EGM had the chance to talk with Producer Joonas Laakso who worked for Bugbear Entertainment in developing the new Ridge Racer Unbounded.
EGM: So, Unbounded looks like a major departure for the series so tell us about it and what fans should be excited about with Ridge Racer: Unbounded?
Jonas Laxlo: Ridge Racer: Unbounded is the new take on the series. Namco came to us at Bugbear and wanted to see what we could with a Ridge Racer title. So basically if you know our history we always feature lots of heavy physics, destruction, car crashes, and having cars go through stuff in the game. We still kept a lot of the core stuff like drifting is still a core mechanic and of course these fantastic looking super cars going way too fast on the road, but just with a bit of different style or taste now.
EGM: It seems like you can pretty much drive through anything and uncover shortcuts and alternative paths by basically exploring the environment with the front end of your car, right?
JL: Yes, the whole point is that if there is something in your way, you should be able to drive through it. Either its collateral and you can just drive through it and it won’t affect you or you can fill your power bar by drifting or driving in a cool fashion and then you’ll be able to highlight special destruction targets in the game world like solid walls and big buildings and whatnot and then take shortcuts right through those buildings.
EGM: Another thing we noticed too, is the interface for the game where you take all of the scoring and lap times and integrate those in the environment. Are you guys placing a premium on presentation?
JL: We just really wanted something that we felt no one else had done before, at least in this genre. And we just really liked the visual impact of having your score plastered on a wall in 10-meter high letters.
EGM: The big thing you guys are showing off is the track creator. Tell us a little bit of how you guys arrived at that on the development side of things.
JL: Basically what happened was that we already had this system in place that we were using to build the templates from and along the way we realized that if we refined the system a little bit, well, quite a bit actually, but we would be able to put together a system where building a track would be as easy as putting together a LEGO set or whatever. So it works where you’re like almost snapping together these big boxes and it’s not really like you can make a mistake. It’s always going to fit together, it’s always going to work, and it’s always going to be a really high quality track and you really don’t need any kind of design expertise to put together a high quality racing track.
EGM: Right so every track in Unbounded, you guys actually used the same in-game editor that the fans are going to be using?
JL: Precisely. The fans are going to get exactly the same content and exactly the same tools in order to build their own tracks so basically they’ll be able to remix the stuff they’ll find in the game and that they’ll recognize by playing through the single player mode.
EGM: So basically fans of Little Big Planet who also enjoy racing games should feel right at home here. There is also an online element to the track creation. People can share their tracks with the community?
JL: Yeah so whenever you will have created your own track, you will be prompted to add it to your city. You city will serve as your online home or hub and something that will represent you online. So when one of your friends ever goes online, they will be prompted to check out all the new stuff you have created or whatever is most popular at that moment. So whenever you go online you always be treated to a set of content you haven’t seen before and it’ll always be fresh for you to try to conquer it and get it under your belt.
EGM: So there is basically limitless replay value. Is there anything else to expect? I know with Ridge Racer unlocking vehicles is a big thing. Will we see the return of the mappy-mobile here?
JL: We can’t reveal any special cars, but we can say that some of the Ridge Racer fan favorites will be making their comeback and we will have some of the old Ridge Racer car manufacturers in the game as well.
EGM: And what about head-to-head play? How many cars are you going to support?
JL: We haven’t revealed any specific numbers yet for head-to-head play but it will be comparable to other games in the genre. It’ll be enough.