Burnout Freestyle (lost build of cancelled Nintendo Wii/DS racing game; 2010)
Burnout Freestyle is a cancelled racing game intended for the Nintendo Wii and DS. It was developed by Criterion Games and was set to be published by Electronic Arts (EA) as the first Nintendo-exclusive Burnout game before its development was shelved in favour of Criterion working on Need for Speed titles.
The Burnout series had only previously seen a few releases on Nintendo platforms. After Burnout and Burnout II: Point of Impact were released for the Nintendo GameCube, no other main series titles were released on the platform, including Burnout 3: Takedown. The last Nintendo Burnout game released was Burnout Legends for the DS in November 2005. Burnout Freestyle would become the first in the series to receive a Wii release, while also being the second DS title. It reportedly also would have emerged as the first Nintendo-exclusive Burnout game.
Alas, Burnout Freestyles was generally kept under wraps before being quietly cancelled by December 2010. However, the game's existence was publicly confirmed when EA outsource manager Paul Dibden provided information about the game and DS screenshots on his website. While these were swiftly taken down from the website and left unarchived, Gamekyo extracted the screenshots and preserved them. Further, "cartoon Burnout cars" and even a "Burnout Pinball" table were included as part of Dibden's online portfolio. Reports indicate that Burnout Freestyles was cancelled so that Criterion could primarily focus on fellow EA racing series Need for Speed, developing Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit which was released in November 2010.
In total, 16 screenshots of the DS version were released. Analysis indicates the game would contain a variety of minigames involving the DS stylus, including landing stunts and maintaining and repairing cars. Gamekyo compared the screenshots to the gameplay of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. One screenshot tasked the player to collide with ten vehicles, becoming the closest to replicating Burnout's Crash Mode introduced since Point of Impact. Notably, no screenshots showed any racing events. The game's graphics and focus on minigames has led some fans to theorise that Burnout Freestyle may well have been an earlier version of Burnout Crash!, released in September 2011 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and IOS. If that was the case, certain minigames, including the aforementioned car maintenance challenges, were not carried over for this released title.
Ultimately, no build of Burnout Freestyles has been publicly released. The screenshots indicate that the game had received some development prior to being shelved, but are the only viewable remnants of the title. No content from the Wii version has ever leaked.
- Softpedia reporting on the cancelled game, noting it would have been the first Nintendo-exclusive Burnout title. Retrieved 25th Jan '23
- Cubed3 reporting on the game's cancellation. Retrieved 25th Jan '23
- Destructoid reporting on the findings on Dibden's website, including cartoon Burnout cars and a Burnout Pinball table. Retrieved 25th Jan '23
- Gamekyo reporting on the game's information based on Dibden's online portfolio and providing screenshots of it (article in French). Retrieved 25th Jan '23
- r/burnout discussing the cancelled game, and theorising its gameplay and possible connection to Burnout Crash!. Retrieved 25th Jan '23
- IGN previewing Burnout Crash!, which seemingly contained elements from Burnout Freestyle. Retrieved 25th Jan '23