It’s been a while, but Namco Bandai is getting back in the driver’s seat and lining up to race. Ridge Racer Unbounded is the latest installment of Namco Bandai’s Ridge Racer series, one of the studio’s core titles. The game was announced back in February at Namco Bandai’s Ignite showcase with a teaser trailer, which didn’t do much other than establish that another Ridge Racer was in the works and that it would have an urban setting.

The developer, Bugbear Entertainment, who’ve brought us the FlatOut games, hasn’t released any details on gameplay. In fact, other than a second teaser trailer, there hasn’t been any news about Ridge Racer Unbounded, until now.

Namco Bandai haven’t given any gameplay details, but at least we can take a look at what the new game looks like in the small set of screenshots they’ve released.

Visually, the screenshots are reminiscent of Burnout Paradise which is not a bad thing at all. The game looks good from a graphics standpoint, but its impossible at this point to draw any conclusions about the game, because the most important aspect of any racing game (and of real cars) is how the driving actually feels.

Another concern is the title of the game. We haven’t been shown exactly why this Ridge Racer will be “unbounded”. But we’ll leave the speculation to you, after you take a look at the screenshots for yourself:

The Ridge Racer series has declined in popularity and influence over the years as Burnout and Need For Speed have established themselves as kings of the arcade racing track. This game could make or break the series depending on its reception, and so far the media support doesn’t indicate that Namco Bandai is quite so aware of this.

The trailers so far and screenshots have failed to generate more than some quiet enthusiasm for the game, without many details or hints to latch onto. The developers at Bugbear Entertainment would be wise to learn a few tricks from one of Namco Bandai’s other big titles, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, which has released a plethora of media as well as gameplay trailers and story details.

It may still be early for news on Ridge Racer Unbounded, but it’s been a relatively quiet announcement, and usually one wants to enter onto the scene in a massive way. The possibility of actual gameplay details is high for E3 however, and we look forward to bringing you new Ridge Racer Unbounded information as it comes in.

What do you think of these screenshots? Is Ridge Racer Unbounded making anyone excited? Leave your comments below.