A feature in Ridge Racer 3D was inspired by the Mario Kart series. No, not mushroom fueled nitrous, the photo icons. Namco Bandai developed Mario Kart Arcade GP 2, an arcade version, which had Pac-Man and a "Nam-Cam" which took pictures of players before a race started. These race icons are in Ridge Racer 3D and the first feature Masamichi Yamazaki, Director, mentioned when I spoke to him about the game.
"We got inspiration from Mario Kart GP and an arcade game called Race On," Yamazaki confirmed. "Since the 3DS is equipped with a camera and it is not just an optional peripheral, I thought we could use this to let players take their picture for a racing icon."
Since Ridge Racer is nearly synonymous with new hardware launch I asked Yamazaki if he feels there is added pressure being first out of the gate, so to speak. "We always experience pressure and difficulties when we try to release a quality game at [a system] launch. When we achieve the goal we feel an overwhelming sense of self-satisfaction."
Flatout developers Bugbear Entertainment are taking the Ridge Racer series in a different direction with Ridge Racer Unbounded. A teaser trailer shows Reiko crashing into other cars. "Ridge Racer has traditionally been a game, which appeals to the mass market due to its simple arcade-like feeling. With Ridge Racer Unbounded, it’s more similar to Need for Speed or Burnout instead of the traditional Ridge Racer," said Yamazaki.
"Ridge Racer should be able to try different directions. Even compared to other racing series they have different themes and styles. I believe Ridge Racer can also do this and give players a game with a new direction."