Burnout Revenge (partially found prototype builds of racing game; 2005)
Burnout Revenge is a 2005 racing and vehicular combat game originally released for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, and later for the Xbox 360 in 2006. The fourth title under Criterion Games' Burnout series, the game consisted of various Burnout staples such as Race, Road Rage, and Crash Mode, while also incorporating new modes like Eliminator and Traffic Attack. Crash in particular was extensively modified from the format utilised in Burnout 3: Takedown. However, footage from prototype builds, including one featured at E3 2005, indicate Revenge's Crash Mode was to be overall more extensive and incorporate additional elements from Takedown.
Originally released in September 2005, Burnout Revenge carried on from the success of Burnout 3: Takedown. Aside from featuring races with vehicular combat elements, Revenge incorporated new and returning game modes that offered variety and an emphasis on "Revenge". Among the returning modes included Road Rage, which tasked players to takedown as many combatants as possible while avoiding terminally damaging their car and time expiring. New modes included Traffic Attack, where players could slam into same-way small traffic with the intent to achieve a high score before time expires. The ability to "check" traffic was also used, as well as the ability to detonate Crashbreakers during later race and Road Rage events.
Crash, introduced in Burnout 2: Point of Impact, is perhaps the Burnout series' most famous game mode, tasking players to cause as much damage as possible by deliberately causing a major wreck. Gameplay was somewhat altered compared to Takedown. In Takedown, players must not only cause an extensive accident, but also collect cash pickups and multipliers, while also taking advantage of Crashbreaker pickups. These were removed in Revenge, instead focusing exclusively on causing a costly wreck, while also exploding vehicles and taking down a "Target Car" that would give the player a major bonus. In essence, Criterion Games compared Crash in Takedown to a game of bowling, and Revenge's to a game of golf. When the game was released for the Xbox 360, a further ten Crash junctions were included. Overall, the game received high praise from most reviewers, with Metacritic giving the PlayStation 2 version an overall 90 rating based on 52 reviews, and also awarding it the Metacritic Must-Play accolade.
Prototypes and E3 2005 Showcases
Courtesy of Hidden Palace, several pre-release builds of Burnout Revenge have been publicly dumped. Among these included the earliest currently available full build titled "Alpha 7" that was dumped by AlexKVideos1 in October 2017. While a relatively late build, having been established between 12th-14th July 2005, analysis of its contents indicate major changes occurred late during development. A particular theme involves the difficultly being much more intense in the prototypes, with tougher opponents for races, more takedowns required for gold in Road Rage, and checking traffic generally slowing the player down in Traffic Attack. However, the major revelations with this build concerned the cut Crash Mode content. Several cut Crash junctions can be played in this build, with most surprisingly nearing-completion prior to being removed from the final build. Among these included two Sunshine Keys junctions, Beach Bash and Crash of the Titans. Their removal meant players had access to just one Sunshine Keys Crash junction in the released game.
Nevertheless, Crash gameplay within these builds remained relatively similar to the final version. However, prior to its release on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, a build of Burnout Revenge was showcased at E3 2005, with separate trailers for both consoles. Both trailers and an IGN preview notably showed an earlier version of Return of the Semi, featuring all pickups and fuel tankers from Takedown, and an early-spawning Target Car whose model is not seen in the final release. Similarly, in the Alpha 7 build, pre-rendered videos from ten crash courses can be found. Most junctions featured were included in the final game, albeit most having different titles. However, aside from featuring a few level-specific alterations (for instance, the presence of side traffic in Dock Fight), the presence of tankers, Crashbreaker pickups (though no cash or multiplier ones), and even parked Target Cars reflect somewhat different gameplay. Three levels, Under the Hood, Rock Around the Dock, and Precious Cargo, would be removed from the final release, though the latter was later included in the Xbox 360 version.
In pre-release footage by IGN and GameSpy, only minor differences in the Race and Traffic Attack modes could be noted. In Crash Mode, the start sequence is altered, where the player simply needs to land in the white zone of a power bar to earn a power boost. Gameplay reflected what appeared in the pre-rendered videos, with Precious Cargo also being showcased. IGN also wrote an accommodating article regarding their time previewing the game at E3. They noted 108 Crash junctions were planned for the game, with many consisting of multiple high-traffic junctions. They also remarked Criterion had removed many of the pickup icons found in Takedown, but were intending to incorporate others for a later build. Another IGN article implies Criterion may have removed most icons because they found players were limited in tactics they could apply for each junction. IGN praised this decision, believing that only auto-Crashbreaker icons were really required in Crash. One other minor difference was that while traffic checking was enabled, players were not allowed to directly rear-end a vehicle, as this will cause a premature crash.
Finally, the Alpha 7 build also indicated that up to 108 Crash junctions were intended for the game. In the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions, only around 40 ended up in the final build. It is unclear why a considerable number of junctions and features were dropped from the final game, though a quickly impending release deadline may have forced compromises by Criterion. Ultimately, Crash was perhaps the most affected game mode based on available footage and articles from E3 2005.
In total, eleven Burnout Revenge prototypes across all three consoles have been publicly dumped. While these help uncover numerous features later removed from the final game, the versions present at E3 2005 and in other pre-release footage remain lost to this day. Nevertheless, considering some versions like Alpha 7 were dumped after being purchased from private collectors, it is possible these missing builds still exist and so can potentially publicly resurface.
- The Cutting Room Floor article on Alpha 7.
- Hidden Palace providing a list of available demos and full build prototypes.
- YouTube playlist containing cut content available on Alpha 7.
- GameSpot review of the PlayStation 2 version. Retrieved 23rd Apr '23
- IGN previewing the game at E3 2005, and detailing key differences in Crash compared to the final release. Retrieved 23rd Apr '23
- Engadget noting the Burnout series Crash Mode, and considering it the franchise's trademark. Retrieved 23rd Apr '23
- IGN previewing the game prior to E3 2005, and noting the pickup icons were likely not going to be retained in this game. Retrieved 23rd Apr '23
- GameSpy summarising the Xbox 360 version. Retrieved 23rd Apr '23
- Metacritic aggregate review for the PlayStation 2 version. Retrieved 23rd Apr '23
- r/Burnout post by AlexKVideos1 announcing he had found a pre-release build of the game. Retrieved 23rd Apr '23
- GameSpot previewing the game at E3 2005. Retrieved 23rd Apr '23