Forza 5 – Doing It Wrong (The Next-Generation Illusion)

The first next-gen racing simulator is arriving this month, and it features less tracks and cars than the previous game. Why is that? Developer Turn 10 has said in order to be a “next-gen” experience, everything must be up to quality standards of detail.

“We found that we ship a game that has over 200 cars, and they’re all to this level of detail with huge diversity. It’s been a successful program for us, having the paid DLC. Those that don’t want it don’t have to get it, and those that want it can buy it. The season pass allows them to buy it as a subscription.”

That Season Pass costs $50 US and just includes cars, with the first pack arriving Day 1. Connect these two very large dots in front of us right now, and we have a game that is designed to exploit your wallet. The next-gen experience.

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I played Forza 5 at the EB Expo last month and while the driving physics were solid, the experience was lousy. This could be a demo thing, but the loading was so long I thought I broke it. I’m talking over a minute. What exaggerated this was the “loading screen” with full-screen pictures of cars cycling through. I had no idea what was going on, and started pressing buttons to try and go back to the menu. There was no loading circle animation or bar. Is this the game? The MS rep assured me the game was going to start and sure enough it did after he opened his mouth. It was nice that I could turn all driving aids off and the driving itself was fun. After leaving my one rival to dust in Turn 1 of Leguna Seca I had fun driving off on my own. How could I do that? Because I already own at least 7 games with Leguna Seca. The triggers worked OK but felt a bit flimsier than the ones on Xbox 360 which I absolutely love, they are closer to PS3’s now. The Xbox One controller feels like it was designed to emulate a gun, because there’s individual rumble in the R trigger which was impressive, but made no sense when accelerating. If the pedal in my car started to shake I would be a bit worried.

My problem with this game is simply the developers priorities. All throughout E3 and every time they’ve opened their mouths, they’ve talked about all the new ways to NOT play the game, like Drivatar and all the new showroom options. This is the direction that has killed the racing genre and they’re ignorantly continuing that trend for the sake of a few good screenshots on press sites.

“Next-gen” means less playing and more watching, so watch this.

Grand Prix Challenge from 2002 is 60 FPS with 22 racers, rain, split screen multiplayer and variable setups. It’s running on PS2 hardware. It seems after this game and F-Zero GX a year later, developers just said “nope” and stopped trying because nothing has even come close to this level of technical proficiency in the last decade. Forza 5 is aiming to set the bar even lower with all these cut features. Seriously how the fuck is there no RAIN in a racing simulator in 2013? It’s just pathetic, and all the buzzwords and replay angles in the world can not hide this fact.

“I wanted to deliver the next-generation quality – and that meant having the shaders, and the imperfections in the concrete.”

That damn word again, next-generation. Think about how cool it would be if they DID focus on content instead of a shadow on the concrete. You could add more tracks, more AI racers, weather, put interesting challenge modes in, heck maybe even add some gameplay twists? If they truly respect racing they wouldn’t make it so lifeless. Real life drivers don’t look at cracks in the cement because they are going too fast. Little Johny doesn’t visit the local go-kart track every week to lick the floor.

“Some of the tracks needed updating,” said Greenawalt. “Some of them needed light updating, and some of them needed heavy updating. Silverstone, for example, was a complete recapture. Several of our tracks were just plain wrong, either because they were poorly captured and technology’s moved on, or the track’s changed like Silverstone.”

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This is a short rant that was triggered by a piece of news I heard yesterday. Bathurst (pictured above) is being resurfaced, right after Polyphony Digital (for GT6) and Turn 10 scanned the track with AAA next-gen accuracy. This is pretty much the only new track in the game, and now it’ll need a patch (if they bother) because it’s not “next-gen” anymore since it’s not up to date. That is, if they really are true to their next-gen promise. If they really want to make Bathurst an authentic experience then I expect to see kangaroo’s hopping across the road. Time for a new approach guys because I’m not buying this crap. I’m curious about how the Indycar and Lotus F1 cars handle, simply because Codemasters is currently the only company doing open-wheel racing, and they handle like dogshit. A few interesting new cars is too little to justify buying two games worth of content, let alone a brand new console, and who knows how many hidden costs yet to be unearthed? They haven’t announced the Track Season Pass yet, which could be even higher than $50. It’s going to be an expensive launch.

8 thoughts on “Forza 5 – Doing It Wrong (The Next-Generation Illusion)”

  1. “Next-Generation” has been mutated to simply mean “prettier graphics” by many developers and the majority of the gaming media, which is why Nintendo is left out of conversations about the TRUE NEXT GENERATION. Screw new methods of control and communication or interesting experiments in twisting game genres, it’s all about the bloom lighting and textures on the fur of your companion dog in the latest Brown-Grey Shooter as you lean back and let the game play itself for your while you eat the new Ranch flavored Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell and wash it down with a liter for Mountain Dew (that sentence went on far longer than I though, and it’s growing even further with this parenthetical, so I’d better cut it out lest the internet implode).

    And fish A.I. Cause that’s the future.

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  2. This whole “next gen” crud is an illusion. When you take off the fanboy glasses and get a GOOD look at the PS4 and XB1, you see that they’re nothing more than rehashes of their predeccesors with boosted hardware and the kick is that you have nothing to show for it. Don’t give me all that resolution and specs crap. When discussion gets down to that point, the relevancy of graphics is dead. Furthermore, Sony and Microsoft seem to have no problem churning out the EXACT same experiences they did last gen. Can’t wait for all this next gen hype to backfire when when people go on the stores and see only 12 different games on the shelves, with the majority being shovelware and multiplats that you can get on a platform that’s already out. As for me, I’ll just stick to Ninty systems. At least they give me experiences I can’t get on my 8GB laptop and Steam….

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  3. It’s come to attention that Forza 5 has turned out WORSE than my article could have anticipated. The entire game has been changed to a full-priced F2P ripoff scheme and they’ve stopped giving you cars for beating events. Grinding takes longer, cars are more expensive, you get less in-game money, you can no longer share cars and designs. Buying the most expensive car in the game requires $100 in Microtransactions, and the game will remind you with a “please spend money” notification after every race.

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  4. Grubdog, love yer article and all true. Just bought the Xbox One for my son and literally don’t see anything next gen besides the graphical quality. Funny thing is that I bought him the system with 4 games and late last night he went back to….his 360….

    Racing games haven’t developed properly on console. I still love DTM racer on Original XBOX with loads of tracks and loads of cars and now we are stuck with Grid, same for Collin McCrae Rally, now we got Dirt. EVerything looks fancier but gameplay hasn’t evolved and content is less.

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  5. Choice cuts from the ‘creative’ director Dan Greenawalt Director”

    “Forza Motorsport 5 is actually the largest racing game ever delivered at the launch of a console, by a long shot,”…

    “Moreover, we’ve defined an uncompromised quality bar for new generation racing games in both car and track detail and immersion – all while, delivering unprecedented size,”

    “…Delivering cars in monthly packs allows us to keep the game new and fresh for those that are interested.”

    Source: http://www.shacknews.com/article/82173/interview-forza-motorsport-5-creative-director-defends-in-game-economy

    At some point, I feel like when devs talk, they’re purposely trolling. All that is missing is for him to sign off saying ‘Come at me bro.’…

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  6. “Next-generation” for Sony and Microsoft is just more of the same. Nintendo tried something new and they were met with betrayal from so called “third-party partners”. I was very into getting a PS4 with my Wii U but what stopped me dead in my tracks was the lack of backwards compatibility. The PS system have and will always be Kingdom Hearts systems for me, so until KH 1.5, 2.5, and 3 make it to the PS4 I can wait.

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