The news of a new chapter in the Ridge Racer series was received with a lot of excitement, but now that the cover has been pulled back on Ridge Racer: Unbounded we can see that Namco Bandai has let developer Bugbear chart a new course and direction for the franchise.
The development of Ridge Racer: Unbounded is being apparently closely supervised by Namco Bandai, and it can’t be easy for the publisher. Ridge Racer: Unbounded is not Ridge Racer 8; and, in fact, none of the elements that you associate with Ridge Racer titles are in the game. That means no boost and no drifting, for example. Descriptions of the game are that it is more like Split/Second and influenced by Burnout to perhaps a lesser extent.
The tagline for this game will read “Drive… Destroy… Dominate…” and these “3 Ds” will be the words to live by while enjoying this very accessible racer. The destruction of the environment will affect the outcome races and actually does play a significant role in how you do. Bugbear is excited about Ridge Racer: Unbounded because recently some have complained that titles such as Split/Second and Blur (despite being very well developed) failed to find an audience, which led to sales that were less than stellar.
Optimism is higher now, however, with the recent release of the re-invented Need For Speed Hot Pursuit doing much better than expected, and Shift 2 again selling well. Namco Bandai and Bugbear are very excited about Ridge Racer: Unbounded, which will release for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sometime in 2012. It is expected that Namco Bandai will firm up the release date once the title gets closer to shipping.