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Kill your darlings: Ex-Burnout designer explains calculated approach to indie dev

"Anything we do has to come to fruition very quickly. If there isn't something pretty good and fun on screen in about three or four days, we pretty much won't continue with it."

In a recent Glixel interview, Criterion co-founder and one of the series designers behind Burnout, Alex Ward, spoke honestly about the challenges that accompany indie development. 

Wind back the clock just four years, and Ward was a driving force behind one of the most popular racing franchises on the planet. Then in 2013, he chose to leave Criterion and EA with fellow co-founder Fiona Sperry to form indie outfit Three Fields Entertainment. Their mission: to make games that "put smiles on people's faces."

It's a noble ambition, and one the duo hoped to accomplish with a team of just six people. Since then, the studio has released two titles, Lethal VR and Dangerous Golf -- both of which hit shelves in 2016. 

A third, Danger Zone, is on its way and is being pitched as a spiritual successor to Burnout's bombastic crash mode. But three games in under two years is no mean feat, so how has Three Fields maintained that intense work rate without compromising on quality?

"You know, we're a small indie team, there's six of us, and we don't have the time, and we certainly don't have the budget to do things on a huge scale," explains Ward. "Anything we do has to come to fruition very quickly. If there isn't something pretty good and fun on screen in about three or four days, we pretty much won't continue with it, because we can't afford to.

"So, we started Danger Zone in December, right after we submitted Lethal VR on PlayStation. You know, we had about a day's break and then went straight into, 'Can we make cars roll pretty well?' and 'What are physics gonna look like?' and 'Can we do something better than we've ever done before?'

"Because what we've done -- certainly the driving games we've done before -- all had compromises and limitations, and our hardware was limited, and now hardware and tools and technology are way better."

You can hear more from Ward by reading the full interview over on Glixel.

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