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Prerelease:Burnout 3: Takedown

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for Burnout 3: Takedown.

This article is a work in progress.
...Well, all the articles here are, in a way. But this one moreso, and the article may contain incomplete information and editor's notes.

Burnout 3: Takedown is the third game in the Burnout series, and the first to be published by Electronic Arts after acquiring Criterion Games. This game was released in September 2004 to massive critical acclaim, due to its gameplay, rather polished graphics (and fluid frame rate) that have held up even 19 years later, and significantly refining the trademark features of the Burnout series.

"Fuel Injection" (June 2003 to January 2004)

To do:
Reupload the September 2003 concept animation.

Not much is known about this initial stage of Burnout 3's development, outside of bits and pieces.

  • Pursuit Mode and police cars were present in this version, as this phase was prior to the mode being replaced with Road Rage in February 2004.
  • The game was using an edited version of its predecessor's logo at this point. Fuel Injection was the first of many potential subtitles that were being thrown around at this point in development.
  • The boxing bell sound effect for scoring a takedown that was prominently featured in the early Crash + Burn-era builds was present in a January 2004 demonstration prototype.
    • In this same build, guitar sound effects would play alongside HUD messages.
(Source: GamesRadar)
Fuel Injection's logo.

"Crash + Burn" (February to April 2004)

The second phase of Burnout 3's development saw the game shaping up into something resembling the final product a lot more, although this version was not without plenty of major differences.

February/March 2004

The lighting differences are most noticeable in this shot.
Another shot showing the old lighting style.
A shot featuring the earliest known HUD revision.
Car crumpling in action (sedan on the far right)...
...as well as chassis folding.
  • Pursuit Mode has been scrapped; new gamemode Road Rage has been implemented in its place.[1]
    • Road Rage originally allowed the player to total rivals and eliminate them from the event; after doing so, a new car would spawn in the place of the eliminated one. While this mechanic can be seen in action in the E3 2004 build, its existence during this phase was unknown for quite some time as Road Rage was never shown in promotional footage. The game's demo confirms the mechanic was present during this time.
  • Car deformation was completely different, incorporating chassis crumpling akin to Burnout Revenge as opposed to the bending/stretching of Burnout 3's final version.
    • The late-April builds, including the pre-release demo, use a combination of the two deformation behaviors due to this being around the time the damage modeling was starting to be overhauled.
    • The car's chassis was also capable of folding vertically in this phase of development.
  • A completely different HUD is used. Aside from the boost bar, it's almost identical to the one used in the game's demo.
    • The boost bar in question is more similar in appearance to Burnout 2's, gaining a fiery appearance when in use and staying a neutral color (in this case blue) when not boosting.
    • A tachometer and transmission indicator are present as HUD elements. This is due to manual transmission having been a player-selectable option akin to Burnout 1 and 2; the feature was cut for unknown reasons around late April.
    • All driving stunts (such as drifts and near misses) are displayed in the HUD in the same way as in Burnout 2, using a counter for chained near misses, feet for oncoming etc., instead of the star ratings used in the final game.
  • Environment lighting is much duller and less stylized-looking than later builds.
  • Spark effects are much simpler.

April 2004 Trailers

Something to note about the trailers released for the game is that the gameplay featured in them is days or even weeks older than the trailer's release date (or in the Crash + Burn trailer's case, at least a month and a half for certain snippets). For this reason, their release dates cannot be considered an accurate chronological representation of the game's development. For example, the Cutting Corners trailer clearly uses an earlier build of the game than the demo release, despite the former's release postdating the latter by two days.

Reveal Trailer

Burnout 3's first trailer, which is also the first-ever video footage of the game, was released on April 3rd, 2004. It was online for less than 24 hours before it was taken down by Criterion, due to the possible legal implications of the game having a rather similar name to Eidos Interactive's then-upcoming racer, Crash and Burn (which was, ironically, very similar to the Burnout games). It shows an absolute boatload of differences to the final game, some of which still remain in the game's demo.

(This specific trailer is even more anachronistic than the others, having been spliced together using snippets of footage taken from early February to late March 2004.)

  • Earlier designs for the Sports Type 1, Muscle Type 1, Compact Type 2, Tuned Compact and Custom Muscle are shown.
  • Different engine sounds for the Sports Type 1 can be heard.
  • Winter City and Downtown are shown for the first time.
  • At 0:35, the Sports Type 1 seems to land on and roll off some sort of invisible object - proof of the lack of polish compared to the final game.
  • The Sports Type 1 and Muscle Type 1 both have a max boosting speed of 170 MPH, compared to 185 MPH and 165 MPH respectively in the final game.
  • The overall draw distance is lower.
  • The boost bar can be seen shaking vigorously when in use.
  • The screen shakes when boosting. In the final game, this only happens when the player hits the boost at lower speeds - and even then, the effect quickly disappears after.
  • The skyboxes are different.
  • Dynamic shadows are being used for cars, akin to the first two Burnout games.
  • Downtown seems to have more skyscrapers.
  • Crash camera behavior is completely different, behaving somewhat similarly to Burnout Paradise's camera. It lags behind for a short while before tracking the wrecked car.
  • Aftertouch has not yet been implemented.
  • Crash physics are completely different to the final game; cars roll and tumble much more.
  • Burnout 2's trackside barriers are used.

Barrels of Fun

The second trailer for the game was released on April 30th, 2004.

  • Aftertouch has been added.
  • The final game's spark effects are used.
  • The lighting is now more comparable to the final game.
  • Downtown now uses the final game's skybox.
  • The player's score is now displayed at the top of the screen.
  • The stunt values above the boost bar appear to be more spaced out.
  • An early design for the Modified Muscle can be seen.
  • Crash camera behavior has been changed again; it now appears to be event-based, panning around to give the player a view of each subsequent wreck/car added to the pileup.
  • At this point, the game has already dropped the "Crash + Burn" subtitle and is now simply using the title and logo of "Burnout 3", which can be seen at the end of the video.
  • The trackside barriers used are the same as in the demo.

Cutting Corners

This trailer was also released on April 30th, 2004, showing a Super Type 2 locked in a Face-Off with a Modified Super.

  • Alpine is shown for the first time.
  • The Super Type 2 appears to keep its top boosting speed of 202 MPH without boosting.
  • The Super Type 2 uses different engine sounds.
  • Burnout 2's boosting sound is used.
  • When the player uses the boost, the boost bar seems to fade to blue, but then immediately changes back to its usual fiery color.
    • This is a leftover animation from the same point in development as the Crash + Burn trailer, where the boost bar was blue when not boosting.


  • The Muscle Type 1 has had its top boosting speed lowered from 170 MPH as seen in the Crash + Burn trailer's build to the final game's 165 MPH.
  • The Takedown camera moves differently, giving a better view of the wreck.
  • The HUD message displayed during a takedown has a completely different appearance, with text sporting the same fiery, animated appearance as the boost bar.
  • A few sound effects are completely different, such as the boxing bell sound effect when scoring a Takedown.
  • Instead of there being an animation when a chunk gets added to the boost bar, the boost bar just instantly extends, with no animation.
  • The AI is definitely much less intelligent, as one AI racer is seen attempting to drive "through" a car to get to the pillars area. It just manages to scrape alongside it, only to crash into the taxi behind it.
    • None of the AI racers seem to attempt to take down the player, suggesting that their aggressive driving AI had not been implemented, yet.

Artificial Stupidity

They're really not very good at this, are they?

Over the Speed Limit

Demo Footage (Late April)

Two clips containing gameplay footage of Burnout 3's promotional demo from a French website.

  • The Takedown sound effect has been removed once more. It stayed absent until finally reappearing in the game's retail version.
  • The animated effect of the "Takedown!" HUD message has been removed.

"Takedown" (May to July 2004)

The third and final stage of development; the game is now near-final in several regards compared to the Crash + Burn phase, and only received minor, mostly cosmetic tweaks from here on out.

May 2004

Note the gold medal icon in the top left.
Similar to the Crash + Burn era, flame icons are still being used for HUD messages.
Chassis crumpling has been traded out for bending.
Cars seem to have an increased deformation rate compared to later builds.

  • The HUD has been overhauled by now and looks more similar to the final game's HUD, save for a few differences (like the font from earlier builds still being used).
    • The tachometer from previous builds has been removed.
  • The car deformation of the final game has been implemented.
    • Despite cars no longer using chassis crumpling, the deformation rate appears to be higher than normal, resulting in cars getting more damaged to the point of appearing to crumple in certain cases.
  • Trackside barriers have been changed.
  • Takedown cameras and crash cameras are now identical to the final game's.
  • Player cars now use turn indicators, akin to the first two Burnout games.
  • The final game's crash physics are being used.
  • Traffic density has been lowered since the Crash + Burn era builds.

E3 Promo Trailer

This E3 trailer shows off the opening intro of the game. It's dated 25th May 2004.

  • It lacks the Criterion Games and Renderware logos.
  • The car at the end of the video is not zoomed in on before it explodes.
  • The early logo can be seen.

E3 Interview

An interview showing off Burnout 3's E3 2004 demo, built around roughly the same time as the build(s) featured in the videos and screenshots above.

  • As opposed to the final game's rolling starts, Burnout 2-style hard starts were used for Race and Road Rage events, which also allow the player to spin their wheels during the countdown to obtain a Boost Start. Hard starts would later be removed from offline Race and Road Rage, and used only for Crash and online gamemodes.
    • This feature dates back to at least April 2004, as Burnout 3's promotional demo uses hard starts as well.
  • Road Rage mode and the elimination mechanic is shown for the first time.
    • The HUD message used when the player reaches Damage Critical reads "One More Crash Left!", instead of simply "Damage Critical!".
    • The AI is far more aggressive in this build's version of Road Rage, and the player car reaches Damage Critical much faster than in the final game.

June 2004

To do:
Grab more/better-quality footage.

  • Certain HUD elements, such as the speedometer, are now identical in appearance to the final game's.
  • The "medal target" and "medal awarded" HUD messages use different sound effects.

Crash Mode

Footage of "Trailer Trash", the first Crash event available for play.

  • The player is given a Compact Series vehicle to play the event in, as opposed to the final game, which gives the Heavy Pick-Up.
  • The event end countdown has no sound effect.
  • A different font is used for the countdown text.
  • The Instant Boost pickup was known as Auto Boost and had a different icon; (this can also be seen in the game's demo as well as multiple screenshots of the Prima Guide build.)
  • The HUD prompt for Impact Time is absent.

Prima Guide Build

To do:
Upload the screenshots in question.

Prima Games produced a guide for Burnout 3 via a collaboration with Criterion. This guide was created using gameplay and screenshots of a build dating back to June 2004, as many elements seen and elaborated on in the Guide can also be seen in video footage from the same month.

  • If the player stalled for more than 5 seconds in a Road Rage event, they would receive a penalty which inflicts damage onto their car, accompanied by a HUD message: "Speed Up!". This feature was present in the June 7, 2004 prototype.
  • The Custom Coupe Ultimate's chassis design had not yet been updated, instead using the older design seen in Burnout 2: Point of Impact.
  • Certain tracks have different environment lighting and take place at different times of day, most notably the Mountain Parkway track.
  • The version of the Gold Medal GP present in this build seemingly allowed the player to select any vehicle they desired.
  • Placeholder billboards from the Crash + Burn-era, which would later be used in Burnout Legends, are visible in some screenshots.
  • Like from earlier builds, flame icons are used for the HUD messages.

July 2004 Footage

  • The sound effects for earning Takedowns and Boost segments are still absent.

Vehicle Remodels

To do:
Grab images of the cars both pre- and post-redesign for comparison.

Between April and May 2004, several vehicle chassis models were redesigned; these redesigns were apparently done to avoid the possible legal trouble of certain cars' appearances being too similar to their real-life counterparts (despite the fact Burnout 2 managed to get away with the majority of its designs indeed strongly resembling their inspirations, oddly enough).

Most of these overhauled the cars to look identical to how they did in the final game.

  • Compact Type 2/Assassin Compact (near-complete overhaul)
  • Tuned Compact (complete overhaul, except for taillights)
  • Muscle Type 2 (front fascia and taillights redone)
  • Modified Muscle (entire front fascia as well as taillights redone)
  • Sports Type 1 (near-complete overhaul, except for overall body shape)


The game was originally intended to have a composed soundtrack akin to the previous two titles in the series. When EA took over publishing duties circa January 2004, Criterion chose to replace it with songs from the EA TRAX catalog, giving us the famous licensed pop punk soundtrack we have in the final version. This soundtrack would eventually appear uncut in Burnout Paradise.

  • One of the cut songs, Ozone, is retained as the title screen music but doesn’t fully loop, as well as when you unlock a new series of cars.
  • A fragment of another song, Betty's Last Voyage, is used when unlocking a new car.

Everything else goes unused. It can be listened to here.


  1. Interview with Burnout 3's director Alex Ward: "I can tell you that we've cut the police vehicles from the new game. Burnout is all about danger, risk and reward, and driving like a maniac on the wrong side of the road, so we felt driving a police car didn't fit so well. The game is all about speeding, and as we know from real life, it's better to do this when there are no cops around!"