Oh, dear. It seems Forza Motorsport 5's publishers, Turn 10 Studios, have just kicked an own goal in the ongoing battle between the XBox One exclusive and its Sony Playstation rival, Gran Turismo 6. It's come to light that FM5 will make do with a mere 200 cars and just 14 tracks when it hits shelves on November 22. That's 300 fewer cars and nearly half as many circuits as Forza Motorsport 4, while GT6 comes out swinging with six times as many cars and 39 tracks.
Now, the issue with the cars can kind of be explained away. Forza may be down 300 cars on its previous instantiation, but it'll be arriving with a greater variety of metal for gamers to race and customize. It'll be the first to offer the McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari, and will also be offering open-wheel racers, like the Dallara DW12 Indy Car and Lotus Renault's 2013 Formula One car, as well as two vintage options, Niki Lauda's 1976 Ferrari 312T and James Hunt's McLaren M23. Forza also has a well-documented track record of offering some seriously impressive car packs via paid, downloadable content or a season pass (the season pass for FM5 will run $50 and include 10 new cars every month, for six months).
Perhaps more worrying than the number of cars are the shortage of tracks.
Perhaps more worrying than the number of cars are the shortage of tracks. While Forza packs exciting additions like Spa-Francorchamps and Mount Panorama, it'll do so without the Nürburgring Nordschleife, a track that has become as standard in the Forza/GT world as keg of beer at a frat party. It will also lose old standbys like Suzuka and Infineon. And while their loss is a particularly bitter pill for gamers, it's a medicine that will end up benefiting them in the long run, according to Creative Director Dan Greenawalt.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Greenawalt explained the missing tracks:
"Some of the tracks ... needed light updating, and some of them needed heavy updating. Silverstone, for example, was a complete recapture. Several of our tracks were just plain wrong, either because they were poorly captured and technology's moved on, or the track's changed like Silverstone. We're grading the tracks on what state they're in, and if they didn't make the grade they were gone... I wanted to deliver the next-generation quality - and that meant having the shaders, and the imperfections in the concrete. And the easiest way to get those is to laser scan the track, as that captures those imperfections. We had old references on tracks where if the tracks we had were close we were able to go back to the old reference and recreate that imperfection. By definition that means these tracks take more time than ever."
The pursuit of perfection is admirable, but the question is whether gamers will be receptive to not only buying a game that requires a brand-new console, but one that has fewer cars and tracks to offer than a current-generation title from the competition. Greenawalt closes out the interview explaining, "We're looking at what we're going to add as DLC. Obviously we're committed to cars - that's something we do very well. We're looking at tracks as well to see what we can do there." As always, we'd like to hear what you think. Does the lack of cars and tracks limit the appeal of Forza Motorsport 5, or is the situation tolerable, so long as DLC comes out to rectify the issues? Have your say in Comments.