Ridge Racer to return with free-to-play title
Namco today announced that the next title in the Ridge Racer series will be released later this year, and as a free-to-play game.
Complete with a trailer (linked above), the new game is subtitled Driftopia, allowing players to once again start drifting around the streets of Ridge City. Which game modes will be included is uncertain, as no other details have been revealed other than the title, general release date and marketing model.
The move into free-to-play for the big name series is perhaps the biggest surprise. While the press release quotes Namco Bandai European Senior Vice President Oliver Comte as saying “it’s very exciting to be bringing one of our most successful franchises to the free-to-play space for everyone to enjoy,” this does still boil down to the title running on in-game microtransactions. The release trailer includes (from 0:27 to 0:30) glimpses of booster categories – presumable to buy extra vehicles – as well as repair packs and XP boosts.
Ridge Racer: Driftopia is due to be released for PC and PS3; no release date has been announced beyond “later in 2013″. [EDIT: purely speculation on my part, but the original Ridge Racer was released in October 1993; my guess is this game being released on or around the 20th anniversary.]