Ding dong EA’s exclusivity is dead
Last year, Turn 10, developer of the Forza series, announced that they had bagged the rights to put Porsche vehicles in their games, starting with a Forza 6 Porsche expansion. That led to Forza Horizon 3 getting yet another pack last month. But just this month they noted that it was a little more than just a two-time thing — it’s now a six year partnership.
It’s important to note that this isn’t another exclusivity deal following EA’s. Gran Turismo is actually partnering with the German auto manufacturer too, Turn 10 and Microsoft just locked it in for that long because they have big plans.
I had the chance to speak to Dan Greenawalt, creative director at Turn 10, about the move. After asking how it initially came about, he responded, “we have a long history of little gestures towards Porsche, including in our UI. It’s been part of our DNA for a long time, but we’re mostly excited because of how big their presence is. I mean they’re a racing company that also makes sports cars. They have a long history of racing that a lot of people don’t think about, and they built a huge community around being the most winning club in history. We wanted to be a part of that.”
I was also interested to dig into why they wanted to go six years. I expected a “no comment” or PR-laden response, but I at least got a half-answer in “really, it’s that it was more than three, four, or five [laughs]. Six years is the sweet spot as it allows us to tell bigger and longer stories. It shows us a level of commitment from both parties that you couldn’t make in just a few years.”
Following up on that, I wanted to know what types of stories Turn 10 wanted to tell — Greenawalt explains that they want to experiment more with the Horizon style, giving players a framework to write their own tales. “The way we tell stories in Horizon,” he explains, “is by way of an open world, but more emergent. I like when players can tell their own stories, not by linking it to a linear narrative, but with something like a Forza-thon where you’re challenge with different tasks related to a type of car, then unlock it after. We did this with the seven cars we added to the Porsche pack.”
According to Greenawalt it won’t be just a “DLC” type of thing either, because now that the partnership is in full swing they can stick Porsche related content in at launch. That’ll be one of their focuses, as well as eSports. Greenawalt muses, “eSports, especially with Porsche’s presence in the racing field, is important to me. When I hear reports about generation ‘y’ or ‘z’ not being interested in cars, I see that as an opportunity to fix that. We’re doing that by holding more competitions, including Season 3 in the beginning of May in a multi-week tournament. We’ve moved up to tens of thousands of folks being involved in the process, all of whom are invited to share their thoughts as we evolve.”
The Forza series in general seems to be in good hands. They have the crazy Horizon series to experiment with (and they are), and the simulation heavy core Forza to compete with the rest of the market. And with Microsoft’s backing, they’re poised to be one of the most recognizable bits of their brand, even more so than Halo in some ways.