In-game HUD, dynamic physics and 'thousands of cities' make Unbounded a huge departure for the series.
A race HUD in the traditional sense is gone. Instead, you'll gleam information about a race from the environment itself. While Split/Second mapped its HUD to the car, Ridge Racer: Unbounded developer Bug Bear is doing the opposite - integrating positions, times and scores with the track itself.
This poses a problem, however: how do you get the information you want, when you want it? Producer Laasko Jonaas explained that the game would choose which piece of information to reveal based on your current situation in the race. Somebody in first or second place, for example, is going to be more interested in their score than their position.
The demonstration saw Jonaas driving about the fictitious city of Shatter Bay; an urban sprawl inspired by New York and Chicago. There's the odd reference to the iconic Ridge Racer tracks of yesteryear, but Unbounded is intent on creating its own world. Another deviation from the customs and conventions of Ridge Racer is a dynamic physics system. "We are really good at smashing things up," boasts Jonaas, who took great pleasure in colliding his vehicle into anything that happened to be nearby.
What followed was a massive vehicular altercation, with bits of shrapnel spraying in all directions, and the carcasses of wrecked motors bouncing about the track in slow-motion. Nothing in the game is scripted, meaning each crash is unique. A destruction resource permits such carnage, with 'targets' around each track becoming available as you fill the gauge.
These targets take the form of structures; buildings, shops, bridges and the like. With destruction power activated, you can smash into these objects to get one up on the competition. Targets fall into two categories: shortcuts and traps. Shortcuts need no explanation, but traps are slightly more interesting.