Burnout 3: Takedown is a racing video game developed by Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts. It is the third instalment in the Burnout series, which is characterised by fast-paced arcade racing. A staple of the series is the use of boost, earned through risky driving, to rapidly increase a car’s speed. The central mechanic introduced in Burnout 3 is Takedowns, which allow players to slam their opponents until they crash. Takedowns work in conjunction with the boost system by filling up and extending the boost meter. Aside from standard circuit races, the game features modes focused on performing Takedowns on rival vehicles and causing monetary damage at a junction occupied with traffic. Each game variant is featured in a single-player campaign mode called World Tour, which serves as the primary method for unlocking new and faster cars. The game supports both online and split-screen multiplayer.
Prior to the creation of Burnout 3: Takedown, UK-based development studio Criterion had been collaborating with publisher Electronic Arts (EA) on a skating video game. However, disagreements over the game’s creative direction led to its cancellation and falling out between the two companies. EA later approached Criterion about reuniting and partnering on a game, and so Criterion began developing Burnout 3: Takedown in June 2003 on the condition that EA would not interfere in the creative process. Over a year later, EA acquired Criterion and the Burnout series; their high expectations for Burnout 3: Takedown was influential in the acquisition. The game launched in September 2004 on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox video game consoles.