Ridge Racer Driftopia Is Free-To-Play, Coming To PS3 And PC In 2013

By Brandy Shaul , Updated May 12, 2013 07:06 PM EDT

The next installment in the successful Ridge Racer series will take the franchise to a place it's never been before: the world of free-to-play games.

Ridge Racer: Driftopia is Namco Bandai's freemium racer that will see players collecting cars on trading cards of sorts, purchasing new cards (and vehicles) with real money (and hopefully in-game currency), and then taking those cars to the streets in races that focus not only on speed and drifting, but also encourage a bit of destruction and mayhem along the way.

Each vehicle card in Ridge Racer: Driftopia comes with a variety of stats. The cars have top speed, acceleration, boost power, and strength bars, as well as rarity markers and levels. As players use cars, they may need to repair them (races don't look to shy away from wrecks and explosions), and each card lists the repair cost as well. Both cards and Repair Kits will likely be available for purchase with real-world money as a way for Namco to monetize the experience.

So far, we know that there will be three types of vehicle packs available for purchase, containing common, rare or mythic level vehicles. The store will also contain large and normal sized booster packs and XP boosts that will help players become better at the game without grinding through the game's free-to-play portions.

These boosters will specifically allow players to choose a certain perk before the beginning of a race, like having more power at the start, increasing the player's ability to chase other cars down mid-race and so on. Boosters are limited in their number of uses.

"The free-to-play and digital gaming space presents an incredible opportunity for Namco Bandai Games to offer its illustrious roster of titles to a new and ever expanding audience," says Vice President of Marketing and Digital Sales at Namco Carlson Choi, via a company release. "We're excited to have Ridge Racer Driftopia take Namco Bandai into this constantly growing sector."

Ridge Racer: Driftopia will give players the chance to drive, race and definitely drift all for free on both PlayStation 3 and PC when it launches later this year.

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