Namco Bandai’s Ridge Racer Slipstream races onto iOS and Android [Interview]
Namco Bandai Games has announced the release of Ridge Racer Slipstream on mobile, updating the classic racing franchise for modern mobile devices. Available on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets for $2.99, Ridge Racer Slipstream offers over 300 customization options across 12 different vehicles.
Ridge Racer Slipstream offers a complete Career Mode, as well as three different race types in Arcade Mode (regular, quick and knockout races). The game’s six Grand Prix Series are set across 10 different race tracks, with each one being playable both forward and backward for 20 different races.
We had a chance to chat with Alex Adjadj, Director of Global Strategy and Sales for Mobile Games at Namco Bandai Games America about Ridge Racer Slipstream, and what long-time franchise fans can expect with this new mobile offering.
Inside Mobile Apps: Can you tell us a bit more about the new racing engine that powers Ridge Racer Slipstream? What improvements does it provide over previously developed engines?
Alex Adjadj: [It’s]the first racing engine from Namco Bandai Games being dedicated to mobile phones and tablets. Previous Ridge Racer mobile games were built based on ports from portable consoles, most notably Sony PSP. For this game, the investment was significantly higher, to make a UX on mobile and tablet feel like a true native and optimal racing experience.
Here’s a series of technical achievements we’re reached with this engine:
- Anisotropic filter – handling textures at a distance
- Advanced Shaders
- Post effects on color themes of the environments
- Motion blurs
- Bloom effects – the way the real light is handle in gameplay
- Full Scene anti-aliasing
- Real time shadows
- Occlusion Query - With this feature, applications can check whether or not the bounding boxes of complex objects are visible; if the bounds are occluded, the application can skip drawing those objects. Hardware occlusion queries are appealing to today’s games because they work in completely dynamic scenes.
64 bits compatibility with iOS.
IMA: What are some of the biggest differences players can expect with Ridge Racer Slipstream, when compared to the previously released mobile game Ridge Racer Accelerated?
AA: All the above, a much better UX, and much much much more in terms of VFM (value for money). For $2.99 (€2.79 and equivalent RRPs in other territories), the user is getting access to 12 cars, 300 tracks, 6 grand prix, 200 car mods, and multiple game modes + additional content to be released regularly over 2014.
IMA: It’s already been revealed that multiplayer will come to Slipstream in a future update. What sorts of content will that provide? Real time races? Ghost avatars? Challenging offline friends?
AA: Absolutely, all of this and even more. Real Time 8 players vs, Ghosts, Challenges offline and special events. More on the menu, but we’d like to keep it secret until then.
IMA: Will Ridge Racer Slipstream offer microtransactions? If so, what sorts of content can players purchase?
Yes it will, but as previously heralded the users will have a choice of spending only $2.99 and play the game to unlock all it has to offer in terms of content, just like a console game. Users will also have the choice to buy items to accelerate the upgrading of their RR machines (by buying performance parts such as body and engine kits) or reaching levels faster (and therefore unlocking new machines and new tracks) by buying machine ‘perks’ which are temporary performance boosts. All these can be purchased with the virtual currency without spending a dime, but of course that’ll require the user to be committed to it.
AA: How will vehicle customization and upgrades work in Slipstream? Will certain upgrades be tied to winning races, for instance?
In Career Mode, the user starts with a basic car and basic upgrade kits. As mentioned before, the more levels and races the user wins, the more machines, tracks and new performance upgrades become available.
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