Namco has moved to reassure fans that it hasn't dumbed down the core Ridge Racer driving gameplay for the Nintendo 3DS version of the game.
Last month Ridge Racer 3DS localisation producer Ryo Totoyama sparked fan concern when he compared the game to Mario Kart in terms of accessibility.
Speaking at the New York version of Nintendo's recent 3DS launch event, Totoyama explained that new control options should open the game up to kids raised on the simplicity of Mario Kart. "Drifting itself is hard enough – sometimes it's really hard to enter the drifting state, because you've got to release the gas pedal momentarily to enter the drift, and then you've got to counter-steer to control the car," he said.
"We've realised that, so we've introduced this easy one-button drift feature. It really works similar to Mario Kart, so young audiences, young players are familiar with how Mario Kart works, so it helps lower the barrier, expanding the game to a wider audience who have been intimidated by the controls."
Totoyama also noted that the punishments for swerving into walls or other cars are less severe, so it should be possible to remain competitive despite mishaps.
However, speaking to Eurogamer at a Namco press event in San Francisco last week, game director Masamichi Yamazaki promised series loyalists that the core gameplay remains unchanged.
"Ridge Racer 3D is a brand new title we've developed from zero specifically for the 3DS," he said. "But the core fundamental concept hasn't changed. The fundamental concept has always been a pick up and play, very easy racing experience.
"What we did for Ridge Racer 3D is expand that to make it more accessible for a wider range of users, not to just shift to another group of users.
"It's not the core game that has changed. It's more about how it can be played. It's not about making the game easy - that's not how it has evolved. It's about giving it more of an appeal to a wider range of audience.
"The core gameplay, how it's controlled, how your car behaves, that hasn't changed. At the same time there are people out there who were intimidated by the game because it looks foreign to them, it looks hard to control. Drifting... what is that? It seems hard to start drifting and control your car.
"So we've added features that help those players and allow them to join in and compete with other players. That's what this game is all about."
Ridge Racer 3D forms part of the Nintendo 3DS launch period line-up. It'll use the 3DS' Street Pass feature to exchange ghost car data and rankings with people you pass on the street.
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