Free-to-play racer Ridge Racer Driftopia to be shut down at end of beta

Bandai Namco's free-to-play - sorry *vomits* free-to- drift - racing game Ridge Racer Driftopia's year-long beta will come to an end in around 60 days. Normally that would be the time when a game graduates from beta to, er, 'the one after beta', otherwise known as 'released'. That's not happening here: Namco Bandai Namco (delete as applicable) have announced that they're to take the project offline instead. By August 15th, Driftopia's servers will be shut down, while its Steam Early Access page will presumably be Old Yellered in the back of the head. Given the staggering number of negative reviews on that linked page, I shan't think people are going to miss it.

Bandai Namco delivered the news as confusingly as possible, stating that "Ridge Racer Driftopia's open beta will be finished in 60 days," and that "by August 15th, servers will be turned off and the game will no longer be in Early Access". The ambiguous wording offers a glimmer of hope (if indeed hope is the right word) that the beta might return in some form - however, a post on the official Ridge Racer fan Facebook page is much less ambiguous, suggesting that any feedback gathered during the beta will be put towards existing or future games, rather than this one:

"The spin-off and first free-to-play game of the RIDGE RACER series has been made available in September 2013 with an early access on PC Steam.

"We thank all the players who joined the Open Beta for their participation, support and dedication. Your feedbacks will be invested in our existing and upcoming projects to deliver you thrilling and exiting experiences.

"From June 19th, all in game purchases will be disabled. Previously purchased content will remain available in-game until August 15th. By August 15th, servers will be turned off and the game will no longer be available."

Here's hoping that, if Ridge Racer does return as a free-to-play game someday, Bandai Namco and Bugbear manage to do so without alienating quite so much of the series' vocal fanbase. (Thanks, RPS .)

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.