The one announcement that I feel was overshadowed during this year’s E3 conference was the fact that Namco Bandai Games didn’t reveal a new Ridge Racer to launch alongside the upcoming PlayStation 4.
Ridge Racer has lost some of its luster over the years, however we have had a Ridge Racer game launch alongside each PlayStation platform, included the two handhelds. Are we to see the PS4 be the first system without an accommodating Ridge Racer title? It looks like it.
There is a new Ridge Racer coming out later this year, titled Ridge Racer Driftopia, a free-to-play entry in the long going series. It is only set to release on the PS3 and PC. There’s been no hints this would make its way to the PS4, but it’s doubtful since the game’s “meat” is in microtransactions. Why launch it on a platform that has no users when you can launch it on a system that has over 60 million potential users?
Here’s the Ridge Racer timeline with PlayStation:
1995 – Ridge Racer – PlayStation
2000 – Ridge Racer V – PlayStation 2
2005 – Ridge Racer – PlayStation Portable
2006 – Ridge Racer 7 – PlayStation 3
2012 – Ridge Racer Vita – PlayStation Vita
2013 – ? – PlayStation 4
Are we to break the trend now? Outside of RR’s debut on the Vita, all above are quite solid entries in the franchise. Ridge Racer was some of the most fun I ever had on my PS1, and it was one of the games that really drew me into gaming. I was no longer a casual gamer when I experienced PlayStation. I have Namco partly to thank for that.
The PSP version that launched in 2005 was easily my most played game on my handheld outside of Twisted Metal Head On. I was growing a bit tired of RR before then but this was the entry that really got me back into thinking this franchise is legit again. It was a great debut title for the PSP, showcasing its visual flair and how to do a portable racing game right.
When RR7 launched with the PS3, I told myself I was at least obligated to play it. It was tradition. If you had a PlayStation unit at launch you needed to play the corresponding RR game. The seventh entry in the franchise didn’t top that of the previous versions but given the tough times the PS3 saw game wise in its beginning, it was a welcomed game to have in the collection then. It hasn’t held up well unfortunately.
The Vita debut… well I’ll just saw it is not one to consider.
The question should be asked: is it a requirement for a Ridge Racer game to be launched alongside a PlayStation system? In short answer, yes. It is needed. Call it a good luck charm, though the Vita version or the PS3 version really didn’t do the system any good. The Vita game was bland, generic, and really didn’t showcase the new hardware very well. RR7 meanwhile launched on a system that was overpriced, felt vibration feedback was ‘so last gen,’ and had very few games to appeal non-PlayStation enthusiasts to the system.
I was wrong. Ridge Racer has turned into a bad luck charm. It took a good couple of years for the PS3 to begin selling units. The Vita is still trying to get itself established in homes. Think about it. The PlayStation 3 launched for $599. The PS4 is launching for $399. You are getting a HDMI cable this time around for a HD system. No Ridge Racer in sight.
Folks we don’t want a Ridge Racer game for the PS4. We want the system to be successful. We want to adore it day one. Namco, don’t announce a RR game for launch. Instead, bring back Breakdown – or a legitimate SoulCaibur game.