Ridge Racer. Most know it as a punchline, but if you were there in the late-’90s — a time before anyone knew how to properly spell Gran Turismo — these games were the pinnacle of console racing. State-of-the-art graphics and a singular style, coupled with novel drift-centric physics, made Ridge Racer iconic. We haven’t gotten a new one in a decade, though there’s reason to believe that we’ll at least see one of the franchise’s best titles re-released on PlayStation 5.
You see, Sony is looking to bring a swath of PS1, PS2 and PlayStation Portable games to its latest system that you still can’t walk into a Best Buy and purchase. Among them, it seems Ridge Racers 2 — the series’ second PSP entry — may make the cut, based on backend PlayStation Store data found by a Reddit sleuth.
In fact, there is an official PlayStation URL hosting the high-res art for Ridge Racers 2 seen at the top of this post that is live right now, along with a Title ID that is attributed to each game sold through the vendor.
Most will laugh, but this is kind of a big deal to a very vocal but very small subset of the gaming audience. Ridge Racers 2 was essentially a patch on the first PSP installment, Ridge Racers, that served as a greatest hits of sorts for the franchise. Ridge Racers 2 included every track from the four installments released on PS1 — Ridge Racer, Revolution, Rage Racer and R4 — with a handling model that was plenty more forgiving than those of the first three games. It also had a soundtrack composed of choice cuts from across the franchise’s then 12-year history. And Ridge Racer jams are the best jams.
Combined with 60 frame-per-second gameplay that really squeezed every ounce of performance out of the PSP hardware — the way only Namco could back in those days — it was a watershed moment for console-quality racing on the go.
I shudder to think how a PSP game running at a native resolution of 480×272 might look on a modern 4K display, and hope Sony has some form of effective upscaling planned. But regardless, I will cheer if Ridge Racers 2 hits the store, and gladly pay almost any price. Especially because the game was never sold in North America for some strange reason. While we got the PSP’s launch Ridge Racers title, the sequel missed us. Until we get a proper new Ridge Racer, it will have to do.