Ridge Racer [Working Title] – E3 Preview

Ridge Racer is a part of gaming culture. Personally, I would go as far as to say that a console isn’t “official” unless Ridge Racer is playable on it in some form. Drafting around corners, arcade high-octane races, and vibrant imagery have been a staple of the Ridge Racer franchise for years. After spending a significant amount of time with Ridge Racer (working title) for the PS Vita I will tell you this: forget everything you know about Ridge Racer.

The time I spent with Ridge Racer can only be described as a deeply moving experience. Hiroshi Okubo, Head Sound Designer/Composer,  has taken the right mixture of  music and visual effects in combination with multi-touch features of the PS Vita and executed the vision that Hideo Teramoto, Game Director/VP of Cellius, and team have perfectly.  In the demo designed specifically for E3 2011, sound is at the core of what Ridge Racer is about as you interact with your car by changing the pitch, sound and visual effects of the world around you. So how does this all work? By incorporating the touch capabilities of the PS V.

Creating music that is quite engaging is what the focus of the demo is all about. It’s not just any music, but the music that Ridge Racer is known for while at the same time doing it with a sense of wonder. I had the honor of having Okubo-san present with the game to demonstrate. Touching and holding the screen multi-touch screen on the front adds various effects to your music creation. When you slide your finger back and forth it changes the effects and either gives the more or less depth. Once your effects are created, holding the  L trigger, you can audio loop effect 1, holding  the Right trigger to loop audio effect 2 and holding L+R loops your third audio effect.  As you perform these actions, you car (rendered in stunning detail) and environment react as you create the perfect track to accompany the game. Once I started playing myself, things came together.

The sounds of the effects, and how the shift ever so slightly depending how aggressive or passive you want to be with the multi-touch.  Designing your real-time changes to audio and the tagline in the demo of “Shift the music in to high gear” adds one more layer of control for players of the new series. For a moment, I nailed the right combination and, as my car was rotating, what looked like LED level indicators peaked in a swirl of activity behind the car as the camera was zooming in and out. The whole time I was playing, I kept getting the sense there was something more to this title and I wanted to find out more about this brand new Ridge Racer world I was sampling–but unfortunately it’s still in the early stages.

It’s hard to describe just how amazing this all was but trust me it all came together in artistic, creative and moving way. Ridge Racer was easily one of the biggest surprises for me of E3. When we will see more on Ridge Racer is unknown, but this is a game that should be on your radar. Curious to know more about what we can expect in the feature? Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with the Game Director and VP of Cellius, Hideo Teramoto.