It's hard to believe, but Ridge Racer is officially 20 years old this year. Originally released as an addictive arcade game in 1993 before being ported to home console on the PlayStation as one of Sony's flagship launch titles in 1994, the original will always be remembered as one of the defining 3D racing games. Traditionally, it's pulled up alongside every PlayStation console launch. Sadly however, the parking space usually reserved for Ridge Racer was taken by Need for Speed: Rivals when the PS4 was released last week.
To compensate for its absence, Namco Bandai has announced Ridge Racer: Slipstream, a new sequel to celebrate the series' 20th anniversary. But before you get too excited over the return of the drift-happy series, no, it's not a PS4 game. Yes, you guessed it: it's a trendy mobile game. Sorry Kaz.
Yes I know, it's not exactly the first established racing series to drift away from its home format and conform to the mobile platform – Blur Overdrive being a recent example. But don't write it off just yet,
While BugBear's Ridge Racer: Unbounded steered the series off course into Burnout's urban territory with a misguided emphasis on gritty destruction, Ridge Racer Slipstream favors a more familiar brand of colourful cars, twisty tracks and of course preposterous powerslides. Indeed, it looks like an ode to the traditional Ridge Racer series that we've sorely missed, which would be an appropiate 20th anniversary celebration. After all, if you discount the stripped down Vita game we haven't had a proper Ridge Racer game since the PS3 launch title Ridge Racer 7.
The feature-set is fairly run-of-the-mill: Ridge Racer: Slipstream will feature an expansive career mode with over 108 racing competitions, an arcade mode with three race types comprising of Regular, Quick Race and Knockout events. Furthermore, online multiplayer will be added in a post-launch patch. Twenty tracks will be bundled at launch, although ten of these will be mirrored versions in keeping with Ridge Racer's tradition.
Ridge Racer: Slipstream will run on a bespoke engine optimised for the mobile platform, as showcased in the debut trailer:
The frame rate hiccups visible in the trailer don't exactly do the game justice, but we'll reserve our judgement until we play the final game.
We also get a brief glimpse at Ridge Racer: Slipstream's car customisation, a key feature that will allow you to modify colours, rims, body kits and vinyls to create, allowing for more than 300 customisation possibilities as the trailer proudly proclaims.
Ridge Racer: Slipstream will be sliding onto iOS and Android December 19th. BugBear's free-to-play Ridge Racer Driftopia is also due to land this month on PC and current-gen consoles.