Ridge Racer Unbounded: 'We shine in the smaller stuff - cars going through walls'

Bugbear on learning from Blur and Split/Second's mistakes

No-one does "speed with consequences" like the Finnish developer of Ridge Racer Unbounded, Bugbear.

That's according to not some judicator of virtual car crashes, but the bloke in charge of the game, producer Joonas Laakso.

"We really shine in the smaller stuff - so not buildings coming down but cars going through walls and having lots of crap airborne around the car at the same time and doing so at a nice frame rate," he explained in a recent CVG interview.

Anyone who's played Bugbear's previous games, the fantastic Flatout series, will know he's not talking a load of old cobblers.


Ridger Racer Unbounded looks quick, strategic and brutal - but don't take our word for it, listen to his...

Why is now the right time to reimagine Ridge Racer?

I would have to direct that at Namco Bandai but what I can say is it's been a while since the last core Ridge Racer title, about five years now, so maybe it's a good time to see what it could mean for new audiences that might not have played a core Ridge Racer title. If you're a 15-year-old you might have seen the name and know it as a Namco Bandai racing title but that's probably about as much as you know. We're just trying to bring it across to - hopefully - new audiences.

What came first, Ridge Racer or the concept for this game?

Namco Bandai came to us with the need for someone to look at Ridge Racer and see what we could do with it, and what we came up with was obviously something they liked and wanted us to take it further. I would say Namco Bandai's need for Ridge Racer came first.

Where did the idea to incorporate the game HUD into the environment come from?

A lot of things. We were looking for something visually distinctive. You've seen similar things in movies and TV shows but I haven't seen it in games all that much. Plus we were thinking of something different to do with the HUD and were really struggling with ideas. When we tried that it felt right. I think we're going to be pursuing it fully and seeing how far we can take it. I guess it's a combination of inspiration from other media and something we noticed nobody else was doing in games.

How powerful is your destruction engine, how does it compare to something like Bodycount or Red Faction?

The difference is that our proprietary destruction tech is all integrated into the physics engine which is powering the 3D engine, so it's all integrated and built around 'things going very fast'. What most destruction engines can't do is cars going at 200 kmph and hitting small objects and having them react in a realistic way without everything grinding to a halt.


What we do really well is speed with consequences and I don't think anybody else can really do it as well as we can. We really shine in the smaller stuff, so not buildings coming down but cars going through walls and having lots of crap airborne around the car at the same time and doing so at a nice frame rate.

Your Ridge Racer is going to come out at a time when the genre is dominated by games like Need for Speed and Gran Turismo. Can it compete with those?

I believe it can. The initial online comments based on first impressions looks like there is a demand for this sort of title. There are some disagreements about whether it's 'Ridge Racery' enough but I'm seeing a lot of comments saying this is something quite of people are looking for. It's the kind of game I would be buying and I don't see any direct competition right now. I'm really happy that the Need for Speed guys are doing so well with Hot Pursuit and also Shift, but I don't see more simulation titles competing with us - it's a different audience.

  1 2 3