You remember E3, right? When Microsoft, instead of unveiling their next console, just wheeled on an enormous sign that read ‘Go Fuck Yourself, Consumer!!’, and were really put out when nobody liked it, bitterly dragging the sign away and haughtily slamming the Xbox One in its place a few months later? Maybe your version of events is different to mine, but that’s definitely how I remember it. You may also remember that while each New-World-Order style policy was slowly, reluctantly reversed, eventually turning Microsoft’s next offering into something that was, at its most generous, a feasible proposition, several erroneous software features clung to the package with the tenacity one would wish upon a tiny January Jones. Erm. This is exemplified, of course, in the beige-a-thon that is Forza 5. Well, don’t worry folks, Turn 10 are taking full responsibility for this hair-brained microtransaction fiasco, and if it makes you feel any better, they’re all very disappointed in themselves too.
The thing is Turn 10, you haven’t just let yourselves down. You’ve let your fans down. You’ve let us down. You’ve let your parents down. Probably. Hurts to hear that, doesn’t it? If you weren’t aware of Forza’s rampant love affair with microtransactions, either because you’ve correctly identified the new-gen consoles to be as appealing as being sneezed on, and thus haven’t bothered, or because money isn’t a concept to you and you frequently screw up £20 notes out of sheer boredom, then allow me to explain.
Forza 5 follows a Free-to-Play-esque business model, in which to progress, players can choose to purchase certain in-game items. This is, of course, all fine and well, except that Forza 5, isn’t free. It’s a purse-rogering £54.99RRP. And those extra bits you can buy? Some of those cars cost upwards of £30. Whilst this isn’t the first time such an option has been included in the series, reportedly the number of hours now required to grind through the game in order to win these expensive cars, borders on 400, ramped up considerably from previous iterations’ 50-60 hours. We’re talking the kind of time it would take to learn a new language; presumably so you could tell Turn 10 to chupar el grande fluently. It’s not exactly unreasonable to say then, that the game has been intentionally geared toward coercing players to open up their wallets and brace for a royal Watkinsing.
Turn 10, of course, faced an uproar of sorts, from their legions of dedicated fans, used to being gifted the kind of matchless digital racing experience worthy of Nigel Mansell’s moustache and outraged at suddenly being treated like little more than cash-dribbling, coin-coughing, pocket liner dispensers. Chiefly because on top of all this, Forza 5 comes with a downright flaccid TWELVE tracks. It certainly seems, at this point, Microsoft rolled up their ‘Fuck You Consumer!!’ sign and mailed it on to the Turn 10 offices.
Creative Director Dan Greenawalt, recently spoke to Eurogamer, heroically proclaiming “It’s been disappointing  I’m more disappointed in myself that I’ve elicited this reaction in people.” Well, you should be disappointed Dan. Presumably this was all murmured while looking at his shoes, scuffing one against the floor and swinging his shoulders. Of course, that little glimmer of remorse was more than our fair share, as Greenawalt added “I think people are looking out for being short-sheeted, and they’re seeing conspiracy where there isn’t one.”
‘Honestly. It wasn’t like that it… it just, it just happened. I don’t know how… Honestlyyy’
He went on to insist that Microsoft themselves had no hand in this decision to turn the smacker-squeezing up to 11, saying “Honestly I think, unfortunately, people attribute too much communication to this organisation, We were definitely not mandated to include these.” That’s right Dan, we all give this industry FAR too much credit; ‘Competency!? Ha, there’s none of that round here. H’oh no.’ You don’t need to tell us buddy, we’ve seen.
And thus, like Microsoft’s half-arsed, hesitant, drivelly excuse for a back-pedalling apology, Turn 10 may well be disappointed in themselves; but I feel they’re probably more disappointed we didn’t all just start euphorically ejaculating money all over them.
So why is it that this generation has so far been a whole lot of ballsing up, and very little to actually enjoy. Sure the games are slow on the uptake, but then again, they often are at launch. The problem is, it feels like, as consumers, we’re quite openly being prayed upon, and attempts to slip passed us are coming thick and fast. I feel like someone trying to protect a home comprised entirely of entrances from a horde of hungry robbers, desperately batting one away from one door, only to have one sneak in the other whilst I’m looking away. How long is it till one of these right-removing, wallet-crunching, industry-changing ‘business models’ somehow slips through, isn’t met by the correct amount of uproar and all of a sudden gaming becomes that much less enjoyable?
Turn 10 had previously been one of the few big developers with, what appeared to be, a bit of grounding. A commitment to quality. But apparently; they don’t even realize when they’re about to screw us. That’s if we’re gullible enough to lap up any old excuse anyway.
Free-to-Play isn’t all bad; and since so many people have proved its worth on other platforms, perhaps there’s some future in it. This though, certainly isn’t the future we want. Are you for or against F2P? Did Forza 5 upset you to the core of your being, or weren’t you all that bothered? Stick a comment below and let us know you lot; more on Respawn when we get it.