Gamescom 2011: Ridge Racer: Unbounded Preview - Create and Destroy
Written Saturday, August 27, 2011 By Lee AbrahamsView author's profile
Before we go any further there has to be some kind of apology, as we failed to ask the number one, burning question, pertaining to this game. Namely, what is the deal with the word Unbounded? So now that we have acknowledged that failure it is safe to move on and go deeper under the hood with the game’s Create and Destroy mode, or the city creator as it was dubbed by the game's producer Joonas Laakso, of Bugbear Entertainment.
Obviously in order to create a single track for a title like this can take months of effort from a dedicated team, so the real challenge for the developers was to make things as simplistic as possible so that gamers could have the same results within minutes almost akin to putting together LEGO blocks. No doubt there are hardcore fans out there who would thrill at the thought of spending weeks making a simple course, but that is not really for us, so the idea of snapping together a course in mere seconds is certainly appealing.
The basic premise is simple enough, Bugbear have made a huge number of basic template blocks that can easily by placed together to form your own course. There is a basic template system which comprises of an eight by eight grid, allowing you to place up to sixty four track parts all of which are 250 metres on each side. Simply put you can pick up and drop any number of straights, corners, tunnels, jumps and so on and then piece them together, as long as the white racing line runs from start to finish then you are onto a winner. The game is smart enough to adapt each section to smoothly fit them together as well as inserting appropriate features, such as ramps and destructible areas, along the way.
You can use up to twelve different locales, each with countless individual pieces, and mix and match them to your hearts content. So the race could start off downtown, wind its way through the mountains and then drop back into a tunnel to the start, it is entirely up to you. You can then modify the race type, whether it be a destruction race, point to point or just a flat out rush to the finish, then you can decide on what car types are applicable and so on. You can even alter the background scenery along the edges of your track, so if you want to look between the buildings and see an epic sunset, giant mountain or just more buildings, you can make it happen in a few quick steps.
Within a few minutes, Joonas had created a track and started racing it. The game flew along at high speed, with fully destructible environments and the titles signature ‘Hot Spot’ zones. These are specific points of destruction that you can smash through to unlock shortcuts and the like, and the creation mode had automatically generated a variety of them for use on the newly minted track. The whole thing was seamless with the A.I. racers putting up a stern fight and instantly adapting to the track. Thankfully all of the clever behind the scenes work instantly clicked into place, making the track instantly playable and enjoyable.
Obviously every track that you create can then be shared with the community, creating a potentially limitless number of courses to race across and challenge your friends. Whenever you log in, you can have the option of seeing newly recommended tracks or check out previous high scores and challenges to beat on your own work. It is certainly an impressive set up and one that should lend itself to plenty of ongoing rivalries. Plus, the good news is that all of your work will be stored on a separate server, so no need to worry about filling up your harddrive with all of your bizarre creations.
This game certainly seems to be reaching the classic Ridge Racer feel, with high speed car battles throughout a variety of locales, plenty of destructible environments and a plethora of customization and creation options. With the city creator offering you the chance to build your own network of courses and store them in your own ‘city’ space online, then the possibilities are endless. Obviously this is a racer leaning toward the more arcade side of the fence, so may not appeal to Forza nuts or those weaned on Gran Turismo, but if you are looking to put pedal to the metal then this is certainly shaping up to be the game for you.
Prepare to become Unbounded, or reach for a dictionary to find out what that means, when Ridge Racer Unbounded smashes onto shelves in 2012.