That Was Fast: F2P Ridge Racer’s Servers Closing In August

By Nathan Grayson on June 20th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

there is a lot of cotton stuck to that wheel

Hey, remember that free-to-play – sorry, “free-to-drift” – Ridge Racer game, Ridge Racer: Driftopia? It went into Early Access beta late last year, and now it’s finally about to not be in beta anymore. Normally, that’d mean it’s crossing the finish line, champagne and confetti raining down as other car culture imagery looks on. Unfortunately, the future is not so certain for Driftopia, whose perfectly drift-shaped roads may never see another car again.

Eurogamer reports that, come August 15th, Driftopia’s servers will be taken offline – maybe once and for all. Bandai Namco is not entirely clear at the moment. Here’s the short statement they released:

BANDAI NAMCO Games Europe S.A.S announced today that RIDGE RACER DRIFTOPIA’s open beta will be finished in 60 days. The leading developer and publisher wanted to take this opportunity to thank all its players for their permanent support and dedication! All the feedbacks will be taken into account for the upcoming projects.

By August 15th, servers will be turned off and the game will no longer be in Early Access.

Which sounds initially like it’s going to be good news, then pivots sharply to reveal the total end of the game.

Given that it launched right into relative obscurity, I never heard much about Driftopia. Did anyone play it? Was it any good? Is its loss any great shame, or will your heart drift again someday?

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18 Comments »

  1. DanMan says:

    *tumbleweed*

  2. Eight Rooks says:

    Never played it myself, partly because all I ever heard about it was that it was basically Unbounded with a really, really punishing F2P structure and several gameplay tweaks for the worse. (Edge were one of the few places that loved Unbounded and they still hated Driftopia IIRC.) It never looked likely to go anywhere but down, and the last mobile iteration of Ridge Racer, Slipstream, seemed better by miles – I mean, I bought that one, I played the hell out of it and it was a legitimately brilliant game at times, where the freemium nonsense could be largely ignored. So, yeah, it’s unfortunate for Bugbear but I can’t say I’m sorry to see this one disappear.

  3. mechabuddha says:

    I love RPS. I love your articles. I love your journalism. But I do get annoyed at sensationalist articles with little information backing large statements. Do we know for sure that the game is being taken down permanently? Or are just the beta servers being shut down? Because that’s not clear, either in the official statement from Bandai Namco, or from the Eurogamer article you sourced:

    “It doesn’t sound like the game will be launched proper following the server shutdown, but we’ve asked Bandai Namco for more information.”

    And the phrase “permanent support” does make it seem like there should be something “permanent” to “support”, no?

    • ThTa says:

      The official Facebook page is less ambiguous:

      “We thank all the players who joined the Open Beta for their participation, support and dedication. Your feedbacks will be invested in our existing and upcoming projects to deliver you thrilling and exiting experiences.

      From June 19th, all in game purchases will be disabled. Previously purchased content will remain available in-game until August 15th.
      By August 15th, servers will be turned off and the game will no longer be available.”

      The statement in the article is just a case of PR doublespeak reaching a density so high that none of the actual message remained.

    • silentdan says:

      From the PR statement: “By August 15th, servers will be turned off.” Story’s title: “F2P Ridge Racer’s Servers Closing In August.” I’m not sure the story’s title is any more ambiguous or misleading than the actual statement it’s reporting on. I seriously object to sensationalist journalism, but this may not be a good example of it.

    • hotmaildidntwork says:

      “And the phrase “permanent support” does make it seem like there should be something “permanent” to “support”, no?”

      Well, they’ll “permanently” have those people’s money, at least.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        This is the real issue here. If a game doesn’t work out, fine, they moved on to a new project. The fact they have taken people’s money for a product that will never be officially finished is, in my opinion, criminal, nothing more. Things need to be done to stop this happening. Early Access games that don’t get finished, F2P games that never fully release, the creators should be legally bound to give full refunds or suffer criminal charges. The issue seems to be this sort of nonsense doesn’t fall under anybodies direct jurisdiction, hence nobody with any influence legally is seeking punishment for what amounts to little more than credit card fraud.

  4. secuda says:

    And companies wonder why people get sceptical when they mention F2P model.

  5. MeestaNob says:

    Couldn’t even log into it on the weekend, I assumed it was already dead.

  6. Neurotic says:

    I think BugBear developed this for NB, but I think they handed it over and their involvement ended there. Which is fine, because NEXT CAR GAME IS BRILLIANT!

  7. BooleanBob says:

    all this will be lost in time, like tyres in the rain

  8. malkav11 says:

    “Hey, remember that free-to-play – sorry, “free-to-drift” – Ridge Racer game, Ridge Racer: Driftopia?”

    Um…no?

  9. Simplisto says:

    I was one of the 20-ish people who played this game.

    It had potential, but the steering made it very easy to crash. This wouldn’t have been so bad – as crashing is all part of the fun – except your earned cars would be lost forever after a small number of accidents. The only way to save them was to use a repair kit… bought with real money.

    In short; they got greedy and now anyone who supported them through purchases have nothing to show for it. Not even a complete game.

    • Laini says:

      Yeah, way too easy to crash and the punishments for crashing were too severe.

      I’m not sure if they changed it but when I played it you could crash once and that was it, your race was over. Even if you had a Repair Kit you still had to start from the beginning.
      And a large part of the appeal of Driftopia and Unbounded was the smashing through obstacles and opening shortcuts etc, the way this game was set up you didn’t wanna cross a white line in case you somehow flipped over.

  10. Asami says:

    I didn’t play Driftopia, but I did make the mistake of purchasing Unbounded.

    Assuming it was anything like that, I’m not surprised. I don’t even know how Unbounded did as well as it did. These are not Ridge Racer games. These are trash.
    I would have loved something like Ridge Racer 7 on PC, but to give us Unbounded as the first real PC Ridge Racer and then this thing felt honestly insulting.

    Maybe someday we’ll get a real Ridge Racer on PC…

    • dE says:

      Unbounded was a lot of fun, that could have been even more fun if not for the utterly idiotic rubberband AI. Blue Shell got nothing on cars as fast as rockets that instagib you to the last place, because you’ve been driving in front…