2 Fast 2 Freerious: Ridge Racer Going F2P With Driftopia

By Nathan Grayson on April 12th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

I was really hoping Driftopia would turn out to be a town full of drifters, their transient lives laid bare in a fleeting moment before pressing on, resuming their weary trip to nowhere. Er, I mean, vroooooooooooom.

Ridge Racer, arcadey automotive classic and proof that dumb Internet jokes will outlive us all, is still alive and kicking, even in a racing landscape where cars have finally learned to fly. Last year’s hyper-destructive Ridge Racer: Unbounded was a messy good time, and former FlatOut developer Bugbear is once again behind the wheel for Ridge Racer: Driftopia. Two things, however, distinguish this one from the rest of the powersliding pack: 1) it’s free-to-play and 2) whiirrrrrr rubber screeeeeech driiiiiiiiiiift thoooom [sound of a tire wobbling around on pavement before falling over]. There is, in other words, a focus on drifting. But goodness, this otherwise looks like a low-rent Burnout, and I am physically incapable of complaining about that. Here, watch me try. Whoops, now I’m bleeding everywhere. While I mop all of this up, might I suggest a metal-mangling scream of a trailer after the break?

Yes, “free 2 drift” is an actual slogan. But then, in a world where “prepare 4 battle” is not only legal but printable without a censorship bar or tear-stained apology note, what do you expect? We live in dark times.

Dark times with REALLY AWESOME CARS. Oh, sorry. That was My Priorities talking. He is apparently eight.

Unfortunately, Namco and Bugbear aren’t revealing exactly how this one will, you know, make money just yet, but my figurative money’s on microtransactions. The trailer appeared to contain various vehicle packs, so there’s a probable start. As for where else hungry coin slots will show up, it’s tough to say. It’s worth noting, however, that Namco’s quite new to this free-to-play business, so hopefully it’s been paying close attention to others’ pay-to-win missteps. Otherwise, I foresee bad things.

Regardless, Namco’s apparently quite a big fan of free-to-play now, which is a rather major about-face from, er, one year ago. But then, so long as Ridge Racer: Driftopia turns out to be great, I could care less about the publisher’s previous episode of Videogame Execs Say The Darndest Things. Driftopia will be out later this year, and PS3 will also get a version. Should we expect cross-platform play? Who knows. I have, however, emailed Namco, so hopefully we’ll have more details soon.

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27 Comments »

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  1. Erinduck says:

    If they just include an option where I can buy all the launch content for $50-$60 and have optional microtransactions and grinding for people who don’t want to drop all that at once? Fine, cool, I’d be okay with that.

    • Astrosaur says:

      Unfortunately most F2P models price items so they are much more expensive than that. If you were to buy all the content, it would cost over a hundred dollars in most F2P games.

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    Simplisto says:

    ‘Could care less’. All respect lost.

  3. bit.bat says:

    Free to drive, pay to drift and pulverise would have been the way to make all the money.

  4. djbriandamage says:

    I hope they learned a lesson from the awful, greedy, Need For Speed World whose pricing was atrocious.

  5. Mr. Mister says:

    I insinst, Nitronic Rush and Distance’s main feat isn’t that the car flyis, but that it wallrides.

    • The First Door says:

      Perhaps even more importantly you can do a cool flips on and off walls too!

  6. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    Since the majority of comments will be talking about something unrelated to the actual game of Ridge Racer (bemoaning the F2P nature of it or the utterly horrendous, peerless, crime against humanity of taglines- No, actually you know what, no, this actually prolapsed my jimmies and I’m going to take a far too protracted parenthesis to expound on this; you, Mr. Grayson complaining about a tagline is actually worse than the tagline itself. It’s a completely throwaway, unnoticeable, momentary blink of unimportance yet actually devoting effort to complaining about it as if RPS hasn’t made equally unsuccessful attempts at wit at times is actually terrible, because in doing so you actually raise it to the level of perceptibility and awareness. It could have gone entirely unmentioned by all persons for the remainder of human history, like the hard face of our degraded humanity fading into complete oblivion with the conversion into death of all who knew of it but you couldn’t resist, you just had to edge that last phallic sensation into the disgusting orgasm of patterned neurons, searing orange rivulets into the brain circling endlessly like unsatisfying weightless arcade vehicles. Only through clouds of opium could I manage in merciful mental stupor to forgive just a simple repetition of those three simple words had not this article began with and I quote with all venom; 2 Fast 2 Freerious. Freeious? ‘Freeious‘?! In even the most unflattering comparison, ‘free 2 drift’ has an air of respectability, connoting the wondrous sensations of flight and even the vision of machines hydrofoiling along the surface tension of pavement, upon the very air unconstrained by society or juvenile morality but ‘Freeious‘?! Then… then you have the sheer testicular fortitude to complain about ‘free 2 drift’? To quote Tacitus; crime once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity.) I was going to ask when the good persons of RPS will be hosting the Thief interview promised a while back. I’m really anticipating it and the probing questions and I know this isn’t the right avenue to ask but I fear it would be unanswered in the trove of the assuredly thousands upon thousands of e-mails you receive.

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      AlwaysRight says:

      Imagine having to live in this world without a sense of humour. What a terrible, hellish existence that would be.

      • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

        You must tell me of your affliction as it seems contraindicated by missing overt sarcasm .

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          AlwaysRight says:

          I said humour, not sarcasm :-)

          Only messing, I did assume you we’re playing a pedantic character.

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      Surlywombat says:

      Since I see to have an over
      abundance of carriage returns,
      here are a few I give as a gift to you:

      so that you may use them to edit your post so that it contains a more than one paragraph.

    • The Random One says:

      I’d defend Nathan, but one who uses “testicular fortitude” with a straight face and in a coherent context is not to be trifled with.

  7. Keyrock says:

    I’m used to cheese-tastic puns on this site, it’s part of the reason I read, but you’ve outdone yourself with 2 Fast 2 Freerious. Well played, sir.

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      Malibu Stacey says:

      Here is an example of someone who doesn’t know that a pun is something greater than simply mashing some words together which are vaguely related to the topic being discussed.

      • Keyrock says:

        I am entirely aware of what a pun is, and “2 Fast 2 Freerious” definitely fits the bill, whether it’s a good example of it or not is entirely up for debate. When something puts a smile on my face and makes me laugh, I don’t question its depth or complexity, I just allow myself to laugh and enjoy the moment. If that makes my an ignoramus, then so be it. I’ll happily be a happy ignoramus (see what I did there?).

      • The Random One says:

        You seem to imply it isn’t.

        I don’t think I punderstand.

  8. The First Door says:

    I have to say that’s my favourite alt-text on an image for ages! Well played sir, etc.

    In other news, I never quite got on with Unbounded despite really wanting to. At least with this one being free to play I can get a good idea if I will before dropping any money on it!

  9. Synesthesia says:

    I remember iquite liked the psx (or was it ps2?) where pac man was a secret car, adn all other car designs wer just ridiculous. Is it still good? What has happenned to my ridge racer?

    • Merkoth says:

      Classic RR fan here, so you might want to take my comments with a spoonful of salt.

      The previous Bugbear-developed Ridge Rager (Unbounded) was terrible. It wasn’t a good FlatOut and it certainly wasn’t a good Ridge Racer. The drifting mechanic felt nothing like the classic one, featuring a “drift button” so you don’t need to bother yourself quickly tapping two buttons and the destruction additions were nowhere as good a Burnout Paradise or Split / Second.

      Unfortunately, Namco is so desperate trying to cater to the western market that they’ll keep pulling this crap. They already ruined Ace Combat, too.