It’s been a while since the last RIDE game was released. RIDE 4 launched back in October 2020, with a next-gen update following earlier in 2021.
I think it was a great game, with lots of bikes to choose from, various disciplines, fantastic graphics, a long career mode and a popular online community. I still dip into it now and again for a quick blast with my favourite road bike.
Milestone’s original IP has had lots of success over the years, building and improving with each iteration. The inaugural RIDE was released back in 2015, and three more have been released since, but things have gone quiet.
However, Milestone did file the trademark for RIDE 5 last year so it’s easy to assume it’s in development. Today I’m going to run through a number of improvements and additions I would like to see in RIDE 5 to help it stand out from the others in the series.
One of the most disappointing features of all the RIDE games is unfortunately an important one – the sound of the motorcycles.
And whilst this has been improving over the years, thanks to certain bikes having their actual sounds recorded in real life to add to the game, others, unfortunately, have not.
Yes, this is a mammoth task with the sheer quantity of bikes in the series (over 170 in RIDE 4), but for the best immersion and engaging experience, the sound needs to be accurate.
Milestone pays close attention to detail for each bike, making sure they are painstakingly accurate to the real-life counterpart visually. But why waste all that time for the bike to sound like a lawnmower? If the motorcycles could sound as good as they look, then they’d be onto a winner.
Difficulty balance tweaks
This should be an obvious one, but when it came to RIDE 4 it sadly wasn’t.
Before you were let loose in races on RIDE 4 you had to earn your respective licence for each region. These consisted of Track Days and Time Attacks. Sounds simple enough.
The problem, however, was that there was no actual difficulty setting with these events. You can change the difficulty of the races in the game from very easy (20%) up to extreme (120%), but this difficulty had no effect on the licence events. The times you had to beat were the same whether you were playing on the hardest difficulty or the easiest.
If you’re a veteran of motorcycle games or are a dab hand at racing games in general, then these events posed no issue and no real challenge.
If, however, you are new to the series or just wanted to play casually and slowly work through career mode, you were hit with a difficulty spike right at the beginning.
I saw a lot of people complain in my YouTube channel’s comments that the licence events were too difficult and because they couldn’t get past them, they couldn’t progress any further in career mode.
So if Milestone goes down the same route for licences in RIDE 5, then please let people set the difficulty and have the goal times change depending on what difficulty you’re playing on. Or at least have a low-level time to not block some kind of progress.
That way they are achievable for everyone and a lot more people can experience the rest of the game at their own pace.
Bring back two previous ideas
As the RIDE series has developed, we have seen good ideas come and go. Some of which were popular ideas as to boot.
The first game introduced the riding style editor, this is where you could alter your rider’s cornering stance to create something unique.
For example, choosing how much your rider’s elbows stick out whilst leaning or your rider’s head angle whilst tipping into a corner. The riding style editor was also present in RIDE 2, but for 3 and 4 they took it out altogether and replaced it with the generic “choose your pre-set riding style” identical to that of the MotoGP games.
I used to have great fun tweaking my rider’s riding style and it was also enjoyable to witness the community’s own unique riding styles online.
An event type which has also been removed for RIDE 4 was drag races. These, as you would expect, feature two or more bikes charging in a straight line to see which bike was the quickest.
These helped break up the traditional races in career mode and whilst short, they were still fun. Having said that, there was a bit of a problem with balancing. Sometimes you would go head-to-head with a bike you haven’t unlocked yet, no matter how much you upgraded your current bike it was impossible to win. Some tweaks would be needed, but it would be a welcomed return.
Re-add older content
Some bikes and circuits which were present in previous games have also been removed, or worse still relegated to DLC, sometimes paid DLC. Eeek.
It doesn’t sit right with me being required to pay extra for a bike which had been present in previous games from day one.
Circuits like Lake Garda in RIDE 3, which had a lot of work done to it as you can see from the developer diary above, was dropped for RIDE 4.
The Supermoto tracks used to have their own track selection, but were taken out for RIDE 4 despite there still being Supermoto vehicles in the game.
In Ride 2 and 3, there were a few British Superbikes too, but not in 4. Maybe they were removed as players could just recreate them in the livery editor, but to have the actual bikes in the game was more satisfying and a reward for reaching the latter stages of RIDE 3.
I hope these return in the future, alongside other circuits and bikes missing in the most recent game.
Reconsider endurance race implementation
Milestone really doubled down for the endurance races in RIDE 4, ranging from 40 minutes up to an actual 24 hours. Being able to pit during the race to change tyres and top up on fuel was a welcome addition.
To improve on this, the development team could allow the player to have a bit more interaction during the pit stops, such as button prompts appearing on screen to control the pit crews’ actions – analogous to that found in RiMS Racing. This in turn would determine how quick or slow your overall pit stop would be.
While the longer races were enjoyable, there were a couple of problems with RIDE 4’s endurance mode too.
Sometimes you couldn’t pick the tyre you wanted. I’ve had races which start out dry only for the weather to change to rain. This isn’t a problem as the dynamic weather works well, however, to try to gain an advantage over my opponents I pitted at the next opportunity only for the rain tyres to not be available for selection.
So I had to come out of the pits and do another lap before coming back into the pits and then the rain tyres were ready.
Also, there weren’t any rider swaps or any opportunity to save progress during an endurance event. Some might say that saving during an endurance race takes away the point of, well, an endurance race. But when faced with a 24-hour-long event, saving would be beneficial as I can’t see many people racing for the full day. Think of the finger cramp!
Maybe combine this with rider changes so that if an AI rider takes over, you can save progress and then come back to it later, making the longer races less daunting.
Cross-platform play and co-op endurance
I think online will be even more populated and its longevity would increase, so too if the ability to race the endurance events online co-operatively. Much like our aforementioned AI suggestion, when one rider pits, they could swap riders and another player takes over, similar to how something like Assetto Corsa Competizione or rFactor 2 can do.
This again would help with the really long races and would be a lot of fun, plus it would reflect real-life endurance races more accurately.
More, more, more!
The motorbikes are the stars of the show in all RIDE games, meticulously recreated down to the finest details.
What I think is needed, however, is a wider selection. Granted, there is a huge number of bikes in previous games, yet, there are always new bikes being released and there are older bikes which have yet to see an appearance in the RIDE series. More, please.
Also, let’s add another class whilst we’re at it. I think it’s time to add Motocross to the RIDE series. This would add another discipline to learn and would break up the standard track racing.
This in turn would add additional tracks, these would only be for the motocross category but I think this would be a great addition. After all, Milestone showed with Valentino Rossi: The Game that dirt and asphalt riding can coexist within the same game, and while it produces the Monster Energy Supercross games, the MXGP titles seem to have vanished without a trace.
While I’m at it, I’d like to see additional road racing circuits and short circuits. Milestone does potentially have access to circuits from MotoGP and SBK which have yet to make the jump over to RIDE.
Members of the community have been crying out for the Isle Of Man TT to be added to the RIDE series to sit alongside Southern 100 and Northern West 200 events, although the licence is with RaceWard Studios for Ride on the Edge 3, so I doubt it’s viable.
One last big and obvious element is the physics of the game. RIDE 4’s physics were great when the game was initially released, yet, due to people complaining the game was too hard, Milestone dumbed them down which made the game easier to play. Please don’t do this with RIDE 5, if the physics are good to begin with, either don’t tweak them to make it easier or make the more forgiving behaviour an option.
I for one am really excited to see what Milestone does with a potential RIDE 5 and where they take the series. These ideas I have mentioned today would take the game to another level in my opinion and there will be people out there with their own great ideas so please leave them in the comments below.
If it is on the way, let’s just hope when we see RIDE 5, it’s another positive step for the series.