Were the other sim racing fans that worked at Turn 10 standoffish about putting that rewind feature in there, like the fans?
DG: Absolutely. That's the funny thing that's happened on the team. Yes, there was some resistance on the team, there's resistance in our community, and I felt very strongly that this is an important feature. We actually started planning this before [Codemasters'] GRID came out, but it was actually helpful having GRID come out because more of them played it and said, "Oh, I get it."
But the truth is we implemented [rewind] pretty simultaneously with when GRID came out. All props to Codies. I love Codies. They did beat us to the market with it, so I'll give them all credit. But internally, we were prototyping how we wanted to implement it, and we found that even internally, people were challenging themselves more because of it. So, they would turn up the AI. They would turn the car damage to a higher level of difficulty. And they never would have done that in Forza 2 because, you know, you get six laps in, it's been a long race, you make one mistake, and your car is totaled and you're going to lose. Or the AI passes you because they're just too strong, you can't reel them in, and you're going to lose.
The rewind allowed people to actually have more challenging races, even the sim hardcore guys. They could not upgrade their cars much to have a lot of great wheel-to-wheel action. They know, "If I make a mistake, I haven't lost the race." And that's what I think won over a lot of the guys on my team, that they realized that they are actually now all of the sudden driving harder races. You wouldn't think that the game would get more challenging, but like Batman, it can become more challenging simply by making it less punishing.
It does make sense because if in real life, if a race driver had the ability to rewind a wreck and just practice, or practice a botched corner over and over again to improve it for when the real race day came, they'd be better at it.
DG: Absolutely. I'm a much better racer. It's funny, too, because I've now worked on racing games for 10 years, and I'm actually becoming a better racer in Forza 3 than I have been from Forza 2.
On Forza 2, when you're racing and you're on the final lap, and then you screw up, you just have to do the whole race over again. That may be realistic; that's what it would be like in real life if you were racing. You'd mess up, and you'd have to completely start over. But it goes back to the whole entertainment versus punishment thing.
DG: Yeah, and on the other side of this, which is interesting, I worked with some European developers a decade ago on a racing game that didn't even want to put a "Restart Race" option in a game -- because you can't restart a race in the real world. And they thought that was going to take away from the tension. And today, you can't make a racing game without "Restart Race." That's simply what racing games are.
And I feel very strongly that we're years away, maybe three, maybe five, from this just being the cost of entry. If you make a racing game, you're going to have a rewind. We're already seeing the green line from Forza 1 getting adopted all over the place. Frankly, it's not in the real world, but it makes you so much more successful, and it's more fun and entertaining.