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Ridge Racer Driftopia : The Bigger They Are…


Through some strange, cosmic coincidence, hot-on-the-heels of our wistful look back at Ridge Racer 7, Namco Bandai have just announced the next game in the much-loved series: Ridge Racer Driftopia.

Brace yourself: it’s free-to-play. Indeed.

Namco Bandai Europe Exec, Olivier Comte, explains more using nothing but the power of plain English:

“At Namco Bandai Games we are committed to embracing new business models alongside the still vital traditional retail sector. Free-to-play is playing an increasingly important role, so it’s very exciting to be bringing one of our most successful franchises to the free-to-play space for everyone to enjoy.”

Plain English, you say? Hmm. That sounded more like wishy-washy business-speak to me. So in the interests of accurate journalism, I ran it through VoxelArcade’s special translator machine-type-thingamyjob. It’s a Cold War relic that Simon found in the basement under a pile of old Model Rail magazines, would you believe. Seeing as it apparently pre-dates the Internet, it’s usually pretty good at uncovering the truth. Except that time we tried on Ben during a drunken round of truth-or-dare.

Anyway. It came up with this:

“At Namco Bandai Games, we ran out of ideas as to how we could milk the iconic Ridge Racer franchise. We had a hardcore, faithful audience, but the sales figures weren’t hitting out analysts’ overly inflated targets and this is a cut-throat business. Deal with it. Having killed the heart-and-soul of the original franchise, we decided to go for a me-too Burnout-styled game because we thought the kids were down with that shizzle. We got it wrong, again, and simply threw good money after bad. Realising that by this point we’d alienated both the ageing core-audience and those crazy, YouTube generation kids who were too busy playing FIFA and COD to care, we decided that it couldn’t hurt to make one last-ditch attempt to salvage something from this car crash”

The boys in marketing came up with a subtle way of hinting at the game's cutting-edge business model.

The boys in marketing came up with a subtle way of hinting at the game’s cutting-edge business model.

“So, we’re farming out Unbounded again, complete with its original game world. Only this time it’s FTP. We figure it’s going to cost us next to nothing to re-package and re-brand this, and that perhaps enough dumb kids may inadvertently spend a fortune on their parents’ credit cards to make it all worthwhile. If all else fails, Bob in marketing is planing on using this as a case study for his upcoming book “How to Murder a Franchise in Three Easy Steps”. Analysts predict that it should hit the reverse-psychology dollar and secure Bob a top-ten New York Times Best Seller hit and a shift in excess of  three million units. It’s win-win.”

Seems clear enough to me. I wonder why didn’t they just say so?

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3 Comments

  1. I’ve just realised that it should be called Ridge Racer: Dystopia …

  2. Given that Ridge Racer Unbounded had the most staggeringly unfair and unbalanced AI/difficulty I have ever experienced in a full priced title it’s ideal for this kind of money grabbing bullshit.

  3. The crazy thing is, there is room in the market for a superb looking Ridge Racer game to sell well. Criterion is proving that a well made racing game can sell these days.

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