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Ridge Racer Dev: Gamers Want More Difficult Experiences

This is bound to spark some conversation, especially amongst those who remember the days when video games proved to be a significant challenge.

Bugbear is a studio that has had great success in the racing genre (remember Flatout?) and they're currently cranking away on Namco's Ridge Racer Unbounded. And you know, they're none too happy with the current easier-is-better-trend that often applies to the more mainstream titles. Producer Joonas Laakso thinks gamers are now sick of the hand-holding and are ready to give actual difficulty another go:

"I think games in general used to be a little bit simpler, but also a little bit more demanding. I'm not sure if consumers actually want all of this handholding we're offering them now. Nobody expected Demon's Souls to do well but it did, and I'm really happy that Namco Bandai is now publishing Dark Souls.

I think that maybe there's a demand for more in-depth gameplay experiences than what have been catered to lately. Maybe we've been doing too much automation."

Laakso went on to talk about the extreme difficulty of Flatout 2, which he "couldn't finish." That may sound too intimidating for many but he claims they have a lot of fans who enjoy the steep challenge. He also says it's important for game makers to "find a balance between offering more spectacle and higher production values" and we've "gone too far in that direction." Well, that's probably true.

Translation: Ridge Racer Unbounded is gonna be tough.

Tags: gaming industry, video games, ridge racer unbounded, bugbear

5/17/2011 9:12:08 PM John Shepard

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Comments (24 posts)

oONewcloudOo
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 @ 9:33:01 PM
Reply

thats not true dont make all games hard, the last thing i need is every game being as hard as demon souls

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Neo_Aeon666
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 9:20:19 AM

yeah but he's talking about a balance. A lot of games you can literally do with your eyes closed mashing the square button lol. And games like Need for speed undercover where you can nearly do a race backwards and still win :P

So I think it is a good thing that they realize were not 5 yrs old of mental age :D

Last edited by Neo_Aeon666 on 5/18/2011 9:20:55 AM

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tridon
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 @ 10:25:50 PM
Reply

Ridge Racer's always been my favourite racing series. I've been dying for a new one forever now. This is what I get; a Westernized Burnout wannabe that's gonna be hard to play? For frick sakes... count me out. Thanks, Namco! I'm glad another great Japanese series has been destroyed!

Last edited by tridon on 5/17/2011 10:26:11 PM

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Highlander
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 @ 10:34:59 PM

I'd like for Namco to re-release the PS3 Ridge Racer as a PSN title with updated DLC. That it a really good racer. An arcade racer to be sure, not a driving simulation, but that Ridge Racer remained true to itself.

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tridon
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 10:16:50 AM

RR7 was brilliant! It was easily my favourite console Ridge Racer since R4 on the PS1. It had fun online play, too... and I NEVER play online! That says something right there. Another awesome RR installment was the PSP version. It had classic tracks with a classic soundtrack and great graphics.

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main_event05
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 @ 10:32:58 PM
Reply

Serious racing games have always had a nice challenge. Its all those other genres that need to kick it up a notch. I'm not gonna name an names *FPSs Cough Cough

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Highlander
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 @ 10:33:25 PM
Reply

Hmmm... I think that there is a fine balance to be struck. If I pay $60 for a game that ultimately is so hard that it frustrates the crap out of me and get's little play because of that, it's a waste of my money and time. At the same time, I agree that there has been a drift to too much automation and games that are too easy. All that hand holding and AI driven helper NPCs in games can get a little annoying. It makes it feel less like a game, there's not enough challenge.

That said, the challenge in a game should be about skill, not luck. It's all very well making harder games, but the games have to beatable with skill instead of luck and infinite retries. Too many game makers think making a game challenging requires cheating AI or unrealistic challenges that can be accomplished through pure random chance alone. If there is one area that games can improve in, it is this balance of difficulty vs playability. I think I should be capable of finishing every game I buy, but I don't mid if the games are really, really difficult, so long as it's actually possible to win with skill.

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main_event05
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 1:33:44 AM

Like I said in my post above. Racing games represent one of the greatest challenges in gaming to me. Nothing like spending days and days trying to find and stick to that perfect line.

(Happy Birthday to me, BTW. Free drinks for everyone)

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 1:57:42 AM

A brilliant post and one that I agree with most highly! +1

And happy birthday Main_Event! Don't you still owe me a jelly bean (I'm sure it was you)? Cos I'll take that over a drink.

Last edited by Lawless SXE on 5/18/2011 1:58:47 AM

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 3:25:48 AM

main_event05,
HB to ya, hope you received all the games you wanted.

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tridon
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 10:18:40 AM

I can't understand why racing games either have to be too easy or too hard. Why is it that racing games hardly ever have difficulty settings? All other genres have it. I play games to have fun. I have a short fuse and get mad easily when games are too hard so when I hear a game is difficult, I usually just skip it altogether. The last thing I need is videogame-enduced heart attack.

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main_event05
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 11:03:11 AM

Haha, yea. I owe everyone a jelly bean and I owe World a 60g PS3. Thanks for the birthday wishes.

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main_event05
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 11:03:12 AM

Haha, yea. I owe everyone a jelly bean and I owe World a 60g PS3. Thanks for the birthday wishes.

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main_event05
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 11:03:42 AM

Haha, yea. I owe everyone a jelly bean and I owe World a 60g PS3. Thanks for the birthday wishes.

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 2:01:36 AM
Reply

YES! There is most certainly a point where games can get too hard (I'm looking at YOU, final boss of Dissidia at level 111), but more often than not it is the result of cheap battles and lucking out, and that is wrong. Demon's Souls nailed it in that it forced you to use caution, rather than allowing you to do as you willed. They want to give me a game that's difficult, but fairly so, and I'll commend them. Maybe I will pick up Unbounded. Or not, the name just irritates me too much.
Peace.

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___________
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 3:38:50 AM
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not more difficult, more challenging.
i miss the days where games were so unforgiving.
like miss timing a jump in crash bandicoot meant you lost a life, instead of loosing some health and setting you back 2 minutes like todays platformers.
i miss the days of the original PoP where hitting a trap would kill you, not take off a small slither of health and continue on like todays versions.
tis why i loved splatterhouse so much, its a real tribute, a real splurge to the way gaming use to be!
raw, unadulterated!
no apologies, it is how it is, and proud of it!

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main_event05
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 11:01:29 AM

Haha, remember Ghosts N Goblins?? that was a game there, you have no idea how much that game pissed me off. Ahhh, good times.

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maxpontiac
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 9:04:53 AM
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The only thing this gamer yearns for is common sense by the developers.

Why is hard for some developers to include a difficulty selector in the options menu?

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Highlander
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 9:46:47 AM

Indeed. there are many games that could be purchased by more people if that selector and a couple of others were available. Selectors for Language and gore (or violence) would aid greatly in making games that are otherwise Rated M, acceptable.

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maxpontiac
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 10:02:16 AM

Excellent idea as well, Highlander.

There are several games out there that if the option to turn off nudity, offensive language and gore was there, it would have warranted a purchase by me.

I don't understand why this isn't the case to be honest.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 10:47:36 AM
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Off the bat, I think bugbear's desire could limit commercial success.
Make I too hard and too many of your audience will go someplace else. Many gamers want entertainment not necessarily a challenge.

But anyway, personally, I don't necessarily love difficult games, but I do enjoy games that expect a lot from you. That is, the overall complexity of the game requires the player to engage the game proactively to learn that which they are given. Handholding can b annoying, when the game tenderly ensures you hurt your despite by losing. I love games that feel and seem a lot easier by only growing in understanding.

Games that are difficult, as in extreme retarded challenge, where even the slightest mess up results in extreme consequence is no fun.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 11:09:03 AM
Reply

Hehe I remember when I rented Demons souls a year ago. The blockbuster guy at the counter tried to talk me ou of renting.

"this is hard game, man.."
.... " like extremely hard, my friend said it it's REALLY hard"
" u sure u want to play this?" gestures to the selection of other less hard games on their racks.

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LowKey
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ 8:36:01 PM
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OMG I'm so glad that devs are starting to see how bad easy games are. I thank goodness everyday for the likes of Demon's Souls. Games need to go back to their more difficult roots. Look back at thier ancestors like Ninja Gaiden and even further back Shinobi, Heck even little nemo the dream master was a good challenge. I get so upset when I get to the end of a game nowadays. I'll beat it and the scratch my head and go, "That's it?" Where is the challenge?and another thing. WHERE THE HELL ARE THE BOSSES IN GAMES. You have no idea how incredibly mad I get when I have to fight some piddley little wuss at the end of a game. Dead Nation? WTH was the point of that bossless garbage. Even uncharted 1 simple and the "bosses" blew moose balls. Ghostbusters had better bosses and that game sucked outloud. Need a challenge with an epic battle at the end. I believe that is what's turning me off of gaming. A crappy end battle leaves me feeling empty inside.

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Lairfan
Friday, May 20, 2011 @ 4:18:28 PM
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I like enjoyable challenges, and hopefully this will be one of them.

By enjoyable challenges, I mean games that are fun as hell but require quite a bit of skill to beat (not luck), yet at the same time aren't too frustrating with the difficulty. GoW3 on Titan and Uncharted 1/2 are good examples of that.

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