In-game HUD, dynamic physics and 'thousands of cities' make Unbounded a huge departure for the series.
Expending his destruction resource, Jonaas slams his car into a pillar holding up a bridge hanging over the track. The bridge starts to crumble, raining down huge slabs of concrete on several cars unlucky enough to be underneath it at that moment. Not only can you use targets to attack your rivals, but also physically alter the course for subsequent laps. There are said to be around 12 targets in each track.
While the 'story mode' takes place in Shatter Bay, Jonaas teases the fact that the game is actually comprised from thousands of cities. Thousands. This is clearly ridiculous from a single-player standpoint, which alludes to the fact that it's tied into multiplayer. Perhaps players can create a city of their own - with their own routes and targets - and then share it with other players? Perhaps it's a LittleBigPlanet-esque world built from a patchwork of other people's tracks. This is clearly a feature Bug Bear is proud of; not being able to talk about it seemed to pain poor Jonaas. One for E3 then?
So, it's Riiiiiiidge Raaaaaaaacer! Except it's not. Another very Japanese franchise has had its reins handed to a western developer, and the fans are deservedly worried. "Yehhhh this looks awful if the trailer is indicative of what they're aiming for. I don't want to hit other cars at ANY POINT AT ALL while playing Ridge Racer," offers VideoGamer forumite Woffls, a sentiment echoed in gaming communities across the web.
Jonaas is conscious of the pressure this puts on him as a developer. "I'm aware of the concerns of the fans" he admitted, "but Namco Bandai wouldn't have come to us unless they wanted a western developer's point of view."
True. Over the course of its 18-year history, Ridge Racer has revolved around the same core mechanics. Another game in the same vein might have caused less of a backlash initially, but shake-ups like this are necessary every once in a while. Besides, Namco has revealed that Unbounded is just one branch of the Ridge Racer tree, and there could very well be a Ridge Racer 8 in the future too. While the detour might be a little too drastic for some, there's no reason to write it off just yet.