With the epic battle of Forza 5 versus Gran Turismo 6 just around the corner, both teams have laid all their cards on the table. What we have are two very different ideas of what makes a great racing game.
Turn 10, the team behind the Forza franchise, is chasing perfection. It has cut the number of tracks to just 14 and is only including 200 cars in the game when it ships. The rivals at Polyphony Digital, on the other hand, are offering an insane 1197 cars and 39 tracks. Even Forza 4, this game's true predecessor, had more content, with 26 tracks and more than 500 cars.
In a recent interview with Eurogamer, Dan Greenawalt, creative director for the series, defended the move by saying, "Some of the tracks needed updating. Some of them needed light updating, and some of them needed heavy updating. Silverstone, for example, was a complete recapture.
"For me it was less about do I want to deliver this or want to deliver that; I wanted to deliver the next-generation quality."
While GT6 may have just shy of 1200 cars, a large portion of them are ports from previous games, meaning the quality and fidelity is not as high. Forza, on the other hand, is chasing quality and diversity. Not only are the cars impressive—like the McLaren P1—but there are some that are new to the franchise, like Kimi Räikkönen's F1 racer.
When it came to creating the cars, Turn 10 chased the same level of perfection as with its tracks. Anything less than a perfect laser-scan reproduction wouldn't do, even if it meant scanning old cars again. "We're looking at laser-scanning of everything moving forward—that's what it comes down to," Greenawalt said. "We want that to be the standard for next generation. Our goal's not to carry old content over."
The pursuit of quality comes at a cost. Whereas DLC cars in Gran Turismo traditionally net out at $1 USD each, Forza 5's season pass arrangement provides 60 cars for $50, or $1.20 each. Turn 10 claims that's an 18% discount over buying the DLC packs individually, and last year's Forza Horizon title had a similar season pass, also valued at $50.
Is Turn 10 chasing the right path with quality, or will buyers demand more for their gaming dollar? Time, and sales, will tell.