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Racing Evolution: Forza 3 And The Changing Driving Sim
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Racing Evolution: Forza 3 And The Changing Driving Sim

September 25, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

We've talked a little bit about where you're going from here with the racing sim genre. Are you guys trying to steer away -- pun not intended -- from the term "sim"?

DG: No, not really. I think there may be other things on the kind of marketing side as far as how we keep from intimidating people that really love cars, and Forza is a great game for car lovers because we have so many and we treat them with such reverence. So, I think maybe on the more global marketing side, we're looking to shy away from that term "sim" because it just has connotations of "too difficult," and what have you.

Certainly internally, as well as just when I talk more on the PR side, I'm not afraid of the word "sim." We just simply need to get people to understand that the old idea of what a sim was and what an arcade was are simply gone. It really comes down to licensed cars versus not licensed cars. When you've got licensed cars, it's very difficult to do big explosions and things like that. In fact, Blur is one of the few games that I've seen that's able to do that, from Bizarre Creations. But they had to do it by working with a very small group of manufacturers. They can't do Ferrari, they can't do Porsche, and they can't do a bunch. And that's a choice they made by being licensed.

I think as graphics have gotten better and better and better -- you've got games like Ridge Racer, which looks beautiful -- it's basically meeting the sim versus arcade line, it's getting very, very blurred. We playtested the hell out of Forza 3, and we basically jumped over GRID, Need for Speed, Forza 2, PGR, and Gran Turismo as far as ease of use, so we had kids coming playing all these games that are metrics.

We're trying to figure out how we can make the game fun and rewarding, increase our playability scores, and we never dumbed down our physics at all. So, if our game is defined as easy to pick up, and quick to get into and play, then Forza is an arcade game. And yet, when you turn all the assists off -- we just had that pro racer in last week, and we got one of the fastest guys in our studio, really fast, top of our scoreboards in Forza 2, and he was getting his ass handed to him by a pro rice driver.

I think that speaks to the simulation level, that [the pro driver] got in and he knows these tracks, he knows these cars, they break where they should break, they're hitting the right top speeds, he shifts at the same point in the real world. So, he was just killing people. And there you go with basically the best sim that people are going to find, and yet easy to pick up to play for even a kid. How do you define arcade and sim now?

So, we've got accessibility, and that's a big step, but beyond that, we've got online, and then Microsoft has Natal coming out with new control methods. Where does racing go from here beyond just making the games bigger, prettier, and more accessible? Or is that it?

DG: No, no. We didn't even get into the accessibility message of how we changed the career mode. We've actually reworked the career entirely using the same design ethos that we did in-game. That makes the game a lot more approachable.

I don't know if I can speak to the racing genre. What I can say is that the vision we have for Forza is to turn gamers into car lovers, and car lovers into gamers. And so, for me, it comes down to being more beautiful because that helps you connect people with that real looking car. You can smell the car, you can feel the car. It's why we're always going to be a sim because that's just part of really experiencing a car. So, in Forza, what I'm most interested in is new tools and technology that allow us to turn around cars faster.

Jalopnik just had an article about Fiat and Ferrari working together to make a Fiat 500 that was tuned by Ferrari. It's just a cool car, and you read an article like that, and you go, "God, I want to drive that car." Well, for us, it takes use three months to make a car, and that's a lot of people and a huge investment.

What I'd really like to be able to do is turn that around so we can deliver a car in like a week. So, you read about it in Jalopnik, and then a week later, you go to Xbox Live, and bam, I can go drive that really cool car. So, in a way, getting rid of Road and Track -- that sounds bad. [laughs] I'm describing a new experience that people get from Road and Track. I'm still going to read Road and Track when I'm on an airplane, but in my living room, rather than getting a subscription to a magazine or even going to the internet to find out about cool new cars or even if you're looking to buy a car, what I'd really love to do is have all of the new model lines just there. You can drive them, experience them, and get excited about them. Technology-wise, we're years and years away from that.

Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

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