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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What If: Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport... UNITED?

John B. Marine | 6:35 PM | | |
Gran Turismo. Forza Motorsport. Together? What if the unthinkable happened? What if two of the finest sim racers today joined forces? Could such a united effort be beneficial or damaging to racing games in general? Could the sides possibly learn something? This blog post highlights on what would happen if two of the finest racing game franchises today were to unite. Think of if Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo and Turn 10's Forza Motorsport joined forces and united as one superpower of a racing game franchise. I am not saying they would, but WHAT IF this happened.

So welcome to John's Gran Turismo Space- my blog of and about both Gran Turismo and Tourist Trophy!

--- Gran Turismo and Forza: Brief History ---

Before mentioning what would happen if the two franchises would come together, let me talk about both series in my own way and what each franchise has meant to racing games in general.

Gran Turismo has been a gold standard in console racing games since its inception in 1997 and 1998. A lot of elements from the first Gran Turismo have forced certain developers to step their game up in designing their racing games. Some of these respects came in the manner of car physics, racing, graphics, and more.

Gran Turismo 2 only expanded upon what GT1 started and has ushered in even more material to enhance the Gran Turismo franchise. It also offered rally racing as well as a few more intense races.

When Gran Turismo 3 was unveiled on the PlayStation 2, even with fewer cars and better graphics, GT3 was a progression towards the future. Enhancements in driving dynamics and graphics helped to make GT even better. Some longer and more intense races were part of the GT3 deal.

Now- things were about to get interesting. When GT4 was in the works, a challenger on another console seem poised to challenge Gran Turismo in May 2005 for king of the console sim racing crown. This challenger was named Forza Motorsport. Many thought this would be the start of a new racing game rivalry. Gran Turismo 4 blew many peoples' minds with its many features and enhancements when it was released in December 2004 in Japan and either February 2005 in North America or March 2005 in Europe. However, many others became disappointed with Gran Turismo 4 and became more in love with Forza Motorsport, leaving behind GT. The biggest disappointing element was that Gran Turismo 4 long promised to have an online racing system implemented. When online play was dropped from Gran Turismo 4, this gave even more reason to play Forza Motorsport 1.

What about Forza since FM1? Well, it moved from the XBOX to the XBOX 360; and generated two sequels. Forza Motorsport 2 was released in May or June 2007 (depending on region) and became bigger, better, and more beautiful than the Forza on the original XBOX. Smooth graphics and intense gameplay were what FM2 delivered for the XBOX 360. Other options, like auctions, were offered for Forza fans. Forza Motorsport 3 became even more beautiful and enticing than FM2. Released in October 2009, there is no denying how insatiable it is to race in the realm of FM3. Tuning options became even more expansive. More importantly, the racing career experience became even better pronounced. Two vastly-successful, vastly acclaimed titles surfaced between Gran Turismo 4 and when Gran Turismo 5 eventually was released. Now that I've given Forza its mention, what about that Gran Turismo 5 game that's supposed to be released in the near future?

Gran Turismo 5 would eventually be released in November 2010. A lot of people were pleased that Gran Turismo 5 became available, but a lot of people felt Gran Turismo 5 became a severe disappointment. This, even with this being the first GT to feature car damage as well as cars from various world-class manufacturers (including the inclusion of Ferrari and Lamborghini among others). Such people felt it was sad that a rival released two very successful sequels of a rival racing game franchise while a current juggernaut was losing its steam. It was then in October 2011 that Forza Motorsport 4 was released. This basically meant Forza Motorsport, to some people, has finally overtaken and run laps around Gran Turismo, especially around Gran Turismo 5. With GT6 in the works, many feel Polyphony Digital has felt the pressure of Forza Motorsport and feel powerless to try to create a Gran Turismo to be better than Forza Motorsport.

All the while, both Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport have shown to be the two finest sim racing games no matter what the PC realm offers. Yes- neither game could hold a candle to any SimBin racing title or something like Project C.A.R.S., but GT and Forza represent the two finest racing game franchises on the market today. Many Need for Speed fans probably would argue that NFS is better than either GT or Forza. However, that's why I mentioned "sim racing," not racing in general, because NFS is mostly an arcade racing franchise.

Now that some history has been laid out, it's time to ask the main question.

--- What If: Gran Turismo and Forza: UNITED? ---

There would have to be some sort of agreement and some sort of goal(s) to be accomplished for some common ground to be established. The goal here would be to have the best racing game experience- let alone sim racing experience- on any console. It would be as if Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport feel threatened by the likes of Need for Speed or Burnout as far as the best-possible console racing game experience, that GT and Forza would need to join forces to set themselves apart. Then again, why would GT and Forza need to set themselves apart when both have done so respectively for their consoles and for their brands?

What about a different aspect? Polyphony Digital moved their studios from Tokyo to Fukuoka. Some people would think that GT is slowly dying as a franchise going on Gran Turismo 5. So what if in a surreal sense, PD wanted to seek some extra help to help better develop and make GT better in a few respects?

What Could Forza Motorsport Offer to Gran Turismo?

Forza Motorsport has been a franchise about cars and connecting gamers with those dream cars. That has been its mindset and its character since the series' inception. It is also why many people who have played Gran Turismo and Forza would prefer to play Forza more than Gran Turismo.

• The series has always been about cars people care about and hard-fought racing. Many feel these elements are severely lacking in Gran Turismo titles. So even if to (and I mean no disrespect) shut up whiny Gran Turismo fans who think their opinions or wants don't matter or are unanswered by Polyphony Digital, this insight by Forza would help make Gran Turismo better.

• In addition to cars, more important elements- like sound and car physics- could seriously help Gran Turismo. A lot of people have absolutely complained about the sound in Gran Turismo games.

• The customization element would be incredible for Gran Turismo based on all the various machines Forza car artists have created.

• Forza, to me, also offers a much better racing career element than Gran Turismo games. So be ready for more intense and exciting racing. There is much better depth and variety in racing events in Forza than in Gran Turismo, so that would be a plus for GT moving forward.

• Speaking as an American, I think Forza could also offer better depth of American cars to Gran Turismo instead of just muscle cars and sports cars. Forza does offer a good deal of American economy cars other than just muscle cars and American sports cars.

• Actually, Forza Motorsport is more forgiving and a bit easier for novices than Gran Turismo. This series is meant to be a sim racer that doesn't have as steep a learning curve. So this can help those not usually into racing games or aren't as adept with racing games.

• Car performance is better categorized and utilized in Forza than in Gran Turismo. This would also be a plus.

• The physics model and driving model of Forza games could help make Gran Turismo more interesting to drive and race.

These are things I think Forza could offer Gran Turismo.

What Could Gran Turismo Offer to Forza Motorsport?

Gran Turismo has long been touted as "The Real Driving Simulator." Many people, however, feel that while the driving element is solid, its racing lacks. Racing games that lack in the racing department... doesn't usually make for a great racing game experience. So what could Forza take from Gran Turismo?

My Forza experience is very poor. What you are about to read is based almost purely on impressions.

• Speaking as an overall car fan, Gran Turismo could offer some Forza fans more kinds of cars. I know Forza types would hate on me or look at me funny in saying this, but part of the reason why many people flocked to Forza from GT is because some GT fans felt like the cars they wanted meant nothing to PD. You can argue about 50 Nissan Skyline/GT-Rs or 25 Mitsubishi Lancers, and none (or not much) of what most other car fans like; but GT has better overall DEPTH of car types than Forza. There are more everyday driver cars and cars not meant to be speed demons in GT than Forza. Part of the dream of having everyday drivers is to turn them from day-to-day cars into racing beasts. A Ford Focus ST likely isn't the racing machine of your dreams, but it doesn't mean you still can make it as pure of a racing machine as you'd like.

• Better tuning depth would be a great offering for Forza.

• I would say that offering things like rally racing would be great for rally fans.

• I am unsure as to whether people would prefer gaming with GT or Forza. But for the most part, more people tend to connect better in sim racing with Gran Turismo than with Forza Motorsport. The more hardcore sim racing set (from whom I've been around) tend to do their sim racing more with GT than Forza.

• More interesting endurance racing would be a plus for Forza. Forza games are mostly tailored for racing game fans ranging from casual racers to the hardened elites. There are not as many who can make time for some of GT's endurances. So therefore, the endurances from GT will be great for Forza gamers.

These are things I think Gran Turismo could offer to Forza. Please note that I have VERY little Forza experience, so I don't know everything there is to know about Forza.

--- Advantages and Disadvantages of Uniting GT and Forza ---

So you want to unite Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport? Here would be advantages and disadvantages of doing so:


Sharing of tracks and resources would be a big advantage. Can you imagine racing the Grand Valley 300km or any other classic Gran Turismo event using Forza? Could you imagine racing Maple Valley using Gran Turismo? A unified roster of cars means that fans of both series can enjoy some of the most interesting cars in the world, and all with no compromise.

Most of all, you would need not compromise or feel you have to choose between the two- both are available with the most unique experience gaming can provide.


The biggest disadvantage is that you've monopolized the console sim racing market for the most part. And in essence, you kill off competition. And as we all know- no competition is bad for business. Do you really want to monopolize sim racing games for consoles much like EA Sports has essentially monopolized certain sports?

Also, how would you be able to tell GT and Forza apart? Both games have their own respective identites and qualities that make them different from each other. Putting both together would unite the two and share their qualities, but their respective identities and characters will be killed off.


How do you make the game accessible to both platforms? Would a Forza-type game run smoothly on a modern PlayStation? Would a Gran Turismo-type game run smoothly on a modern XBOX? Could you seamlessly bring the united experience to both consoles? Also, what would you call its united name? Forza Gran Turismo? Gran Turismo × Forza Motorsport? Finally, could you make this game accessible and fun across both Sony Entertainment Network (or is it still called PlayStation Network?) AND XBOX Live?

Just some things to think about...

Why did I create this post? Why did you bother reading this? Simple- presenting something interesting to the Internet while also offering my own unique commentary. I just wondered what it would be like if Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport came together. In a way, I also presented this blog post in this manner to share what I think Gran Turismo can do and use to become better than it is. I am a GT fan; I just don't want GT to fall into any obscurity and insignificance. Just hoping for something to help me get over the disappointments of Gran Turismo 5. If it means taking or learning from rivals, so be it.

Again- what you just read is a "What If?" post. I am pretty sure there are no plans in the immediate future for both franchises to want to come together. I surely want to know your thoughts regarding what a GT-Forza collaboration would mean and what you think one game would offer to the other.

This blog isn't "dead"- I just haven't updated it with anything useful lately (until now, of course). Thank you for reading!

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