turismo). It's more a racing simulation style of game, where you race on tracks and you have to more race "cleanly" to win. Burnout Paradise is much more an arcade style racer. It's pretty unrealistic, and it relies way more on figuring out ways to win the race over clean racing, such as smashing opponents off the road, taking shortcuts on the course or using ramps.
Both are a ton of fun, and a nice break from the Mario Kart style of racing (which I love immensely, but grow tired of after a while).
Finding less temptation to purchase these kinds of releases now that I mostly stay indoors at my apartment. Meaning, I could buy this for $20 on a Ps4 or $5 on Steam. Anyone else finding that's changing their buying habits with Switch releases?
@Dang69 Not really. Even during this time of quarantine, there are many nights/days where my family will want to use the TV for Netflix, Hulu, etc. and while they are doing that, I pop the Switch off the dock and play games. Yes, I'm not playing it on the train or during lunch breaks at the office, but I'm still finding many times where the TV is occupied and I can still play my games in the same room and everyone is happy.
@MrGreen315 Yeah the digital games should be cheaper, but the game did just come out on switch about a month ago and it sounds like it was way harder to make than the other versions. In 2 years you will be able to get it for around 5$. The reason digital games aren’t cheaper is because Nintendo won’t let devs sell their games cheaper digitally. I’m also sure that they wouldn’t if they had the option since they want to make more money.
A cheaper price tag.
I’d have bought it for $20 max.
@doctorhino "Sadly, in order to manage this feat, the game does make use of some fairly aggressive dynamic resolution scaling, which gets more severe the faster you go".
This is the problem. I love 60 FPS but when resolution goes too low, games look blurry and almost unplayable. This is the problem with Switch, because graphics are more complex and have more visual effects than years ago (GameCube era) but at the same time Switch doesn't have the power to maintain the appropriate resolution for current-gen games.
I never see this mentioned anywhere but now that I've completed it 100% on Switch, I did run into some technical issues playing it from the cartridge: the audio goes crazy when there's too much happening at the same time, too many audio sources like the soundtrack and all the sfx playing at the same time. This was most apparent in the later marked man challenges the audio would sound like it couldn't play everything at the same time (the sound starts stuttering like a sound file that buffers but where the buffer can't fill fast enough or something, but without affecting the actual game's performance, it's just the audio that's affected). could we have a fix please?
Ok so the price is a bit high,but if the last few months have taught me anything it’s that life is too short so I grabbed a copy from amazon.Wow ,not had this much fun in a game for years,it’s my first time playing and just blasting around the city playing classical music from the soundtrack is just an awesome experience,seriously,the soundtrack is bloomin great.
Amazing to hear that audio got its own core! As a gamer, it is very easy to take audio for granted - it's audio! Surely a solved problem in a world where your phone has gigabytes of RAM. But no, as someone who has dabbled in game making, I can attest that sloppily implemented audio can tank the performance and load times of even the simplest of games. I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out that that's the problem with Deadly Premonition 2.
@GrailUK the price point is a joke. the game should not be $50 for a 12 year old game. Leave
@N64-ROX " As a gamer, it is very easy to take audio for granted - it's audio! " tell that every stinking gamer with a musician background and every youtube and professional video game band. Please stop
Playing through now! Amazing port the only troubles with the game come from aging! Great job EA . Finally
@doctorhino I've been playing all this time and have never seen the graphics as anything other than amazing, especially on my Switch Lite.
@NintendoPok Oh, my bad, I didn't realise the Switch was so old! In all seriousness, I was talking about the game. Some folk will see value in it at £50. But EA games depreciate. So if you are interested in playing it, and it sounds like one you already played, then wait for it to come down in price. It will eventually. But to suggest a game appearing on another system should affect the price of it appearing on another, I can kinda see where you are coming from holistically, but I can't quite get my head around it as all the companies are unrelated.
So instead of leaving, I'd actually prefer I stayed to hear you explain why it should be cheaper (bear in mind I don't necessarily disagree with you here and anyone that knows me, knows at some point I may end up saying you are right! Coz, that's what grown ups do!)
Just give me all the original Burnout's, please🤞🤞🤞
And then they tried to sell a $4 game for $50... and Fail. Moving on.
Yes, these people know how to port, unlike the piece of crap Deadly Premonition 2
This is $10 on ps4 not to long ago
@sixrings please nintendo game pricing isnt near as bad as ea and a few others.
Please fix the icon!
Reading about all the work that went into the port and then having somebody ***** up the icon (photoshop layer visible and wrongly scaled) must make these guys crazy.
As well as everybody that spends 50$ on it. Not saying it is a big issue. It is just sad to see that the icon gets "winged" like this.
@Yanina Wow, I didn't notice until you mentioned it. I agree, please fix the icon!
@COVIDberry Yep, it confirms the essential truth about life — it's all about me : )
@Hagemaru Yeah, I think it's safe to say they're the best in their categories. If you like rally games I also recommend Rush Rally 3. I love the physics in it, the way your car slides in corners, and it has the most extensive graphics options of any Switch game I can think of (you can change the frame rate, resolution, etc).
@kingbk didn't even think about that...single guy here with a cat and no roommates (don't even let my girlfriend visit rn). The most interest my cat ever has in the tv, is watching Byleth move back and forth on a black loading screen.
Nintendo fan boys are too funny, being angry at EA for a 10 year old port at 50$ that runs at 60fps 720p handheld but applauding Nintendo for a port of Xenoblade at 60$ that doesn’t even run at 30 FPS constant in 368-480p.
@Apportal Don't blame Nintendo, blame the consumer. They are the ones consistently willing to pay the higher prices.
@HalBailman well you know what, that’s... true. You know what you’re right.
@Chris55 lol it's okay to leave off the word Takedown, it's not like there's a different Burnout 3 out there
@Moonlessky what's even better is all the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe extras have been ported to Wii U by community modders Lol.
@MrAsild that's actually true lol. Xenoblade looks best on Wii U but lets congratulate Nintendo anyway.
@StefanN I'm sure they will have seen the comment somehow and would appreciate you saying that!
@FyreStorm Now that you say that, i'm sure as well! You just absolutely made my day!
Someone got me this for my Birthday earlier in the month, this and Need For Speed, i hate EA but i can't refuse gifts, that would be bad form.
I took them and played this for 10 minutes.
This game is dog doo doo, no matter how well it runs, you just drive around looking for stuff to do, it's devoid of life and actual fun past 1 hour. No actual customization options either.
Not a big fan of EA but this and need for speed hot pursuit are great on switch whether it’s played handheld or docked both games are great and people complaining about price are mad both games are like £25 each well worth it for decent arcade racers
Too bad I really did not enjoy Paradies. Now Revenge would have been a different story ...
And the fandom, half a year since this article: "nothing outstanding about Switch ports, they just push the graphics slider to the left for the weaker hardware to run the game"
Easily the weakest entry in the series for me as the open world just diluted the experience instead of adding to it in any meaningful way. The earlier games were far better and hopefully they get brought forward in some way
Bring on BurnOut 3: Takedown and I'm happy.
I'm still waiting for a 60fps racer on Switch that I can play in handheld mode, using the gyro to control my steering by using the switch like a steering wheel.
Not "pushing" one side forward of the other, but actually steering. Seems like a no-brainer devs, and pretty easy to add as an option.
I would have preferred just a crash for the highest points like older versions but I got this on the sale recently and my 7yr old son loves it. He just drives around and tries to crash with every car he sees. Nice port job for the Switch.
@carlos82 Actually NFS:HP 2010 is the true old school burnout experience.... it just doesn't have crash mode. The open world is just for exploring.
They can keep praising this game all they want, but it's still way too expensive for what you can get on other platforms.
Now I love this game have it on PS3, PS4 and hell even had it back in the day on 360. Now while it does maintain 60 fps for the most part it's not constant I've had plenty of instances mainly during road rage and marked man events where the framerate takes a nosedive and its jarring. I dont ever recall the same thing happening on even ps3. I'm usually not an fps/graphics nut as half the time I dont usually notice frame issues unless it's pretty big.
Am I the only one who experiences this while playing?
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