Soon you won’t need to spend a penny to put your high-performance sports car into a right-angle drift, as Namco Bandai’s legendary Ridge Racer franchise is going free-to-play on the PlayStation 3. The just-announced Ridge Racer: Driftopia is due out later this year, and promises a classic arcade experience without any of the cost.

The title’s in development at Bugbear Entertainment, and subsequently looks like it shares a lot in common with last year’s actually-not-as-bad-as-you-may-think Ridge Racer: Unbounded. It appears that microtransactions will include new vehicles, as well as various booster packs. It stands to reason that you’ll need to pay for some of the tracks, too.

Still, this appears to be a much better flirtation with the popular freemium model than Ridge Racer for the PlayStation Vita. That required you to splash out on expensive DLC packs as well, but you still had to pay for the core client. By contrast, this seems like real progress.

[via joystiq.com]