UPDATE: Three Fields' co-founder Fiona Sperry has told GamesIndustry.biz that the studio does not class either of its previous projects as a disappointment.
"Without Dangerous Golf we wouldn't be in the position to ship three games within a single 12-month period," she says. "What we've achieved from that perspective is fairly unique especially given our team size."
Sperry added that the studio was please with Lethal VR's sales and customer feedback, and stresses that "the realities of the VR market, whilst a very exciting prospect for the future, mean the market opportunity has a limit at this time".
ORIGINAL STORY: The creative minds behind the Burnout franchise have revealed their next project, one that aimed directly at the racing series' fans - and its crucial that they get as many on board as possible.
Three Fields Entertainment yesterday revealed Danger Zone, a spiritual successor to Burnout's hugely popular Crash Mode, Eurogamer reports. The game will be released next month as a download title for PS4 and PC, priced at £9.99, and takes place around a crash testing facility in which players are presented with a series of junctions and challenged to cause as much damage as possible.
Danger Zone will be the third release from Three Fields since Criterion founders Fiona Sperry and Alex Ward left their previous studio in 2014. Amid cries for a Burnout-style title, they released physics-based action title Dangerous Golf - a project not too dissimilar to Crash Mode - and arcade-style virtual reality shooter Lethal VR.
Neither performed particularly well, so all hopes are now pinned on Danger Zone. When Eurogamer asked how much is riding on this single game's success, Ward replied: "Everything."
He continued: "We got together and pooled our life savings. We've put everything we have into starting a business out of pure passion and determination to succeed. We have no backing. There's no publishers bankrolling us or anything like that. We'd love it if there were. They're free to come and do so. We're just a small group of people just making games and putting them out and trying to do the best we can. Hopefully the game can find an audience."
It's a sign of how difficult and hit-driven the games industry has become when even developers with decades of experience and some world-renowned titles under their belt struggle to go it alone.
While Danger Zone should pacify some Burnout fans, particularly since rights holders Electronic Arts seemingly has no interest in reviving the series, Three Fields still faces demand for a full racing title - something Ward says the studio is not in a position to create.
"A fully-fledged racing game requires a lot more artwork, and that costs money," he said. "Making a big game, making an open-world game, it costs money and it's money we don't have. We'd need backing on that.
"Support for funded projects is incredibly tough and challenging right now. We can't rely on writing ideas for games and thinking somebody's going to come along and give us lots of money to make it. In that time, we could have just put the thing out.
"This could have been a way bigger game if we'd had funding, and we could have easily done another six months on it. But it's us doing it off our own back. We can afford to do about three or four months and a game of this scope."