The introduction of a new generation of gaming brings with it certain hopes and aspirations. For example, everyone hopes that new games will be bigger and better than those titles from the previous generation. Gamers expect greater detail, better graphics, and more features. Just compare the size and scale of a game like Need For Speed: Underground 2 to Midnight Club Los Angeles, or Midnight Club Los Angeles to The Crew. In addition, gamers also expect consoles to become more advanced. Just consider the way Xbox Live has evolved from the original Xbox to the Xbox 360, or the features of the Xbox One that are set to improve on those of the Xbox 360. More importantly though, gamers expect things to be different. A new era of gaming should mean better ideas and fresh thinking, where innovation and invention are rife in setting a path for the years ahead. In many ways, the Xbox One and PS4 are already starting to show this, but there’s one company that’s decided to take the notion of ‘being different’ and throw it out the window. This company is Turn 10.
Now before I begin, I have a lot of love for Turn 10 – they’ve been responsible for some of my favourite racing titles over the past couple of years and Forza Horizon was one of the best racing games of the last generation (I even scored it a 10/10 when I reviewed it). Despite all this though, there’s something these guys have been doing with Forza Motorsport 5 that needs to be called out, and which is, quite simply, unacceptable.
I am of course, referring to the practice of selling content that was available in Forza Motorsport 4, as premium DLC for Forza Motorsport 5.
So far, I have reviewed six DLC packs for Forza Motorsport 5, the most recent being the “Meguiars Car Pack”, released last week. While my opinions of each of the DLC has varied from pack to pack, there’s one thing I note in each review that’s common across them all: 80-90% of the vehicles in each bundle were either included in the original roster of cars for Forza Motorsport 4, or were added in subsequent DLC packs. There was only one instance in these six where only six of the 10 cars were included in Forza 4, but even this is unacceptably high.
In a time where gamers are becoming increasingly sceptical about whether the industry is more interested about pursuing profits than producing high-quality games (just look at complains about microtransactions for a perfect example), Turn 10 are doing developers no favours. I understand that a new generation often means new technology, meaning new engines and the need to potentially develop all content from scratch, even for those franchises which have been established for over a decade. This is fine. As a result, I can also understand that the car and track lists for a release title might be somewhat less than the title which preceded it. What I can’t understand, and what shouldn’t be tolerated, is when a developer then chooses to offer this essentially cut content from the game back to players at a price.
Let’s look into this further.
So far, Turn 10 have done well in providing gamers with two new tracks for Forza Motorsport 5 as free DLC. They’ve even gone as far as to ensure each track is implemented into the career mode as well. This is great. Now of these two tracks, one is unique to the franchise (with Long Beach) and the was included in the last title (with Road America). I’d be happy to pay for Long Beach given it’s an entirely new track for the franchise, but if we were to be charged for Road America, then something wouldn’t be right.
Now I’m sure gamers are reading this thinking, “a sequel doesn’t need to include all the content from the last game in the new one” and this is certainly true. There’s no reason why Forza Motorsport would need to go down the route of Gran Turismo, where there are 100 different Mazda RX8s or 100 different Nissan Skylines, but there’s a difference between building upon a previous title and starting fresh, to not including content that was in a previous game and then charging gamers a premium to have this content included again. This is my gripe, and this is what the issue is.
For those gamers who haven’t purchased the Forza Motorsport 5 “Car Pass” DLC, each pack costs roughly $10 AUD each. If we include the latest DLC, this means that gamers are spending $60 AUD for what is essentially 11 new cars and 49 vehicles which were included in the last game. If we factor in the cost of the game itself, this would then result in gamers paying roughly $160 AUD for a game, that has less tracks overall, less cars overall, and only one unique track and 11 unique cars via DLC! If it wasn’t for Turn 10’s (thankfully smart) decision to provide gamers with all DLC cars for free in-game, even less of these 60 cars would actually be affordable due to their high prices, which would result in the player either needing to grind for in-game credits, or to spend even more real cash on in-game tokens.
Of course, the argument “if you don’t like it, don’t buy it” will always apply here, as it has applied to the argument of yearly release games for franchises like FIFA and NBA and as it has applied for microtransactions too, but surely there’s a line that developers cross that just can’t be tolerated, and I think this is one such example.
Turn 10, there is no denying that you make quality games, and I’ve stated multiple times that Forza Motorsport 5 is currently the only next-generation title that I continue to go back to and play, but what you’re doing to your fans here is an outrage, and it’s nothing short of disgraceful. If this is the sort of money-grabbing tactics that developers plan to adopt for the generation ahead, we’ve got a serious problem.