2012 is a long way off. After all, we just started the second month of 2011... but with news from Namco that a new Ridge Racer title is in development-- called Ridge Racer Unbounded-- 2012 looks to be when the Ridge Racer franchise is in for a huge change.
The revelation of a new Ridge Racer title is exactly what I was hoping to see in 2011, but the focus seems to have moved away from the stylish racing that fans of the series have become accustomed to. Unbounded looks to be leaning on destructive racing, similar to what Criterion introduced with the Burnout series back in 2001. Another surprise is that Namco has outsourced the title to Bugbear Entertainment, rather than handling the development in-house. Bugbear does have experience with racing games as the company's biggest claim to fame is its FlatOut series. The FlatOut games were certainly competent enough, but Namco's move to outsource Ridge Racer here is an interesting one.
Namco's prior decisions to outsource development for their franchises have produced generally disappointing results. Splatterhouse endured a variety of delays after being outsourced to Bottlerocket Entertainment before being completed in-house, and the game was poorly received by consumers and the gaming press. Ridge Racer 64 and Ridge Racer DS were also generally disappointing and were both outsourced projects.
Despite these concerns, the game is still early in its development cycle and the changes to what's been the norm for over 15 years could wind up being the shot in the arm that the Ridge Racer franchise needs after arguably uninspired games so far during this console generation. Feel free to step on the accelerator and read Namco's full press release, just after the jump. Hopefully we'll be seeing a bit more on Unbounded at E3 in a few months.
NAMCO BANDAI GAMES ANNOUNCES
RIDGE RACER® UNBOUNDED™
RIDGE RACER® Franchise Set to Return and Carve its Own Destructive Path
on the PlayStation®3 System, Xbox 360® and Windows PC
SANTA CLARA, Calif., (Feb. 4, 2011) –
Leading video game publisher and developer NAMCO BANDAI Games America today announced RIDGE RACER® UNBOUNDED™
for the Xbox 360®
video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PlayStation®
3 computer entertainment system, and Windows PC. The newest installment of the smash racing franchise aims to shake up the genre by breaking all the rules and a plenty of cars along the way. Get ready to take the action off the circuits and into the streets for one of the most action-packed and destructive racing games ever seen.
RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED
takes the RIDGE RACER
series in whole new direction by adding a punishing dose of destruction to the familiar arcade gameplay. Players will careen through the competition using their four-wheeled street-racing thoroughbreds as high-octane wrecking machines with a new mantra – Drive, Destroy, Dominate.
“RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED
injects a shot of adrenaline into one of the most revered racing franchises in video game history,” said Carlson Choi, vice president of marketing for NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. “The talented Bugbear development team is committed to crafting a game with the amazing attention to detail the RIDGE RACER
series is known for, while also delivering a destructive game, fans old and new will appreciate.”
Developing RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED
is leading Helsinki-based racing specialist Bugbear Entertainment Ltd., whose games in the genre have earned both widespread critical and commercial acclaim. With RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED
, they are aiming to push the genre further and bring their unique touch to the much-loved RIDGE RACER
Let the destructive driver inside break free in RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED
. For more information on RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED,
please visit: http://www.namcobandaigames.com, http://www.facebook.com/namcobandai, or http://www.facebook.com/ridgefan.