Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM PST by Brian Hoss
'Forza 5' better when thought of as a launch game than as the sequel to 'Forza 4.'
The saga of 'Forza 5' continues as the content-short game that features microtransactions and DLC alongside its beautiful roster of cars undergoes economy changes in an attempt to fix its "perception is reality issue" with the community. Just as the company rolls out these adjustments, an interview with Turn 10 Creative Director Dan Greenwalt has yielded some insight into the current state of the game.
In the Eurogamer interview, Greenwalt presents an outlook meant to correct misread intentions.
"I think the biggest travesty for me is how people have misread our intentions, because that's just been sad - community's the biggest thing for us, and the whole point is to get people excited about cars and excited about games, so people saying we've changed the economy for this reason and we removed this feature for that reason - I understand it, because perception's reality, and people start believing what they believe, but I know it's not the thought process we went through to make the decisions we made."
Though the interview is focused on the thorniest problem facing 'Forza 5,' the game's relative lack of content and future plans are touched on. "When I read the reviews there's a split between those that evaluate the game as not Forza Motorsport 5 but a great racing game at the launch of the Xbox One, and those that reviewed the game as the sequel to Forza Motorsport 4 as if it was on the Xbox 360... If you look at what we've done, we've made the biggest racing game at the launch of a platform ever - nothing has ever been this big before... But that's not how it was looked at - people were using words like cut, that we cut things."
Making on-disc cars cheaper is one thing, but new content remains confined to paid DLC cars. As for tracks, Greenwalt's response was in-line with a zero percent expectation. "So I'm not in a position to announce a lot of that - I'd like to be able to tell you that, so there'd be nothing more exciting to talk about that. What I can say is that we have plans to update this game and make changes that are going to delight our fans, but all the tracks had to be rebuilt either 100 per cent or to be updated seriously. The fastest track to be updated took us nine months. And that was a track that didn't require recapture."
"It's funny, the story of the Xbox 360 the bigger global story in the media was how video game companies going to survive, because the new generation is so expensive to build content for. That's happening again, but it's not the story in the media - we're now in a new generation, we're now on Blu-ray and we're filling them up. And those tracks, they not only take nine months which is a lot of time and money, but they take a lot of space. The motif in the media is around the free-to-play bit, but there are lots of stories going on..."
As for the microtransactions, Greenwalt was clear that the implementation was more about convenience for some, and not a directive from Microsoft.
"But honestly if you look at free-to-play games they usually have things called paywalls, where you're slowly wearing something down and the only way to get around it is to pay. That's not what we implemented in Forza 4 and that wasn't our goal in Forza 5 either. We don't have paywalls. We have acceleration, and that was based on feedback from players in Forza 4 - there's a small group of players that can't be bothered to do things and they have disposable income. They're the sim guys in a lot of cases. They don't want to do the career, and they don't value those aspects, and that's alright by me. With Forza 4 we had car tokens that range from one dollar to three dollars - the most expensive car was ten million credits in game, and it only cost three car tokens which would have been three dollars."
"That felt like it was not making the car exclusive enough for those who are willing to pay. So we made car tokens equal to credits - it's not about making more money, it was actually about saving people's time when doing the grind. I can totally see how people are perceiving it, but that wasn't our thought process - we designed the tokens last, which isn't how you'd do it if you were making a free-to-play game - you would design that economy and the token economy first, because that's how you make your revenue. That's not how we make the revenue - we sell the game, and the tokens aren't a big revenue driver. As a creative director, we were looking at it as basically giving people cheats, but if you want to put cheats in you have to pay for them, which puts a barrier in and makes it exclusive to those who want to pay for them... The truth is, at Turn 10 while I'm a Microsoft employee, we're off-site and we have our own culture and work our product to have our own culture. We have our own process and all of that."
Though 'Forza 5' is like to undergo a few more tweaks as well as paid additions, the hope is that at some point Turn 10 can re-focus on making a great racing simulator rather than trying to find the perfect amount of grind required to unlock the amount of content produced for a launch title.
Author: Brian Hoss
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