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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Gran Turismo vs. Forza Motorsport Rivalry

John B. Marine | 9:59 PM | | |
(UPDATED: April 11, 2012)

This may be a Gran Turismo blog, but this is not some "fanboy" blog. I'll post this entry to prove that point. Gran Turismo's biggest competition throughout the franchise's history has been the Forza Motorsport series. GT5 was released in November 2010, and Forza 4 is currently (as of May 10, 2011) still in the works. Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport have long been rivals. Or... ARE they true rivals? This blog post expresses what has made GT vs. Forza as one of the finest console racing game rivalries of all-time.


This blog post will show that this is no "fanboy" blog post of Gran Turismo. I don't specialize in such material. Most of you know that I express everything professionally. Even though this is a Gran Turismo blog, I am not going to slam every other racing game and be pro-GT. I'll express my views with class because that's the only way I know how to do most commentary pieces. So get ready for a non-biased piece of commentary here. You shall see! :)

--- Gran Turismo vs. Forza Motorsport: The Rivalry ---

Gran Turismo vs. Forza Motorsport
^ from: - Gran Turismo (right) or Forza Motorsport(left)? Whose side are YOU on in this rivalry?

To understand the rivalry between the two series, let's look back in time with various aspects to define how we've come to today's rivalry through my perspective.

Here Comes a New Challenger!

Gran Turismo fans awaiting Gran Turismo 4 were surprised as a certain challenger stepped up to the plate. A game called Forza Motorsport was in the works by Turn 10. It was a game that was hoping to steal the spotlight while many Gran Turismo fans were awaiting Gran Turismo 4. To certain disgruntled Gran Turismo fans, Forza did indeed deliver even as GT4 was in the works.

I was still looking forward to Gran Turismo 4, but I wanted to see what the whole Forza buzz was all about. So I went to a Wal-Mart store and played the Forza Motorsport demo at an XBOX kiosk. I was appalled at how thuggish the AI was. I questioned to my friends on that "THIS is better than Gran Turismo?" So I was pretty unhappy with Forza and felt like this was a game that was NEVER going to overtake Gran Turismo for the best racing game of modern racing game series. Then the news came that Gran Turismo 4 dropped online play. Advantage = XBOX, advantage = XBOX Live, and Advantage = Forza Motorsport. It was starting to look like GT4's eventual release was going to be shadowed by the upstart Forza Motorsport. Subsequent reviews for Forza Motorsport came in. Watching G4 TV show "X-Play" back in 2005, Morgan Webb supplemented a review of Forza Motorsport. It netted a "5 out of 5" from the highly-praised game review show that started life as "Extended Play" back in the TechTV days. There were notes after the review about being able to damage licensed cars and play online as being the biggest factors that break Forza apart from the Gran Turismo series. There were even commercials on TV saying that (one magazine) noted Forza Motorsport as being "better than Gran Turismo 4."

Then along came Gran Turismo 4. It was no doubt still a successful game, but many just feel GT4 could have been a lot more even in the face of Forza's arrival. Many gamers just seem compelled at what Forza Motorsport had to offer apart from the main practices Gran Turismo has practiced for years. Among the gaming masses, a new sort of rivalry has thus emerged- Gran Turismo for the PlayStation consoles and Forza Motorsport for the XBOX consoles. Both are clearly the best exclusive racing franchises for each console and each console brand. This Great Divide in racing games (especially simulation racing games) has led to most being into GT and others being into Forza. At least both sides can agree- Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport are the two best racing game series at least on consoles.

The Next-Gen Wars.

Microsoft vaulted ahead into the next-gen wars by showcasing Forza Motorsport 2 for the XBOX 360. Lessons learned from the first Forza gave Turn 10 a chance to perfect their title for the next generation of gaming. Forza Motorsport 2 was clearly much more beautiful than Forza Motorsport 1. The action became even more intense with its on-track action. It also became much more fun with auctions and other tidbits for fans to share their cars to the online world. But... where was Gran Turismo when Forza Motorsport 2 officially released? The only GT since Forza 2 was Gran Turismo HD, essentially a demo of Gran Turismo racing under PlayStation 3 power. Gran Turismo 5 was still being worked on. This led many to believe that Gran Turismo has a glass jaw when it came to taking pressure to Forza Motorsport. The glass jaw was exploited by haymakers by Forza Motorsport and the fans who love Forza more than Gran Turismo. Despite this, Polyphony Digital knows they can only be concerned with their product and not try to give into any rival racing game.

In 2009, Forza Motorsport 3 came along offering a vastly-improved overall structure and many more enhancements to not only bolster its success as a franchise, but to reassure Forza fans why the series is great. Where was Gran Turismo? The first-ever GT Prologue sold in the United States was GT5 Prologue. Even with GT5P released, many have criticized GT5: Prologue as a glorified demo. It was at least something to hold down GT gamers until GT5 was released proper.

The Delay Factor and Mouthing Off.

A few classless moments came about regarding the GT-Forza rivalry, mostly on the Microsoft side. I have read about how Microsoft employee was trolling online about the Gran Turismo 5 release date as GT5 was still in the works and still delayed. There was also Dan Greenwalt (head developer of the Forza Motorsport series) who said something along the lines of "Kazunori has never done anything for me in years." as Gran Turismo 5 "didn't show up" during the 2009 E3 show. Dan Greenwalt has long been a GT fan, and Forza Motorsport wouldn't have been possible without GT. Greenwalt felt like he's been dis acknowledged by Kazunori Yamauchi (whom he greatly respects).

For a number of GT fans, this led GT fans to believe Microsoft and the Forza Motorsport team were being too cocky and out of line in trying to promote or discuss Forza Motorsport. I've even been disgusted to an extent. One can appreciate confidence and brash behavior for Forza, and why not? Forza fans can brag about the only console racing series that has stood face-to-face with the Gran Turismo series. That's saying a lot considering what Gran Turismo has accomplished in some 10+ years of the franchise.

The delays even for GT4 were bad. When it came to GT5, however, many people thought this game would have as much of a chance of being released as Duke Nukem Forever (at the time). Yet another delay for GT5 led one blog to say that GT5 is "stuck in the pits" while Forza Motorsport 3 was released or soon to be released. The development of Gran Turismo games becomes to excruciating to most people that they feel like the series isn't worth painstaking development. And if the games took so long, many discriminating fans who waited so long think the next Gran Turismo has to be completely mind-blowing to take so long. It was at this point that many people Forza Motorsport has won the racing game war against Gran Turismo.

What people fail to realize (or regard), however, is that Gran Turismo 5 was eventually released. Some people treat Gran Turismo games like they'll never be released. Even with GT5's shortcomings reported by gamers and various publications and media outlets, the game was still released and still became a hit. I still have yet to play this game (and get a PS3) to offer my opinions. Multiple Forza titles may have been created between Gran Turismo 4 and Gran Turismo 5, but there are still the devoted GT fans who still love Gran Turismo no matter what Forza offered.

The Situation Now (as of May 10, 2011).

Gran Turismo 5 was finally released in November 2010 while word of Forza Motorsport 4 was in the works. So two more iterations of Forza Motorsport were unveiled as Gran Turismo 5 was still in the works. This leads lots of people to believe that Gran Turismo is losing its luster even as Forza Motorsport keeps releasing quality titles while the slow development of the Gran Turismo franchise has been counterproductive. On the contrary, this is more like the classic Tortoise and the Hare story in which some Gran Turismo fans think Forza Motorsport is a franchise that is (to use racing expressions) running on fumes trying to better the Gran Turismo series.

After all of this reading, the rivalry between Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport is one of the best. Forza is the best competition Gran Turismo has had in years.

There's more to this post! Click "Read More" if you enjoyed your read and want to see more of this post (or disregard if you are reading the full post)!

--- Gran Turismo vs. Forza Motorsport: What Forza Brings ---

The Forza Motorsport series brings a lot that has made most GT fans defect to Forza. Among many features: impressive sound quality, vast customization of cars, more "interesting" cars from car manufacturers most people care about than any other (namely Ferrari, Porsche, and Lamborghini among others), damage, a great driving model, and of course- online play through XBOX Live. Many who love Forza Motorsport would likely say that Forza Motorsport represents what the Gran Turismo series COULD/SHOULD be like.

I still love the Gran Turismo series, but had grown healthy respect for Forza Motorsport. Part of that respect was formed as I spent more time playing Forza Motorsport 1 mostly at a kiosk at a Sears store. I spent more time looking at the many options and nuances of Forza Motorsport. It was at this point that I wanted to spend more time to study Forza. If I had an XBOX, I would LOVE to play Forza Motorsport religiously to study it and enjoy racing. I have only demo experience of Forza Motorsport 2 and haven't played a single second of Forza 3.

It was at this point that I began to realize Forza's potential. My perceptions of Gran Turismo began to change more and more as I thought about the Forza Motorsport series. Still, Gran Turismo is the racing game franchise I call and still call my favorite. I still race laps and races with as much joy as I have when I first played Gran Turismo games.

That is why when I play or think about Forza Motorsport, I wonder if Gran Turismo can ever deliver for the future with features Forza games have as opposed to Gran Turismo's offerings. It would be too one-sided to say that Gran Turismo beats Forza Motorsport in every conceivable category. However, Gran Turismo as a whole isn't completely perfect. The Forza Motorsport series has exposed some of GT's flaws by providing its own twist on the overall experience Gran Turismo has perfected for years. I am not saying that Gran Turismo should copy Forza or Forza should copy Gran Turismo. All I am saying is that both games are superior in their own ways with respective qualities that make them stand out against the other. But speaking as a Gran Turismo fan, I wonder how the Gran Turismo series can improve as a whole with insight from its opposition. Even I sometimes look at Gran Turismo (as much as I love the series) thinking this game is just a certain number of pieces away from being REALLY special and really showing it to be the finest racing gaming franchise no matter what anyone daresay.

Only thing is... CAN the Gran Turismo series last and evolve even with concepts introduced or innovated by the Forza Motorsport series? The more I think about Forza and the more I play Gran Turismo, the more I begin to wonder if Gran Turismo can really... you know, emerge by leaps and bounds in providing the greatest racing game experience, not just the greatest Gran Turismo experience. I haven't played GT5 yet, so I'll reserve my GT5 thoughts until I properly play GT5.

--- Gran Turismo vs. Forza Motorsport: Rivals? ---

Some say GT and Forza are rivals. I've posted this blog entry calling it a rivalry. Are they TRUE rivals?

When you think of rivalries, you think of sports rivalries like Michigan vs. Ohio State in college football, Duke vs. North Carolina in college basketball, the Yankees vs. Red Sox in Major League Baseball... you know, rivalries where there is a pronounced hatred between teams. Considering that Forza Motorsport probably wouldn't have been possible without Gran Turismo, it's safe to say that Forza and GT are only rivals because they are both sim racing games on rival consoles. Both are great in their department for their consoles.

Do you think the two game series are rivals?

--- Gran Turismo vs. Forza Motorsport: Final Thoughts ---

It may sound like I am bashing the Gran Turismo series vastly for elements Forza has over GT. However, I am a gaming fan (before a racing game fan). As a gaming fan, I always want the best experience. The Gran Turismo series is the best racing game series to me because I love all this series has to offer. I feel most comfortable with Gran Turismo than I do with any other racing game or racing game series. I wouldn't have come up with "John's Gran Turismo Space" or any of my previous Gran Turismo posts on "John's Blog Space" had I not been sold into GT's allure.

When I've speculated about various elements of Gran Turismo games, it was because I want the best EXPERIENCE. I love the Gran Turismo series, so I want to see this series grow and evolve. Part of that evolution involves expanding upon past concepts and practices. That's why I did my videos on my YouTube channel speculating and providing comments on certain aspects of Gran Turismo. I don't want a monopoly on racing games; I just want to see and be assured why I even cared for the Gran Turismo series. As great as Gran Turismo is, it can always be better. I just hope the series can continue to evolve and progress to remain the solid franchise that it is.

Having said all of this, I want to spend more time with the Forza Motorsport series if I had an opportunity to do so. I want to get cars, tune cars, run laps, and stuff like that in the Forza series. I want to do so as a racing game fan and as a devoted gamer.

So that is my blog post about the Gran Turismo vs. Forza Motorsport rivalry (or at least what is seen as a rivalry). As I have mentioned, this is a blog of and about both Gran Turismo and Tourist Trophy, and I have mentioned another franchise in a respectful light. It isn't like I am being paid to only discuss and praise the Gran Turismo series. Then again, I am not paid to post any post about anything. I am not under some contract to only discuss and praise the Gran Turismo series. This is a blog of personal opinion and various personally-made resources. Just because I mention another gaming franchise doesn't mean I have given up on posting about GT. It just means that I want to offer some extra discussion to give this blog some new life. It's not like I'm going to rename this blog as "John's Forza Motorsport Space" or some other namesake. This was born a Gran Turismo blog, and it's going to remain on as a Gran Turismo blog with minimal insight from other titles.

If anything, I have proven that this is not a "fanboy" blog of some sort (and that I am not a "fanboy" myself). A "fanboy" blog on Gran Turismo would praise Gran Turismo and knock down everything else that isn't Gran Turismo (or Tourist Trophy). It isn't that my blog has been criticized by others, but I just wanted to make this post to show my loyalty and dedication of discussing the Gran Turismo franchise while also paying respect to other titles. I could have just slammed the Forza Motorsport series for all its worth, but I have too much class for my blog to do such a thing. I am not going to troll something just to get more views. I prefer to be classy. I am too classy and professional to stoop to any sort of low.

The blog needs some injection of life as I struggle to get views as often as I do my other two blogs (well, one of them, anyways). Hope this helps. It is a Gran Turismo blog, but I invite all racing game fans to enjoy my blog posts here.

A Small Suggestion...

As somewhat of a segway, I invite you to read my "Motorsports Makeover" series of posts where I try to talk about how Gran Turismo can improve its image on the racing front and be more exciting. This even includes a little insight from other games. You are invited to read and comment on anything that interests you.

Thank you for reading! Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.

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"Carmaster" said...

I like the coverage of this apparent rivalry.. but you seem to have completely ignore the countless other racing/driving sims on the big three gaming devices (PC, PS3, X360)! Where's SimRaceWay, iRacing, Rigs of Rods, Automation, Enthusia... there are way more than these samples of the world out there... Please, consider a revision of this article.

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