Interview: Forza Motorsport 5 creative director defends in-game economy, amount of content

Gamers are up-in-arms about the in-game economy in Forza 5. Turn 10 creative director Dan Greenawalt responded to our questions.

43
Forza Motorsport 5 is shaping up to be an excellent playing game (our full review coming soon). However, gamers are angry at how certain locked cars are priced beyond the means of normal gameplay. With the game offering in-game credits via microtransactions, gamers are up-in-arms about the in-game economy. Turn 10 creative director Dan Greenawalt responded to our questions. Why are there locked cars in Free Play mode? There's no progression element to Free Play, but a player can't just play with all the cars in the game? Having a limited Free Play garage including rentals was introduced in Forza Horizon. Our goal was to get players to form connections with the cars that mattered most to them and to feel invested in the cars they own. What happened to the wealth of community features that made Forza so strong? It's surprising to see so much gone on a new console that's build to be community oriented. Where are clubs Storefront? Custom lobbies? Gifting of liveries and tuning? Community is core to what we do on Forza Motorsport. In fact, it's the core part of the Franchise vision. For example, we have an even better community building system in place for creators with a curated content system that automatically serves players the best curated paints and tunes in the game. Gone are the days of managing your Storefront inventory. In the last generation most of our painters put up their works of art for free because they wanted the notoriety. Now, our best creators are paid in-game and recognized based on the usage of their creations, rather than number of downloads or market value. At the same time, drivers get this amazing UGC and don't have to pay anything for it. In all, it's a much better system for both parties. Regarding car clubs, the new UI system in Forza Motorsport 5 means everything gets rebuilt. Being on the Xbox One gives us the opportunity to rethink old problems. The original Forza Motorsport featured Car Clubs, but Forza Motorsport 2 on the Xbox 360 didn't. For that matter, car clubs weren't in Forza Motorsport 3 either. Finally, in addition to racing in a variety of preset lobbies, players can still create custom lobbies to race in with their friends.

What is the expectation for someone who wants to "play" their way to the top? Even with Drivatars I see players reporting between 5-30K in daily earnings. To be able to buy the top cars, or even just a single top car, at that rate would take a very long time. Even factoring in a lot of daily racing. Furthermore, credit earning does not seem to scale and ramp up with leveling. The expectation is that different cars are more expensive and that makes them more rare. Because of the classification system, there is no "top" to the production classes. Currently, we have some players earning lots of credits and some players earning not nearly as much. This is a skill- and strategy-based economy with rarity provided by in-game price, not locking mechanisms. Players can receive +65% payout for playing against the hardest skill level Drivatars, up to +50% bonus credit payouts for turning off the assists, and up to +35% payouts for sticking with a favorite manufacturer. That's +150% bonus based on skill and strategy. When you couple that with Drivatar rewards, UGC payouts, and Forza Rewards (our franchise-based loyalty rewards) there are plenty of ways to earn credits in Forza 5. However, the fact remains: racing, skill, and strategy are the engine of the economy. Of course, we continue to monitor the economy via customer feedback as well as in-game telemetry and we have the ability to make adjustments should it be warranted. What happened to the beloved Green Monster? I assume you mean the Green Hell, aka the Nürburgring (and not Fenway Park!) When we built the tracks in Forza Motorsport 5, we had a set ourselves an extremely high quality bar. With a brand new graphics engine created specifically for Xbox One, we wanted to take advantage of light and atmosphere and there was no better way to show that off than the tracks themselves. As a result, for the tracks in Forza 5, we started from scratch. That meant going back to the beginning and capturing them in a way that would correct inaccuracies from the previous generation, updating tracks where warranted (such as the new layout for Silverstone), and using state-of-the-art techniques to bring these tracks to Xbox One. That included the use of laser-scanning technology, which allowed us to capture tracks with pinpoint accuracy. Tracks like Spa-Francorchamps and Bathurst – two of the most heavily requested tracks from the Forza community – are in Forza 5 and brought to life in stunning detail. Even tracks like Laguna Seca – a circuit that has been in the Forza series since the original game – have benefited from this approach. Forza Motorsport 5 players expect the cars and tracks in the game to be built to the highest detail and realism – anything less wouldn't be Forza. For that reason, we didn't put in old low res content just to pad our numbers. Expect more news on tracks in Forza Motorsport 5 in the near future. With it being a flagship title for the new console, already a lot of cash to lay out for gamers, and not the largest garage of cars, why is there day one DLC? Why couldn't those cars have been part of the core game if they are ready at launch? First, some context: As you know, Forza Motorsport 2 shipped a year and a half after the launch of the Xbox 360. It featured 270 cars (200 base models plus 35 race car liveries as well as 35 aftermarket tuner body kits) without cockpits and just 12 environments. This was less environments than the original Forza Motorsport, as all of the environments had to be rebuilt for the bespoke new generation engine. By comparison, Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec (the first GT game on PlayStation 2, and not a launch title, by the way) shipped with 150 cars and far fewer tracks. Obviously, we did not cut anything from Forza Motorsport 5, as we had to build it all from the ground up. All 35+ gigs of it. We started the game a year before Forza 4 shipped in order to give us the time to build the game we wanted to build, and to define racing for the new generation. We have a new UI system, we have new materials and lighting that stress the imperfect details of the world running at 60fps and 1080p. There are the new physics and AI innovations - features not possible on last generation hardware. Of course, now taking advantage of next gen hardware, the tracks require more resolution, detail and materials – this is simply the cost of moving to a new generation for any team wanting to push. In addition, we have Forzavista for every car. This is what allowed us to do the close-up pre- and post-race cinematics and high-resolution cockpits, as well as the reflective cockpit glass. We were able to use the added console power to make cockpit view more immersive and more drivable than last generation. We've already seen from player data that the number of people that are playing the game from cockpit view (as the primary view) has greatly increased from Forza Motorsport 4 - that is the result of the same investment they gave us Forzavista. Here's the context that is probably most surprising; Forza Motorsport 5 is actually the largest racing game ever delivered at the launch of a console, by a long shot. In fact, it would be huge even by second holiday standards. As mentioned above, it is bigger than Forza 2, which was delivered a year and half after the launch of the Xbox 360. It also has more car diversity than any previous Forza Motorsport; by including open wheel race cars and track toys like the KTM X-Bow and the Ariel Atom on top of the diversity that took us years to build up across multiple iterations on the Xbox 360. 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. Regarding DLC, we have found that 10 cars a month is the fastest we could create “just in time” content. Just like in Forza Motorsport 4, we are planning to add as many as 10 cars a month to Forza Motorsport 5. It takes more than six months to build every car. Delivering cars in monthly packs allows us to keep the game new and fresh for those that are interested.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    November 26, 2013 4:00 PM

    Garnett Lee posted a new article, Interview: Forza Motorsport 5 creative director defends in-game economy, amount of content.

    Gamers are up-in-arms about the in-game economy in Forza 5. Turn 10 creative director Dan Greenawalt responded to our questions.

    • reply
      November 26, 2013 4:08 PM

      "DLC is core to what we do on Forza Motorsport."

      Fixed.


      I have loved the forza franchise since I played Forza 2 on the original xbox, I have collectors editions of F3 and F4... I will not reward MS or Turn 10 (whichever is responsible) for the utter lack of respect they have for their customers.

      I'm primarily a PC gamer, but I've always owned an xbox console almost exclusively for the Forza games, but no more. I will pick up a PS3 on black friday or an xmas sale, and begin my reintroduction (haven't played a GT game since GT3) to the Gran Turismo series with GT6, and I won't look back.

      • reply
        November 26, 2013 4:10 PM

        Not singling you out, but I have noticed people constantly remember Forza 2 on the Xbox when it was a 360 title. Not sure why that is.

        • reply
          November 26, 2013 4:22 PM

          Fair enough, it was forza 1 then :P

      • reply
        November 26, 2013 4:13 PM

        You might want to read up on GT6 as apparently it's doing a similar thing.

    • reply
      November 26, 2013 4:13 PM

      Where is the Nurburgring? You fucking dolts.

      • reply
        November 26, 2013 5:00 PM

        I like how he mentions it in the answer to that question and then manages to completely avoid it for the rest of the paragraph as he talks about other tracks.

        • reply
          November 26, 2013 5:43 PM

          He dodges the last question about day one DLC cars not being included with your $600 purchase for 3 full paragraphs, too. And then just goes on to talk about the future DLC.

      • reply
        November 26, 2013 5:15 PM

        Answer: "You'e paying for it, bitch" :(

        I like that they're trying to make people feel more attached to their cars by making them harder to obtain, but they should ALL be driveable in freeplay or whatever. It's ridiculous that they're not. You should be able to try all the cars the game has to offer, especially if you're going to go through the headache of saving credits to buy one of them to drive it online or in career.

        I wish they'd just be straight with everyone and say they didn't have time to include everything because they were rushed for release. No problem. Release those other core features for free at a later date. Oh, wait. You want to charge people for them and maintain that this is the way the game was always meant to be.

        How about fuck you.

        • reply
          November 26, 2013 5:24 PM

          Honestly the only reason I would buy the game is because there is nothing else to buy for the system now and I am getting an xbox one for free because I won one so I feel like I need some software but I really don't want to support Forza right now.

          • reply
            November 26, 2013 6:44 PM

            IMO there's more hours of entertainment in Forza 5 than in Call of Duty, or Killzone or whatever.

            I don't get why people get upset about hypotheticals. Is the game you get worth 60 bucks? Yes? So what's the problem? "but, they have a DLC as well", well is the DLC worth your money? No? Well don't buy it!

            It's just so tiring. Everything's a damn scandal and controversy. If the game doesn't have enough content for your money then don't buy it, don't get pissed off that there's optional stuff too.

            • reply
              November 26, 2013 8:17 PM

              It doesn't have Nurburgring and it should have it. It's really the only track I want to play. It's pretty much all I played in GT5. And I don't want to support their move to a more MTX style model.

              • reply
                November 26, 2013 9:19 PM

                Everyone has their favorite track though. They picked a nice cross section, and it's more than enough to be worth 60 bucks. If you really only like a single track then I guess that's a shame for you.

                • reply
                  November 26, 2013 9:37 PM

                  Uh, Burglarizing is like a staple of the series, and of most sim series lately. And for good reason. They didn't include it because they know it's a must-buy, and they're going to sell it to people. It's pretty lame.

                  • reply
                    November 26, 2013 9:37 PM

                    haha, nice correct. *Nürburgring

                  • reply
                    November 26, 2013 9:58 PM

                    Yeah exactly. I just see them trying to put their hand in my wallet instead of making the best game they could and should have. I wouldn't even consider the game at this point if there was other exclusive games I wanted but it's launch so slim pickings.

                    I think I just won't buy any Xbox one games until some more come out.

                  • reply
                    November 26, 2013 10:05 PM

                    I would imagine Nurburgring costs 2-3x other tracks. Given that Forza 5 is already track starved it's an unfortunate but not terribly difficult decision.

                    • reply
                      November 26, 2013 10:44 PM

                      They were short on time and they had to make hard decisions. Fine. Include Nurburgring as free DLC along with the cut community features, etc.

                      • reply
                        November 26, 2013 10:47 PM

                        That's not how it works. You still got the 2-3 other tracks instead. They probably did a number of other tracks at the expense of nurburgring, and you go those. You're asking for both, i.e. more than you would've got if they had just done nurburgring.

                        • reply
                          November 26, 2013 10:52 PM

                          i understand the disappointment that there are less tracks and less cars. but i feel like a lot of people are just assuming the worst here instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt. what if their schedule was crunched and they couldn't get all the tracks in there?

                          i know, the creative director didn't give straight answers on anything so you could draw the conclusion that they did all these things on purpose, whether to encourage more sales via tokens, or maybe they weren't given the budget to do it -- maybe they want to do forza 6 a lot bigger a few years down the line.

                          i guess this is just a rambling way of saying that we've gotten 4 great forza games and while it is certainly disappointing that there are less tracks in this one, i'm not ready to cry foul over the state of this game yet or the state of the industry w/r/t microtransactions.

                          • reply
                            November 26, 2013 11:05 PM

                            No no no. That's ridiculous. You're telling me they were too pressed for time to do the most important track? What if they shipped with no Porsche, no ferrari, no Lamborghini, no lotus, no McClaren, no BMW, no Mercedes? Maybe just pressed for time?

                            No they would find time to put that stuff in on any schedule wouldn't they. They would find the time and the budget. If they had 3 years or 6 months they would find the time.

                            • reply
                              November 26, 2013 11:43 PM

                              Forza 4 didn't have any Porsches on launch. If I remember right there were rights issues with EA, and turn 10 was basically forced to release the game without them. It was quite a while until they could get them too.

                              • reply
                                November 27, 2013 9:12 AM

                                If there was a legal issue I would understand

                            • reply
                              November 27, 2013 12:04 AM

                              Worse than not including Nürburgring would be if it was half-assed along with a few other tracks. IMO

                            • reply
                              November 27, 2013 12:46 AM

                              Honestly The Ring is a shitty track to me after a few times around it. In MP you only want to play it a few times because most people won't want to race for the 8-13 min or so that one track can take, and if you fall behind for any reason then good luck catching up.

                              I'd much rather have more shorter tight tracks that promote competitive racing than go around the ring.

                              • reply
                                November 27, 2013 6:27 AM

                                Yea, I think Le Mans is a better MP track now that it's there since it's about 3-4 minute laps... the ring got old fast. I could care less that it's not there to be perfectly honest. I like some of the new tracks they put in much better.

                            • reply
                              November 27, 2013 5:12 AM

                              If they rushed it or made a "not next gen enough" implementation, people would be complaining about that. Once they made a game that was not exactly identical to forza 4 the bitchfest was going to begin

                              • reply
                                November 27, 2013 6:06 AM

                                GT5 prologue pulled it off without pissing on everybody.

                            • reply
                              November 28, 2013 4:31 PM

                              I like how they claim they were working on Forza 5 a year before Forza 4 shipped but yet still couldn't find the time to map/recreate the Nurburgring... O Rly?

                              • reply
                                November 28, 2013 5:52 PM

                                Seems like you could use the old course track data and then just do new art. They just need the old collision which I'm sure is plenty accurate

                • reply
                  November 26, 2013 9:52 PM

                  I don't give a fuck. They choose poorly.

                  • reply
                    November 26, 2013 10:49 PM

                    You're free not to buy it. The rest of us get a huge amount of value (more than most games) for 60 bucks.

                    • reply
                      November 27, 2013 6:33 PM

                      Always surprises me the amount of BS people will not only accept but also defend. This is the what too expect from now on because of people like you.

            • reply
              November 26, 2013 11:46 PM

              the full game isn't worth that to me, so no.

            • reply
              November 27, 2013 12:44 AM

              Day one DLC, "level grinds" designed to tire you out and make you spend more money and taking out user favorite content so you can sell it as DLC later on are things that ruin games and gaming experiences. And you're becoming more common, as has been made obvious by the Xbone launch lineup.

              The fact that I have the alternative of not buying the game, and that is certainly an alternative I'm picking in this case, does not mean I can't have a problem with where the industry is going. I _would have_ had a car game to play on an Xbone had they done this right, but they didn't. I'm annoyed, and expressing it. Don't see the problem with that.

              • reply
                November 27, 2013 12:45 AM

                *they're

              • reply
                November 27, 2013 2:59 AM

                The idea that your only two choices with this stuff are "buy the game" or "shut up" is one of those things that drives me crazy about gamers. There's nothing unreasonable about expressing your dislike of decisions that produce games you *wanted* to play, except now there's this one thing you take serious issue with.

              • reply
                November 27, 2013 3:54 PM

                I agree with everything you said... I was *going* to buy an xbox one just for Forza... Their pathetic efforts to monetize every single aspect of the game has soured me on Forza and Turn 10 in general.

                I will never own another Forza game as long as they continue down this road.

            • reply
              November 27, 2013 1:39 AM

              I think a lot of people have a problem with the pricing model. It's more in line with a free to play game, but you still have this up front 60 dollar entry fee. It then goes on to lock content behind a time wall with the option to pay to get around it. The game isn't bad. It's not broken, but you can't help but see how far your dollar isn't stretching, especially when you compare it to previous entries.

              I think if it'd had been a 30 or 40 dollar title with the DLC as it is people would be more accepting of the pricing model.

        • reply
          November 27, 2013 5:35 AM

          If this is true, it's interesting that there isn't a way to test these really expensive cars before buying it.

          • reply
            November 27, 2013 6:10 AM

            It would also be on par with GT5, where if you couldn't buy a carm you could only see that car drive on a randomly generated mini-track. You couldn't hope to drive that car until you had enough credits to buy it. Forza 4 would let you hot lap any car. It's sad that Turn 10 changed their minds on that, apparently in the interest of charging real money for it.

            • reply
              November 27, 2013 6:36 AM

              I agree, I think that's a really unfortunate change in the design of the game and it does at least appear to be motivated by monetary goals.

      • reply
        November 26, 2013 6:55 PM

        He answered the question with a nice, long PR response. But the real answer--we are going to sell you the track for $25 in a few months... :(

    • reply
      November 26, 2013 5:47 PM

      Shame he wasn't asked about the crowd bullshots. But then again his responses have the whiff of being through the PR machine so I bet that would just result in some sort of massaged response to make it sound like they were doing people a favour.

    • reply
      November 26, 2013 6:05 PM

      Forza got the simcity treatment

    • reply
      November 26, 2013 6:14 PM

      Oh this some ole bullshit right here...

    • reply
      November 26, 2013 6:21 PM

      The original Forza Motorsport featured Car Clubs, but Forza Motorsport 2 on the Xbox 360 didn't. For that matter, car clubs weren't in Forza Motorsport 3 either.

      What about Forza 4? Nice way to gloss over that completely. Their answers (or lack thereof) scream a big "F you" to the community.

      • reply
        November 27, 2013 8:13 AM

        That was his way of saying "don't expect car clubs until Forza 7".

    • reply
      November 26, 2013 6:45 PM

      As annoying as all this dlc milking is, I like this Forza the most. Not sure if it's the new controller that's making me enjoy it more or what but I'm loving it so far. Just wish I could play my mp3s in game like I could in the past with games like pgr.

      • reply
        November 26, 2013 8:35 PM

        Needing to buy a new controller is a big part of why I didn't buy an xbone and forza 5. I have a perfectly good wheel from the 360. And when I'm playing a nerdy sim driving game, I will only play with a wheel and peddles.

      • reply
        November 27, 2013 1:54 AM

        Yes it's a lot of fun. I feel like the folks complaining the most are those not playing it.

    • reply
      November 26, 2013 7:08 PM

      Indefensible.

    • reply
      November 26, 2013 7:26 PM

      He is well trained in dishing out PR bullshit.

    • reply
      November 26, 2013 9:16 PM

      from passwird - amazon has the game for $10 off now:
      www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CMQTTQG

      • reply
        November 26, 2013 9:39 PM

        THAT'S $10 YOU CAN PUT TOWARDS BUYING MORE IN-GAME TOKENS

        • reply
          November 26, 2013 10:01 PM

          invest $10 in bitcoins so you can afford Forza 6's DLC

    • reply
      November 26, 2013 10:15 PM

      what a fucking load of toss, wanting players to feel "invested" in their cars. Thinly veiled bullshit.

    • reply
      November 26, 2013 11:32 PM

      Did you not ask follow-up questions or...

      • reply
        November 27, 2013 1:53 AM

        did you not bend him over a counter and punch his butt while demanding answers?!

      • reply
        November 27, 2013 3:00 AM

        i highly doubt it was a face to face interview

        • reply
          November 27, 2013 9:48 AM

          If it was just submitted questions and they returned written answers, with no opportunity to follow up, of course you're going to get PR responses. This is why people don't take games journalism seriously.

    • reply
      November 27, 2013 1:42 AM

      Creative director? more like master PR, those answers made me mad.

    • reply
      November 27, 2013 1:55 AM

      That was pretty bad. It was like amateur hour on the spin. It just made everything look worse the way he was avoiding answering the questions

    • reply
      November 27, 2013 2:04 AM

      Fartza

    • reply
      November 27, 2013 6:32 AM

      Last night I tried to do a rivals race (whatever that is) and it wouldn't let me unless I bought a car pack. One of them was for ten cars, for $10. Another one was all car packs for $50. That shit is insane, to pay the price of another game for all that DLC. That is really shitty.

      • reply
        November 27, 2013 7:18 AM

        I agree. That's lame. Was it because the rivals race restricted you to that type of car?

        • reply
          November 27, 2013 9:50 AM

          The only rivals race available is one that requires a day one dlc car.

          • reply
            November 27, 2013 10:49 AM

            Holy shit that's so insane. It's like they're just rubbing it in people's faces.

    • reply
      November 27, 2013 6:39 AM

      Pretty sure we can stop using the term "microtransactions" with this game.

    • reply
      November 27, 2013 9:29 AM

      What a greaseball snakeoil salesman. This clown didn't answer shit.

    • reply
      November 27, 2013 9:50 AM

      Way to put the facts out there Garnett... As much as you wanted Forza and ended up cancelling the Xbox One order after reading this the game doesn't seem that much better.

    • reply
      November 27, 2013 10:44 AM

      "First, some context: As you know, Forza Motorsport 2 shipped a year and a half after the launch of the Xbox 360. It featured 270 cars (200 base models plus 35 race car liveries as well as 35 aftermarket tuner body kits) without cockpits and just 12 environments. This was less environments than the original Forza Motorsport, as all of the environments had to be rebuilt for the bespoke new generation engine. By comparison, Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec (the first GT game on PlayStation 2, and not a launch title, by the way) shipped with 150 cars and far fewer tracks."

      He's comparing 360 to PS2?? WTF?

    • reply
      November 27, 2013 10:45 AM

      "Regarding car clubs, the new UI system in Forza Motorsport 5 means everything gets rebuilt. Being on the Xbox One gives us the opportunity to rethink old problems. The original Forza Motorsport featured Car Clubs, but Forza Motorsport 2 on the Xbox 360 didn't. For that matter, car clubs weren't in Forza Motorsport 3 either."

      WTF kind of answer is that? Is it going to be added later (I'm sure it will be pay add-on...)?

    • reply
      November 27, 2013 12:26 PM

      Great questions garnett, I think we can all judge the validity of the answers on our own bS meter though....!