In the latest volume of Iwata Asks that focuses on third-party developers, Satoru Iwata talks with Yozo Sakagami, producer of Ridge Racer 3D, and explore the ideas behind racing games and in particular, the upcoming 3DS instalment in the Ridge Racer series.
After an introduction into Sakagami's background in the video games industry, the topic moves onto the emotions that games can evoke in a person, a process which Sakagami sees as a positive one, as with any other experience that stimulates a person's natural instinct. With the many genres that exists today, Iwata asks if they all have a common trait, in that they awaken a man's "instincts", to which Sakagami agrees and adds that adrenaline will kick in at some point no matter what game is being played.
The moment Sakagami saw the 3DS, he knew he wanted to make a title on it that involved cars. when he ran an early build of Ridge Racer on the system, he found the way he focused on the stereoscopic cars was different than before. The cars and the courses both felt more substantial due to the perception of depth, and as a result, it may mean that gamers will find it easier to judge distances. When asked what themes Namco took on board when designing a 3DS Ridge Racer title, Sakagami replied:
... we aim for speed. And the exhilaration that comes from that speed is where it all begins... we wanted to make the best use of [the 3D] — for example, in scenes where the car in front of you gets hit, loses control, and flips back and bangs into the front of your car. We thought something flashy like that would be cool in 3D, and at first it actually was cool when we put in scenes like that.
However, despite early suggestions to make the game more flashy by adding arbitrary 3D effects, Sakagami soon realised that over-doing it on the stereoscopic effects would act as a distraction and break a gamer's rhythm.
Via StreetPass, gamers can exchange ghost data when they pass by each other, allowing them to effectively race each other in a duel. The idea of competing against someone's ghost image, comparing your methods with those of someone else's is an idea that intrigues Sakagami. Noting that no preparation as such is needed, with just two people carrying their 3DS systems with them is all that's needed, the 3-5 minute races are convenient and undemanding. Gamers can even store up to 50 ghosts from StreetPass. When discussing the volume of content gamers can expect from Ridge Racer 3D, Sakagami explains that:
The game may be for a handheld system, but we increased the volume. For example, there are quite a few more courses. We made several new courses and there's quite a rich selection of cars. There's also a Grand Prix Mode with various race locations. More than 150... There's a variety of modes, too. For example, there's the Tour Mode. Unlike the Grand Prix Mode, it allows you to select certain conditions—like you want to play for x number of minutes—and it automatically selects a course for you... There are a number of conditions for selecting a course. You can choose courses for their emphasis on speed or curves. And then there's the music. We often hear that the music in Ridge Racer is good, so the staff originally in charge of the music in the series made 15 new music tracks. Including some old music, there are more than 40 tracks!
It certainly sounds like there's a wealth of content to tuck into when the game launches on both sides of the Atlantic next month. If you haven't already, be sure to read our First Impressions article to get a better idea of what to expect with Ridge Racer 3D. For more information on the development team's habit of releasing work-in-progress screenshots, Ridge Racer's roots in the arcade racing genre, and a bonobo chimpanzee playing Pac-Man, head over to the latest Iwata Asks.