Turn 10: Forza 5 micro-transactions were our idea

Dan Greenawalt claims that Turn 10's intentions were misunderstood

Turn 10's Dan Greenawalt has claimed that Forza 5's controversial microtransactions were not an imperative handed down from Microsoft.

In a comprehensive interview with Eurogamer, Greenawalt responded to many of the concerns that have surfaced over Forza 5's use of in-game purchases. These free-to-play monetisation techniques are a common feature among the launch titles on Xbox One, but Greenawalt insisted that Turn 10 independently chose to use them.

"Honestly I think, unfortunately, people attribute too much communication to this organisation," he said. "For the most part, Microsoft sees it as we're doing a good thing so keep it up, and so we're left alone.

"I'd say the biggest inspiration is the way the world is going. This is happening more and more in games, and I understand gamers being resistant, especially if they feel like they're being short-sheeted. I think people are looking out for being short-sheeted, and they're seeing conspiracy where there isn't one. And that's common in today's age.

"It's not about making more money, it was actually about saving people's time when doing the grind"

"We were definitely not mandated to include these - we were experimenting in Forza 4, we experimented a bit in Horizon and now we're further experimenting in Forza 5. But we experiment a lot of things - and when we get them wrong we try to fix them."

Greenawalt was careful to not that, "perception is reality," and so Turn 10 is dedicated to patching Forza 5 to bring it in line with the community's expectations. However, Greenawalt also stated his belief that the studio's intentions have been fundamentally misunderstood. The single most divisive aspect of Forza 5's economy was the price of specific cars, which were as high as £30 in some cases, though all could be earned by playing the game in a conventional way.

"If you look at free-to-play games they usually have things called paywalls, where you're slowly wearing something down and the only way to get around it is to pay. That's not what we implemented in Forza 4 and that wasn't our goal in Forza 5 either. We don't have paywalls," he said.

"There's a small group of players that can't be bothered to do things and they have disposable income. They're the sim guys in a lot of cases. They don't want to do the career, and they don't value those aspects, and that's alright by me.

"It's not about making more money, it was actually about saving people's time when doing the grind. I can totally see how people are perceiving it, but that wasn't our thought process - we designed the tokens last, which isn't how you'd do it if you were making a free-to-play game... As a creative director, we were looking at it as basically giving people cheats, but if you want to put cheats in you have to pay for them, which puts a barrier in and makes it exclusive to those who want to pay for them."

More stories

Confederate flag and other "notorious iconography" banned in Forza

Anti-police brutality phrases such as a ACAB and FTP also banned

By Haydn Taylor

Turn 10 studio head apologises to fans over Forza 7 VIP passes

Developer folds to community pressure following controversial changes and communication issues

By Haydn Taylor

Latest comments (13)

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 6 years ago
Revenue per user, there is hardly a critic of Forza 5 that misunderstands anything about it.

If you are so concerned about my time, then UNLOCK EVERYTHING the second I put in the disc. There, problem solved, my time, not wasted. Do not create a progression that is the foundation of monetization and expect it to sit well with potential customers or the people writing reviews for them. Getting all the content you paid for without any additional bullshit barrier of time and money is not cheating.
8Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jed Ashforth Senior Game Designer, Immersive Technology Group, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe6 years ago
I read the piece on Eurogamer earlier and Dan Greenwalt really doesn't do himself, or Turn10, any favours. Trying to spin any act of charity or goodwill out of this just makes the situation worse, and assuming anybody is going to buy the wide-eyed surprise and actually believe this shit they're shovelling just seems even more disrespectful to their critics.

I'm glad we're all down to the meat of this discussion now; it really feels as if in the last few days many of the commentators on this are finally throwing back the retort that we have always expected some unfettered access route to our purchase in the form of a cheat code or an arcade mode, as Klaus points out. Whatever else on top of that may be open to debate, there's no possible excuse for locking content away outside of the structured career and online modes, especially considering how small the content offering is in F5 compared to F3 and F4.

"...if you want to put cheats in you have to pay for them, which puts a barrier in and makes it exclusive to those who want to pay for them." ... "We don't have paywalls," he said.".
Ah right, I see - they're pay barriers, not pay walls.
8Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Pete Thompson Editor 6 years ago
As someone who actually plays Forza 5 I don't see the issue really, I like the Forza series, I've played and still have them all, Even so I'm not someone who will do the countless grind to complete the game, but, I've not yet used any other form of currency in Forza Motorsport games other than that which I've earn't through progression.. I currently have around 30 cars in my garage and of those I only use one or two..

@Klaus, I'd avoid GT6 if you feel that strong about progression, as you have very little freedom, progression is tedious and every thing is so expensive..

On the subject of Microtransactions, GT6 has these aswell (as did GT5), yet I hear no one complaining about that ;)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Pete Thompson on 13th December 2013 5:23pm

1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (13)
Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop6 years ago
You suggesting I should pay to lock them again
Why would paying have to come in to it? What a ridiculous straw man.
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Hugo Trepanier Senior Game Designer, Ludia6 years ago
It all depends on how much grind is reasonably expected to get access to the content, really. How many hours of play should be considered "normal" for someone to unlock a high-valued vehicle? To me it makes sense to have to win several races before I get to drive the super bogie, but I would feel cheated if I had to drive for 1000 hours (insane amount). Part of the fun of games like this is just testing out the different rides so it makes no sense to make the best ones completely inaccessible.

It especially feels worse when the developers recognize they set the bar too high and are willing to lower it down... for a price. If they just offered this special car as DLC instead no one would complain.

I really liked the system used in one of the recent NFS games where all cars were immediately available, you just had to find them in the world. On the other hand, getting a measurable sense of progression is also very welcome.

By the way, the recently released Angry Birds Go also offers high-value cars for a price, except it's free initially. It's best car is only available as IAP for $50.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Hugo Trepanier on 13th December 2013 5:50pm

1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Pete Thompson Editor 6 years ago
@ Hugo, Most of (If not all) NFS games also have Microtransactions from day one that allow you to unlock everything you can earn through progression, therefore negating any need to progress at all..
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Richard Browne Head of External Projects, Digital Extremes6 years ago
This whole thing is so much ado about nothing. If the option wasn't there nobody would give a rats - it's just Forza as Forza has always functioned. Nobody is forced to use them. Unlocking everything from day one is a total strawman as well, it's not Forza or actually a game if you do that, it's just a car sandbox which Forza has never been.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop6 years ago
Unlocking everything from day one is a total strawman as well, it's not Forza or actually a game if you do that
So a racing game stops being a game if you have all the content unlocked? I can't say I've ever heard that opinion before. Do you really play racing games purely for the unlock tree, rather than because you enjoy racing cars around tracks, winning races, climbing leaderboards, that quest for the perfect lap, etc?
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
David Doel Games Marketing Assistant, AMD6 years ago
The problem I have is that these kinds of things used to be cheat codes, remember those? Now they've been replaced by micro-transactions in full $60 priced games.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Doel on 13th December 2013 8:21pm

6Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
While flawed, Test Drive Unlimited and TDU 2 did this better (save for the cars you needed to buy later on) and worked fine as pure driving experiences as opposed to race after race after race. Just drive around and explore, earn money through events and points through doing other stuff and use those to unlock cars and content at your leisure. I'm not a fan of metered pay in games like this, but it seems to be the way things are going.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tamir Ibrahim Programmer, Splash Damage6 years ago
The main problem I have with the comments made by Greenawalt is this line:
It's not about making more money, it was actually about saving people's time when doing the grind
Regardless of the arguments being made in the comments; if it really was about saving people's time, you could easily add an option to unlock all the cars.

I have no problem with F2P, I actually like F2P. But on a more abstract level, should a racing game in particular define how I choose to play the game? If I only want to buy the game and race the top level cars should I really need to play for a set amount of time in order for the game to deem me worthy enough to play it how I wanted to play it in the first place? Buying the top level cars works great if the game is reduced in price or free. But not when it is a full price game to begin with, it's all relative.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments6 years ago
@Tamir - thing is, that's content that traditionally would've been hidden behind skill checks and/or grind anyway - all content out of the box suits certain genres (group party), but isn't expected of others. In which case the payment is not unlocking content as much as bypassing the pre-exisiting requirements. If you don't want to pay, you're experience is no different than if the payment option wasn't there.

Where it gets a lot more contentious is if the balancing is changed to promote said payment.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Richard Browne Head of External Projects, Digital Extremes6 years ago
@ Anthony - yes it becomes a racing sandbox as I said. For me part of playing GT was ALWAYS the progression mechanic. Unlocking cars and tracks were REWARDS. That's what gamified the sandbox. Saying it should all be unlocked fundamentally changes what GT/Forza are.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.