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Electronic Arts to publish Burnout 3 this year

Burnout 3 will be published later this year by Electronic Arts for PS2, Xbox and Gamecube, it has been revealed. The previous two games in the superb arcade-racer series were released by Acclaim but it was widely known that developers Criterion weren't contracted to them for a third game.

Best known for their spectacular crashes and sheer street racing thrills, the previous Burnouts both met critical and commercial success and were among Acclaim's best-selling titles.

While no firm details on Burnout 3 have been announced, it's expected that it will be released simultaneously on all three consoles (the PS2 version of Burnout 2 preceded the other formats by seven months) with a GBA version to follow. It's also anticipated that the PS2 version of the game will offer online play.

Whether the game will be compatible with Xbox Live, though, rests on a resolution to EA's impasse with Microsoft. At present, no EA games are Xbox Live compatible as the two companies have been unable to agree terms. However, in November, EA Sports head Chip Lange said that they're continuing to discuss business models with Microsoft. "We're hoping that we can figure out a solution so we can get there. There's certainly no bad blood and, the good thing is, we're talking," he said.

Unfortunately, since then there's been no word on the matter from either Microsoft or Electronic Arts. When we asked EA if Burnout 3 is likely to be compatible with Xbox Live, we were simply told, "We're not even talking about that game yet as it hasn't even been formally announced." We'll keep you posted as soon as we have any updates.