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Polyphony Digital and Gran Turismo’s Fall from Grace

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Disclaimer: As of this writing, I have not played Gran Turismo 6 but I did order it a couple of days ago and it’s on the way. Everything written from here on is based on the impression I have gotten from reviewers and people who have played the game. So, grain of salt and all that.

UPDATE: It’s here.

The fall of Polyphony Digital and its Gran Turismo franchise, one beloved by a huge community of racing fans the world over, hasn’t been an easy one to watch. To look at their efforts this generation, compared to those past, it’s hard to imagine what went wrong. Gran Turismo, a household name, a name held by many as the king of racing franchises has seen its crown snatched from it by an upstart in Turn 10.

One argument I see hurled around far too often in Gran Turismo’s defense is that Gran Turismo is all about exacting simulation of the subtleties of driving, something Forza Motorsport can’t match because it’s “arcadey”. Nonsense.

Gran Turismo fans, please stop trying to perpetuate this myth. Forza Motorsport is not at all arcadey. It never has been. Now, complaints were rightfully levied at Turn 10 for including a hidden active steering assist that couldn’t be disabled in Forza Motorsport 3, but the hidden aid has since been made an option in subsequent Forza titles, allowing sim fans to disable it by simply selecting “simulation” steering from the difficulty menu. But even with the hidden aid, Forza Motorsport 3 is still far from the type of “simcade” handling seen in games like GRID and Project Gotham Racing.

Now sim racing fans are right to say that neither Forza nor Gran Turismo are “true” simulators in comparison to PC simulation luminaries like iRacing, rFactor and NetKar Pro. But when I see Gran Turismo fans dismissing Forza Motorsport as an arcade racer while holding Gran Turismo up as a bastion of realism and simulation excellence, I’m truly baffled.

There are a lot of things I will give the Gran Turismo series credit for when it comes to its physics model. Gran Turismo 5 does a great job of communicating the feeling of weight transfer in vehicles and cars have an appropriately weighty feel about them but there are many areas of Gran Turismo’s physics model that, from what I’ve heard, haven’t been fixed in Gran Turismo 6.

For example, its tire physics are still lacking. Grip progression, the way tires lose grip gradually under stress just doesn’t exist in Gran Turismo. This leads to its simulation of tire mechanics and grip being more of a binary switch in that you either have grip or you don’t, which isn’t realistic at all.

GT6-Screenshot-02

The lacking tire physics contribute to another deficiency in Gran Turismo’s physics model in its near total inability to properly simulate torque steer. This is an easy problem to recreate for anyone with copies of Gran Turismo 5 and 6. Take a Ford Focus or one of many other FWD cars onto a level track and gun it from a standstill without touching the wheel.  In both of those games, the car will launch perfectly straight, with no effect of the torque on the steering wheel, which is wildly unrealistic. In real life (and Forza for that matter), the steering wheel will jerk to one side due to the torque generated at the front wheels.

But I understand that there are plenty of people who will disagree for whatever reason and I’ve seen solid arguments for both sides of the Forza versus Gran Turismo debate. This is just my opinion on the matter based on my experience with the series up to Gran Turismo 5. If this all turns out to be unfounded in relation to Gran Turismo 6, I’ll be sure to note as much in my upcoming review.

I have no doubt that Gran Turismo 6 will go on to sell millions, despite early reports that its opening weekend in the UK saw it move only a fifth of the amount of copies as its predecessor. Gran Turismo has long been a huge seller and a big name in the racing community and is one of the highest selling videogame franchises of all time. Its pedigree will continue to make it a high seller and it will sell, if nothing else, on name alone.

And that’s the problem.

2367570-2207001258-Gran-

I’ve seen Polyphony Digital referred to by its head, Kazunori Yamauchi, as “perfectionists” and much of the reviewing and gaming community has allowed to ride on that self-imposed reputation of assumed “perfectionism”.  In the PS2 era, I would’ve agreed with Gran Turismo fans that Polyphony Digital is comprised of exacting perfectionists, passionate both about cars and racing. But this generation, they’ve done nothing but half-ass the Gran Turismo series at nearly every turn. They seem to believe that simply throwing as many features as they can at us will make us overlook the inconsistent quality across the board. To me, this seems a pure marketing move on their part, to have more boxes to check on the back of the package, for its fanbase to hold up in its defense. Yes, Gran Turismo has rally racing, day and night cycles and variable weather but none of those are executed particularly well, save for the day and night cycles, which are absolutely stunning on the right tracks.

Content for content’s sake is not always a good thing. On one hand, we have around 400 vehicles that have seen slavish attention to detail in their recreation within Gran Turismo and on the other, we have a slew of more than eight hundred cars that have literally been pulled from Gran Turismo 4, a title from nearly a decade and an entire generation ago. In some respects, I understand that having the cars in the game may be better than not but given the gulf in quality between the “Standard” and “Premium” cars (which has admittedly been lessened in Gran Turismo 6), one has to imagine how a company that prides itself on a reputation for “perfectionism” could allow such a thing to be present in their game. A true perfectionist would not have the two tiers of quality. A true perfectionist would strive to ensure that every car has the same level of detail and attention put into it to keep a consistent standard of quality across its entire stable of vehicles.

Turn 10 is passionate about cars. They are the ones who take the time to meticulously model each and every one of their cars inside and out, rather than settling for 800+ slightly versions of cars from a nearly decade old game. They’re the ones who have taken the time to record proper engine and tire squeal sounds rather than relying on audio from the PS1 era. They’re the ones who realize that quality is more important than quantity, which is why all of Forza’s tracks are so beautifully detailed whereas many tracks in Gran Turismo seem so stale and bland by comparison.

It is Turn 10’s own standard of quality that resulted in Forza Motorsport 5 featuring literally half the cars and tracks as its predecessor. They saw that some tracks and cars were not up to the standard they wanted to deliver with the Xbox One launch title and cut them until they could bring them up to the new standard. Turn 10 realized that some of their real world circuits were inaccurately rendered in previous games and were forced to cut them because they simply didn’t have the time to laser scan them and add them to Forza Motorsport 5 in order for it to be ready for the Xbox One’s launch.

It may sound like I’m making excuses for Turn 10 and Forza Motorsport 5’s lack of content. I’m not. The game should’ve been delayed until all of the content was ready to go and it was rightfully penalized for lacking it by many reviewers.

But here’s the point. Turn 10 delivered a consistent level of quality throughout the game nonetheless. Forza Motorsport 5 lacks content, but what is there is apparently excellent. From the exacting detail in all of the game’s 200+ cars to the high level of detail and accuracy in the tracks, Turn 10 has chosen to put quality ahead of quantity, for better or worse. As I said, I wish this game had been delayed in order to incorporate more content but seeing that the passion for the series hasn’t waned is reassuring.

Kazunori Yamauchi, CEO of Polyphony Digital

This level of passion and attention to detail has been missing from Gran Turismo since Gran Turismo 4 on the PlayStation 2. For years, Polyphony Digital has been given a free pass for essentially sitting on their hands for an entire generation, content to just cram as much “stuff” into its games as possible rather than listen to its critics and attempt to address its flaws.

I’ll make no attempts to obfuscate the fact that Forza is my preferred racing simulator franchise on consoles but that, by no means, precludes Gran Turismo from ever taking that crown. We’ll see how Gran Turismo 6 does when I get it in the coming days but I will say that it will be hard pressed to beat Forza Motorsport 4 as my favorite racing game of all time.

As I said, my copy of Gran Turismo 6 is in the mail, on its way to my doorstep as I type this. I knew I’d eventually succumb to its Siren song eventually and since it was on sale, I figured I might as well give in sooner than later. I like the Gran Turismo series. I’ve liked it since my first taste in the form of Gran Turismo 3 and I’ve bought every entry since, including Gran Turismo 5: Prologue. But just because I like it, doesn’t mean I’m going to go easy on it. It does Polyphony Digital no favors for anyone to make excuses for them, especially with the inevitable Gran Turismo 7 on the horizon. I thought having a rival in Turn 10 and the Forza Motorsport series would’ve been enough to get them to bring it but I was wrong. The motivation is going to have to come from elsewhere. Whether it is through criticism from the fanbase or within, wherever it has to come from, it has to come from somewhere.

About Justin McBride

My name is Justin McBride and I’m a guy who enjoys writing, playing games and writing about playing games. Sound lame enough yet? Well, I have other interests as well such as hanging out with friends, watching TV, going to the movies from time to time, surfing the internet, listen to good music, drive at speeds I shouldn’t be driving at and so on. The problem is, that’s all stuff everyone likes to do, so why write about it? Oh wait, seems I just did. Oops.

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  • Kamille

    you don’t know what you’re talking about dude. GT series has always had the best physics ever. Don’t let yourself be deceived by the bitter PC elitists and their superiority complex. GT series is a game of more than 60 million dollars on budget. Meanwhile those PC sim racers are lucky if they have a 10 million budget and half the team of PD.

    GT6 is the first and only sim racer in the market right now with both, real-time suspension and tire physics and that’s exactly why I say that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    “in the wake of Forza 5, looks decidedly underwhelming. But then you reach the first corner and Polyphony’s reworked suspension physics reveals itself. No racing game has ever felt like this.” -Edge

    http://www.edge-online.com/review/gran-turismo-6-review/

    “Polyphony’s handling model on par with more serious-minded PC sims such as iRacing and rFactor.” -Eurogamer

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-12-06-gran-turismo-6-review

    “GT6’s handling is nearly flawless. The updates to the driving model seem subtle at first, but the little tweaks combine to make vast improvements. Cars spring to life, demanding precision and concentration from even the most experienced drivers. The changes to the physics are the claimed result of partnerships with several automotive parts makers, from aftermarket suspension companies to tire manufacturers. The suspension modeling is the most immediately noticeable change. You can feel the body roll and yaw as you change direction, making it natural and instinctive to correct tiny slides as you sense the car’s weight shifting, rather than relying on visual feedback.” -Gamespot

    http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/gran-turismo-6-review/1900-6415589/

    “GT6’s handling is spectacular” – IGN

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/12/06/gran-turismo-6-review

    Like seriously dude, don’t talk about stuff you don’t understand! Why people say that Forza is an arcade series? Because Forza has a degree of driving assist that can’t be turned off no matter what.

  • Please don’t try to lecture me on what I do and do not know about when it comes to racing sims and then show me a bunch of mainstream reviewers’ opinions on the racing sim genre.

    Did you know the Eurogamer reviewer admitted that Forza 5 controls more realistically on a controller and that he hadn’t played Forza 5 with a wheel to compare it to Gran Turismo 6? He did. Check the comments section of the Gran Turismo 6 review if you don’t believe me. Logic would dictate that if Forza 5 controls more realistically on a controller, that would translate to a wheel.

    I haven’t been “deceived” by bitter PC elitists. I’ve played PC racing sims and I’ve played Gran Turismo and I have no problem saying PC racing sims are on a level that Polyphony Digital hasn’t reached. Hell, I’d say they haven’t reached the level Turn 10 has with Forza and even then I wouldn’t say Forza’s on the same level as PC sims.

    And clearly you did not read my article if you’re still going along with the “Forza has a hidden assist” nonsense. Forza Motorsport 3 had a hidden driving assist. Forza 4 and onward have made it optional. Forza Motorsport is not an arcade series. It has always been about simulation and in that regard, Forza 4 lapped Gran Turismo 5 out of the gate. Gran Turismo 6? Well, we’ll see. I’m playing that now.

  • Adam Savage

    This article is poo poo.

  • dark-kyon

    gran turismo is a flawed game,decent racing game,but is a oustanding driving simulator.obviusly the arcade and casual gamers gonna pass of them for not have next gen graphics but the true grand turismo fans what play with his g27,driving force gt gonna love the game.

  • Eagles83

    I agree with the content of this article. I played the PS2 era GT games and was fond of them but all of them that have released on the PS3 have been disappointing considering how long it took for them to be released. If GT5 had been phenomenal then I wouldn’t have had anything negative to say but that is not the case.

    GT doesn’t even have car damage in place so you can ramp off the walls at full speed and other cars without penalty. Forza has long since surpassed this series on consoles. The PC has much better sims than the consoles but they don’t get much attention since the sales volume isn’t in the same league as the console games.

  • Eagles83

    Best physics ever………….not so much. You sound like you haven’t played any of the PC simulations and are therefore unable to judge. You can play the PC simulation without being an elitist btw. Also Forza has actual damage modeling systems and have for multiple games now. Crashing and running into opponents actually matter and can affect your car’s performance. Just be honest and admit that GT has stagnated and rested on its laurels. I’m not saying it is a bad game but by no means is it impressive that the only thing they have achieved is slightly better suspension physics.

  • Escopablobar

    Your entire argument became petty once you started drawing the meaningless comparisons to Forza. Hold on…Disclaimer: I didn’t read beyond the 2nd paragraph and I don’t intend to read any further. It appears as if you take umbrage to the elitist stance GT enthusiasts hold over Forza’s simulation credentials. Why is that?
    I came here hoping to find an interesting, unbiased read on Polyphony’s inability to innovate and how they are indeed mired in stagnation and a fruitless pursuit of perfection which has stymied their creativity. You see, I agree with the title of this opinion piece but your execution is a bit lacking. Maybe you did address some or all of these things further in the text but I lost interest once I realized it was probably some kind of fan boy/man rant.

  • Why did I make a comparison to Forza? Because Forza is Gran Turismo’s biggest competition and Turn 10, Polyphony Digital’s biggest rival. If you had actually bothered to read the article beyond the second paragraph, you might have noticed that I made numerous arguments as to why Gran Turismo’s innovation has been stifled (IE cramming in content for content’s sake, among others) and contrasting that against Forza’s steadfast adherence to quality over quantity.

    I did not make such a comparison idly and merely dismissing my article as some fanboy rant without reading it is remiss on your part.

  • brianc6234

    What kind of crappy site is this? I never heard of you idiots but you can bet I won’t be back. I don’t waste my time on sites that write nonsense like this.

  • Well thank you for taking the time to write this comment about how you don’t waste your time on sites that write nonsense like this. I very much appreciate you taking the time to give me your feedback.

  • Escopablobar

    “Gran Turismo, a household name, a name held by many as the king of racing franchises has seen its crown snatched from it by an upstart in Turn 10.”

    “One argument I see hurled around far too often in Gran Turismo’s defense is that Gran Turismo is all about exacting simulation of the subtleties of driving, something Forza Motorsport can’t match because it’s “arcadey”. Nonsense.”

    “Gran Turismo fans, please stop trying to perpetuate this myth. Forza Motorsport is not at all arcadey. It never has been.”

    Again, the introduction shows bias and I have no interest in reading another “mine is bigger and better than yours” or “don’t you dare tell me yours is bigger or better than mine” piece. Maybe the unnecessary comparisons were nothing more than an aside but you should save those for later.

    I really agree with what you may or may not have said. Polyphony have lost focus and their games are nothing more than quantity over quality. Forza looks good and plays well with a way shorter dev cycle than GT. What excuse does Polyphony have? Perfection? No. More like pedantic and inept.

  • J.j. Barrington

    You made a comparison to Forza because you’re a fan of the franchise, and NEEDED that comparison to try and make GT look bad.

    When you can take a stock car of any make or model and run an exact duplicate time on a real life track in Forza, THEN you can claim it has some superiority in the simulation department.

    When real race drivers practice on Forza to get ready for a race or just keep themselves a little sharp, THEN you can say Forza’s claimed superiority.

    When Forza take ordinary gamers and makes them into real race drivers, THEN you can say Forza is superior.

    When Forza dumps its baked lighting so it can include time changes(that affect track visibility) and weather changes(that affect how you approach driving PERIOD) and maintain higher graphical fidelity than GT, THEN you can praise it for being superior.

    Until then, you just come off as a fanboy using incredibly weak arguments to fuel your agenda.

    Does GT have the best physics of any sim? No, but it outdoes everything else on consoles.

    Quality over quantity doesn’t explain the crowds in Forza. It doesn’t explain the game’s economy being altered to promote microtransactions. It doesn’t explain why this game that’s been in development since before Forza 4 launched still doesn’t have the Nurburgring. Forza 4 did not “lap” GT in anything but prettiness: its physics weren’t on par, the number of tracks wasn’t up to snuff; in anything but looks- and there only in Autovista mode and the tracks themselves- it was inferior.

    That dedication to good looks has continued on into the next gen. And you, not much of a stealth fanboy following the release of this article, have followed your preferred franchise.

    It’s great if Forza is more “realistic” with a controller, but guess what: these are SIMS. And a SIM is best experienced with a wheel. And there’s nobody in this world who is not a Forza fanboy but also honestly believes that Forza is a better SIM than Gran Turismo.

    Just stop. All you’ve done is write an eloquently put fanboy rant. Nothing more.

  • Daniel Dorestant

    Are you here in the US Mr. McBride? Because thats the only way you would even begin to think Forza snatched GT’s crown…

    What are the requirements that Forza had to meet to snatch the Crown?
    Sales?
    Gran Turismo 5 PROLOGUE outsold Forza 2
    Gran Turismo 5 outsold Forza 3 and Forza 4 combined
    Grand Turismo 6 is already outselling the latest Forza

    To say they have fallen from Grace based on your personal preference toward Forza is quite ridiculous in my opinion…

    If you have anything to add I’m all ears(eyes)

  • J.j. Barrington

    That’s being too kind.

  • J.j. Barrington

    No, logic would not dictate that more realistic handling with a controller translates into even more realistic handling with a wheel. Programming for the two input types is very different, as controller input doesn’t even begin to scale up to a wheel, or vice versa.

    Be real, man.

  • I made the comparison with Forza because it is largely considered the Xbox’s answer to Gran Turismo.

    Race Drivers have used Forza in the past and have claimed it’s an excellent training tool. F1 racer Stephane Sarrazin raced the same Peugeot 908 in real life and in Forza and was able to set times that were 2 tenths of a second apart on Le Mans.

    A test was run, comparing Forza 4’s version of the Hockenheimring Short Circuit with the real thing, comparing fastest laps in the same cars in both real life and in the game. Forza 4 was found to be quite accurate.

    http://fastestlaps.com/articles/real_life_vs_forza_motorsport_4.html

    The Xbox One racing team both used Forza 5’s version of Bathurst to practice and aided in testing its accuracy.

    And before you start screaming claims of bias, here’s another one, from way back in Forza 2. The Risi Competizione team used Forza 2 to practice on Sebring (Forza 2 being one of the first games to feature the track at the time) before their race…which they won.

    http://www.ign.com/boards/threads/forza-motorsport-2-triumphs-at-the-12-hours-of-sebring.138843552/

    If Microsoft sponsored a contest similar to GT Academy, they could groom an “ordinary gamer” into a professional driver as well, because Forza, as it is now, is an excellent simulator.

    And dude, if you’re going to bash Forza’s economy for pushing players toward microtransactions, you should make sure the game you’re defending doesn’t have them either. Gran Turismo 6’s economy is worse than Gran Turismo 5’s ended up being, except it now has microtransactions to supplement the grind. Say what you will about Turn 10. At least they’re trying to fix the problem.

    And my argument in regards to quality is more geared toward the quality of the cars and the fact that they all feature fully detailed interiors and you’ll find none of them that have jagged outlines for window and door frames, like those that still exist in Gran Turismo.

    I like how you’re calling me out for being a Forza fanboy and then you make some outlandish claim that no one can possibly think Forza is a better simulator without also being a Forza fanboy. Are you really that insecure that you can’t handle the idea that people honestly think Forza is a better simulator (and they do. Go check GTPlanet’s forums for proof about that.) And before you say “but you’re doing the same thing!” No, I’m not. Gran Turismo fans like to make up lies about Forza, like those about hidden assists that don’t exist outside of Forza 3, and saying it’s an arcade racer when it clearly isn’t. Yeah, I give Gran Turismo a hard time. But at least I can back up everything I say.

  • I’m talking about critical acclaim. Gran Turismo sells well on its name and its pedigree.

    Not one Gran Turismo game this generation has come close to matching Forza Motorsport in the same period.

  • The input will change, but the simulation will remain the same. Handling dynamics do not change radically between the two input methods because you’re still controlling the same physics simulation.

    And before you ask, yes, I’ve played both of them with a wheel and a controller.

  • Daniel Dorestant

    Literally Every sequel in the universe can attribute some of its sales to it’s name and pedigree.. Unless you survey all 15 – 17million ppl that purchased GT in the 7th generation and prove why ppl bought the game, you cant make that claim. How can you speak for those ppl? And why cant the same go for Forza?

    “Not one gran turismo game has cone close to matching forza this gen” Matching Forza in what? Every GT has been more successful

  • “I’m talking about critical acclaim”

    I’ve said it twice now.

  • Daniel Dorestant

    Ok fair enough, I’m guessing you gauge that with metascore?
    Since thats a culmination of most critics reviews, if I’m not mistaken…
    To that I say, how can “grace” be measured only by a handful of personal opinions(reviews)? Even if hundreds of “critics” put a lower score on their personal experience with GT, millions more voted which game they preferred with their wallets.

    Does that not count for anything? Along with reviews, Sales have to be considered if you’re calling into question a video game developers “Fall from Grace” especially if you’re gonna attempt to hand its throne to its competition

    Also you ignored two of the questions in my previous comment…

    How can you speak for the ppl that bought the game, when it comes to why they bought the game?

    How come the same “name and pedigree” arguement can’t be made for Forza sales?

  • Guest

    GT Academy says Hi.

  • Joe

    “Please don’t try to lecture me on what I do and do not know about when it comes to racing sims and then show me a bunch of mainstream reviewers’ opinions on the racing sim genre.”

    “Everything written from here on is based on the impression I have gotten from reviewers and people who have played the game.”

    Based this excerpt and your reply to Daniel above where you cite critical acclaim as your marker for success, isn’t your whole article based on the opinions of a bunch of mainstream reviewers’ opinions on the racing sim genre?

  • Umm…no? My article is about how Polyphony Digital and Gran Turismo have lost their way.

  • Joe

    …based on the opinions of a bunch of mainstream reviewers.

  • Based on what I’ve seen and played of the franchise. I don’t mention reviews once in the entire article.

  • Joe

    “Disclaimer: As of this writing, I have not played Gran Turismo 6 but I did order it a couple of days ago and it’s on the way. Everything written from here on is based on the impression I have gotten from reviewers and people who have played the game. So, grain of salt and all that.”

  • Everything written about *Gran Turismo 6*, which I didn’t want to make any concrete claims about since I hadn’t yet played it. Everything else, my thoughts on the series’ direction and how the series has panned out this generation is based on my own personal opinion, based on what I’ve played. I thought I’d made that clear but I guess I didn’t.

  • Daniel Dorestant

    Until you answer my questions this article boils down to
    “I like Forza better, so I’m gonna make GT look bad”

    You even go as far as titling the article “Polyphony Digital and Gran Turismo’s Fall From Grace” as if its already widely agreed upon in the industry, or by its fans, that they have lost their way… In fact not even the “critics” you refer to make those claims.

    Not to mention at the time of writing, you hadn’t even played the latest installment in the series..

    If you titled this article “Why I think Polyphony lost their way” or something to emphasize that this is your isolated opinion I would have no problem. But as it stands you try to make it seem like Gran Turismo has gone the way of Sonic the hedgehog games…
    And thats simply NOT true

  • Guest

    Dude.. You’re fucking retarded

  • Guest

    Forza Motorsport has been better than $0N¥’s pauper offering since nearly forever. Poor $0N¥ paupers just can’t accept the truth about their PauperStation’s poor games.

  • Guest

    You’re PAUPER!

  • Guest

    And you’re just another blind $0N¥ pauper following a rotten to the core company to their doom.

  • Guest

    GT6 contains PS2 era cars with nearly no updates, that’s how poor GT has become. A real pauper’s franchise.

  • J.j. Barrington

    The handling MODEL doesn’t change. But the interface most definitely changes from one input format to the next.

    Think of the input methods for an FPS: analog sticks, kb/m, and light gun/motion controls.

    The first doesn’t accurately simulate what it’s like to shoot a gun: feedback is minimal, and the physical motions you make are nothing like the real thing. Analog sticks require more skill than keyboard and mouse, but fixing a target in your crosshairs takes more time, enough that confrontations between players using the two input styles would usually have the kb/m player winning, more often than not.

    Keyboard and mouse input is faster and more precise than analog sticks. But they require less skill, and have no sort of force feedback. In all honesty, if you’re fairly good with this input, you can likely beat players using the other input styles on a regular basis.

    Lastly there’s light guns or motion controlled inputs like the Move. Right off the bat, holding a gun simulates… holding a gun. That’s already a huge advantage. The heft and weight are likely to be less than a real gun, but this input format still offers the best feedback. It requires the actual skill of being able to aim down the sights and visually acquire targets(not necessarily in that order), and advanced models even have you compensating for recoil. If we’re talking simulating the real thing, this is as close as it gets without actually picking up a real firearm.

    Designing a game for realism using primarily analog sticks means it’s not likely to transfer well to kb/m or light/motion guns. Likewise, a game designed around a more realistic input will lose something when translated to other input modes.

    GT is designed around wheel use. Analog isn’t bad, but the wheel is where the game shines. Forza is the other way around, so it’s not all that surprising if it feels to some like it’s more realistic with analog sticks(or a controller, anyway) than GT.

  • J.j. Barrington

    “Race Drivers have used Forza in the past and have claimed it’s an excellent training tool.”

    Great, but have they claimed it was better? Even then, I’m pretty sure more drivers have used GT for this than Forza.

    “The Xbox One racing team both used Forza 5’s version of Bathurst to practice and aided in testing its accuracy… before you start screaming claims of bias…”

    I won’t SCREAM it, but it’s not exactly like they were gonna get caught using GT, now, were they? And Forza 2? Never touched it. But if it was worse than Forza 3 in terms of realism and physics, then I doubt it honestly had much to do with their win.

    “If Microsoft sponsored a contest similar to GT Academy…”

    Then why don’t they?

    “Gran Turismo 6’s economy is worse than Gran Turismo 5’s ended up being, except it now has microtransactions to supplement the grind.”

    Funny, because most reviewers have said it’s largely unchanged, if they’ve mentioned it at all.

    “…they all feature fully detailed interiors…”

    Well, yes. 200 cars, most of them rather recent, and none of them pure design exercises- like at least 30 of the cars in GT- is a lot easier to implement interiors for than 1200. But what do I know? I hate math.

    How do you make your game a better simulator when all it simulates is a little over a dozen tracks in perfect conditions? When the head of your studio says “We just don’t see Forza as a hardcore narrowly focused simulation racer?” Let’s face it: you’re not gonna be a better sim if you’re not aiming to be the best sim. GT does that; Forza does not.

    Hell, this interview with Dan is telling of why Forza lacks what GT has, what they think is important, and how things that are pretty big to sim fans are just “minor” to him and Turn 10 http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=604301

    From Greenwalt’s own mouth, ” If you’re asking will we ever make a hardcore simulation racer, the answer is no.”

    Greenwalt and Turn 10 started this rivalry with GT, but they’ve mostly run their mouths and made a pretty product. Who among them drives for a pro team that’s pretty damn good? Where are the concept cars exclusive to their franchise? Hell, where are the ones made SPECIFICALLY for their game?

    I’m not saying Forza’s a bad game or franchise. But as a sim, in comparison with GT, it falls short.

  • J.j. Barrington

    The funny thing about “critical acclaim” is how there are no standards, and how they can be hypocritically critical.

    How many reviewers complained about GT not having the custom livery features of Forza? How many of those same reviewers complained about Forza not having the condition options(night time, weather, endurance, rally) of GT?

    By and large, Forza has gotten a pass at every opportunity, while GT has been criticized for not being Forza. Remember when GT load times were intentionally exaggerated and reported on by gaming media?

    Do you READ the reviews, or do you just look at the numbers? For both GT5 and GT6, there were plenty of reviews that were questionable, at best. I recall one where they had a chick not fond of racing games at all be the one to do the review, and another by an avowed Xbox fan. Who does that? Complaining about menus that really were never that difficult to navigate. Having people that were die-hard fans of other consoles or franchises do the reviews.

    Makes as much sense as Polygon having Arthur Gies review Killzone: Shadow Fall… he HATES Killzone, and it’s no secret. And metacritic’s- and reviewers, in general- credibility is further damaged when they include sites like quartertothree(if you don’t know anything about them- though I bet you do- just look them up).

    No, saying “critical acclaim” doesn’t mean a whole lot, unless the critics are credible. As a fan of real racing- I’ll watch anything race if it’s got wheels, and have been doing so for 25 years- it’s not that hard for me to tell who knows what the hell they’re talking about when they’re talking cars.

    Here’s a review from somebody who knows cars:
    http://www.gamesradar.com/gran-turismo-6-review/

    Oh, and speaking of reviews:

    http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-3/gran-turismo-6

    http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-one/forza-motorsport-5

    An 81 versus an 80, with one more review for GT than Forza. 54 positive for GT with 48 positive for Forza. User score ridiculously heavy in GT’s favor, but I imagine there are a lot of trolls on both sides, so that can be tossed out.

    Actually, that’s all that needs to be said, if you’re talking about critics.

  • J.j. Barrington

    One more thing about the microtransactions(so you don’t think I was just making it up):

    http://www.thesixthaxis.com/2013/12/10/gran-turismo-6-review/

    “There’s a distinct and noticeable drop in the number of cars awarded for victories, between GT5 and GT6. Over the course of the career, you’ll unlock somewhere in the region of 30 cars, compared to several times that before.

    Though they are much more relevant to upcoming races, it does make your purchases seem so much more important, and your money more precious. It’s easy to cynically assume that this is to gouge real money from players, via the so-called micro-transactions.

    However, when major cars like the LMP1 cars have been reduced from 4 million credits to less than half that, plenty others have also had their prices re-balanced, and trophies for collecting cars have been drastically reduced, I would say that this is far too simplistic an argument.

    There will additionally be plenty of free cars via the Vision GT initiative, with the exceedingly useful Mercedes-Benz just handed over for nothing, and plenty of opportunities to earn cash without it feeling like a grind.”

    I’m certain you can find your own sources beyond that for disputing what you believe to be the same application of microtransactions in each game.

  • Race drivers who have used Forza say it’s an excellent approximation of racing. They’re not going to mention Gran Turismo just to appease some petty squabblers. And it’s not like Racing drivers are falling over themselves to say Gran Turismo is better than Forza either. At least none that aren’t on Polyphony’s payroll.

    And yeah, Microsoft should sponsor a similar contest in Forza in my opinion but that runs the risk of being criticized for being a “me too” sort of endeavor, seeing as Gran Turismo has already done it. My point is that GT fanboys should stop using that as some sort of bullet point in their favor. Professional, semi-pro and amateur racers play simulation racers all the time. Gran Turismo was just in the right place with the right venue to give some of them a shot at the big time.

    The writing’s on the wall in regard to Gran Turismo’s microtransactions. Gran Turismo 5’s grind was initially terrible but was made better by the seasonal events that had huge payouts in the hundreds of thousands of credits. Now with Gran Turismo 6, those big paying events are gone and we’re back to where we started, only this time the grind is even worse because, instead of fixing it, they simply added microtransactions on top of the grind, which is poor taste any way you slice it.

    And I’m not redeeming Turn 10 either. They messed up with Forza 5’s economy but as I said, at least they’re taking steps to fix it. Meanwhile, Polyphony Digital has been silent about their plans.

    And dude, Forza 4 had over 650 cars after DLC and launched with more than 500, all featuring fully detailed interiors and none of which had jagged outlines for door and window frames and wheel wells like Gran Turismo’s standard cars. Turn 10 emphasized quality over quantity and built every car from the ground up rather than merely porting 800+ cars from the Playstation 2 games and giving them blacked out “interiors”. That’s content for content’s sake and half-assed content at best.

    And also, you must have missed this other thing Greenawalt said.

    “We see Forza as being the master of everything offered by any simulation car game available anywhere, whether on a console or PC. Forza stands alone in our opinion because it offers so much more at such a higher level than anything else out there.”

    And there’s nothing wrong with him saying Forza will never be a “hardcore” simulator. If you think for even a second that Gran Turismo is a “hardcore” simulator, you have no idea what a hardcore simulator is. A hardcore simulator is something like iRacing, which enforces real racing rules and penalties, which tunes the physics for each and every car individually, which has a far deeper tuning and upgrade system than you’d know what to do with.

    Forza is not a hardcore simulator and neither is Gran Turismo. Not even close. They’re simulators for the mainstream. Both of them. The only game that comes close on consoles is Race Pro for the 360, made by SimBin, one of the leaders in the PC sim genre.

    Yeah, Kazunori Yamauchi races professionally. Good for him. The fact that Turn 10 doesn’t have those same aspirations does not mean they are the inferior studio or that they have the inferior product. Not one bit. And neither does the lack of concept cars made specifically for their games. Microsoft isn’t shopping Turn 10 around in that fashion. I wish they would (at least then the concept cars would have an interior) but they don’t. That has no bearing on Forza’s simulation chops.

    Greenawalt and Turn 10 have backed up every word they’ve said by being the best rated racing franchise of the previous generation and even though you don’t want to accept it, the best simulator on a console. Period. Go to GTPlanet if you don’t believe me and dive into one of the many threads comparing Gran Turismo and Forza’s physics. On GTPlanet of all places. There are drivers in there who race semi-professionally who agree Forza is better. Every thread I’ve been in, the consensus is that Forza is better. It’s the better simulator.

  • Forza 5 was rightfully dinged by critics for not including the same breadth of content Forza 4 had.

    I like how you didn’t bring up Forza 4, with its 91 metascore and instead went straight to Forza 5 to prove a point. Good. Gran Turismo 6 has managed to eclipse the worst rated entry in the franchise. Congratulations. Call me when it gets in striking distance of its last gen competition.

    I’ve seen plenty of critics bash Forza 4 specifically for not including night racing and weather changes, and many more making the same complaints about Forza 5. I’ve also seen many, many more critics bashing Gran Turismo for its lack of a proper damage model. In 2013. Something Forza Motorsport has been doing since the outset and Polyphony Digital refuses to include.

    Frankly, I don’t think critics have taken to bashing Forza as heavily for not having night and weather and rally for one simple reason. While night looks freaking gorgeous in Gran Turismo, Neither weather nor rally are implemented particularly well. In fact, I’ve heard Gran Turismo 6’s weather is actually a step backward compared to Gran Turismo 5’s.

    I’d rather a racing simulator do a few things incredibly well than a bunch of things poorly. That’s what Forza is praised so highly for. It may not have everything and the kitchen sink, but what it does have is honed to an impeccable sheen.

  • From the looks of things, you’ve already decided that “I like Forza better, so I’m gonna make GT look bad” is all you’re going to take from this article.

    At one point, the Gran Turismo franchise was practically unimpeachable. From the Playstation through the Playstation 2 era, it was the be all and end all in terms of console racing simulators.

    And then Forza came along. It made a bit of a dent at the end of the Xbox’s life but really came into its own during the Xbox 360’s tenure. Meanwhile, Polyphony Digital has never reached the same heights again. Sure, their sales have remained dominant, but again, it’s the same deal with Call of Duty and Halo and Madden and FIFA. A big reason why it sells as well as it does is because it’s called Gran Turismo.

    I’m not saying Gran Turismo is bad or that its quality doesn’t have anything to do with its sales either, so don’t jump down my throat for that either. And yes, Forza’s name does contribute to its sales, but I’d hardly say it’s as recognizable a name as Gran Turismo so it’s not as big of a factor.

    The title is the title. You got here from N4G, right? Did you notice it was submitted as an “opinion piece” and that this article was categorized on this site as an “Editorial”? Obviously this is my opinion. I never said it was anything more. Saying “Why I Think” would’ve been redundant as that’s implied by the type of article it is.

  • Daniel Dorestant

    The reason I took that from this article is because you talk about Turn 10 and Forza alnost more than Polyphony and GT in an article thats supposedly about GT… Which again takes me back to the title. This is more of an article explaining why you think Forza is better than anything else… I’m still hung up on the fact that you can equate your one opinion of the series to a “fall from Grace”

    Saying Polyphony has never reached those heights again is your opinion, which I’m not arguing… But I will say in my opinion, Forza has never reached those heights… And since you don’t give any reasons as to why “they never reached those heights again” I won’t give any either, thats a whole seperate debate

    And with each newer Forza the sales decrease, so how can you know if those arent just fans returning for the name? Theres absolutely no way for any of us to gauge the degree of which the name is selling the game… We cant use any of that to debate if Forza has snatched GT’s crown… All we can use are facts, and the fact is GT is still more successful than Forza

    If nba analysts(reviewers) say the Indiana Pacers(Forza) look better than the Miami Heat(GT) that does not mean the Heat are not the defending champions until they’re defeated… Forza has not defeated GT

    But yes you’re right its your opinion, I just think you could’ve expressed it in a less biased way

  • See, now I can tell that you didn’t read my article, or if you did, you merely skimmed it, as I gave plenty of reasons why I believe Gran Turismo has not reached the same heights its predecessors did.

    “They seem to believe that simply throwing as many features as they can at us will make us overlook the inconsistent quality across the board.”

    “Content for content’s sake is not always a good thing. On one hand, we have around 400 vehicles that have seen slavish attention to detail in their recreation within Gran Turismo and on the other, we have a slew of more than eight hundred cars that have literally been pulled from Gran Turismo 4, a title from nearly a decade and an entire generation ago.”

    “This level of passion and attention to detail has been missing from Gran Turismo since Gran Turismo 4 on the PlayStation 2. For years, Polyphony Digital has been given a free pass for essentially sitting on their hands for an entire generation, content to just cram as much “stuff” into its games as possible rather than listen to its critics and attempt to address its flaws.”

    My argument is that the series has stagnated due to a focus on content for content’s sake. Gran Turismo attempts to be a jack of all trades and because of it, is a master of none.

    The only area Forza hasn’t beaten Gran Turismo is sales and name recognition. As I already said, Forza has beaten Gran Turismo in terms of critical favor and while I usually hate mentioning user scores due to the number of trolls who skew the scores one way or another but Forza Motorsport 4 is sitting on an 8.1 user score and Gran Turismo 5 and 6 are both at a 7.5. So there’s that too.

    Yes, Forza Motorsport 5 marked a low point for the franchise and I’m sure that was due to Microsoft pressure to rush the game to make the Xbox One launch (as without it its launch lineup is pretty poor) but when we compare the critical heights of Forza 2, 3 and 4 to Gran Turismo 5 and 6, the winner is clear.

  • Daniel Dorestant

    Fair… You did give reasons…You got me there… I may not agree with your reasons but hey to each his own…

    As far as critical favor, metascores don’t hold much weight in my opinion…
    They only represent a small portion of the overall gamers that play these games.
    And critics are gamers just like the rest of us… There’s no professional way to Play a game… Which is I hate review scores in general… But once again I digress

    But anyway for you to say, Forza hasnt beaten GT in sales or recognition is pretty much saying it has not taken GT’s crown… Once again for it to beat GT it has to beat GT at everything, and alot of things you mention are opinions, which could go either way, The commercial success is fact

    So in summary my whole gripe is You and many others might think Forza is a better game which is fine… But your opinions don’t equate to an overall fall from Grace…

    There is nothing to support that claim

  • “But your opinions don’t equate to an overall fall from Grace…”

    That’s why this is an editorial. I’m not writing a fully researched dissertation. It’s my opinion and I’ve provided reasons to support my opinion. If you disagree, fine.

    “There is nothing to support that claim”

    Just because you don’t want to accept critical acclaim as a measure of success or support for my claim doesn’t make it any less relevant. I’ll agree that reviews are all subjective and yes, sales are an objective measurement but not one of quality. I couldn’t care less about sales when games like Call of Duty top the sales charts for recycling what is largely the same game each go-around. I care about having the superior product. And by just about every measure, the Forza series has been the superior product as of late.

  • J.j. Barrington

    … I went to Forza 5 because it’s the newest Forza.

    It’s funny what you say you’ve seen, since you don’t seem to recall the seemingly concerted effort to blast GT for not being Forza. GT5 was superior in every way to Forza… except for the custom livery. Better cars, better tracks, better physics, more overall features. A better racing experience in every way, and yet downgraded for “confusing menus” and not enough paint customization.

    Guess I should have brought up GT1 or GT3, though, since all that matters is the high score…

    All that Forza seems to HAVE is that impeccable sheen. And it’s tarnished in places, like the shortcuts taken with the crowds and reflections.

    Again, Forza is a good game, but it’s not as good a simulator as GT. Never has been.

  • Daniel Dorestant

    I just want to make it clear I’m not defending GT here, I’ve played it, and I’ve also played Forza, two good games.

    The reason I say theres nothing to support the claim is because not one critic has even begun to imply that GT has lost its way…

    All sales are not a representation of quality, but its not a small number either… For exanple you purchased Forza because you believe its a superior game, right?

    COD is popular to hate but its a quality shooter that adds New features with every release, be it very snall additions…

    As you pointed the only objective barometer is sales… And I’m not saying to forget acclaim and only look at sales… What I am saying is Forza has to completely outdo GT in all categories to be the console King of Racing Sims. Especially if its only winning in a subjective category.

    I think thats all I have to say about the subject lol

  • What?

    GT5 was absolutely not superior to Forza 4 in every way. Yes, it had more tracks and more accurate tracks but the critical consensus is that Forza 4 was the better sim on the track. Check GTPlanet.

    Oh, and these folks.

    Digital Trends compared cars they’d actually driven to their Forza and Gran Turismo counterparts

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/driving-sim-showdown-real-cars-vs-their-in-game-counterparts/

    “Yet, in the end, the Spec 2.0 version of Gran Turismo 5 felt a little stale in the end. We booted up both cars in the games on the same HD screen, with the same surround-sound system, and Forza 4 seemed to nail one aspect that was missing from GT5: the fun factor. This is more of an authenticity issue than you might think. The SLS in Forza just felt like it was faster, hungrier, and more fun to drive. Both games mimicked the car accurately. If we had to pick one game that delivered the thrill of driving the real $200,000 supercar, it would be Forza 4.”

    Forza 4 had a better organized and much faster interface, a livery editor, a public auction house and storefront, better tuning and upgrade options, a better career mode, far superior online multiplayer and features, a good damage model, better, more consistent visuals, no screen-tearing or frame drops and a better selection of cars.

    Yes, Gran Turismo has more cars. Forza has a better variety of cars including more Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches (DLC, yep, but Forza has the option), Aston-Martins, Mercedes-Benzes, Bugattis and many others. Gran Turismo’s car count was inflated by something like 40 Skylines, 30 Honda Civics, 20 Lancer Evolutions and garbage like the Daihatsu Midget that no one wants to drive. Not to mention more up to date versions of many cars like the Ford Mustang and Camaro ZL1.

    Better in every way. Please.

    Forza is more consistent than Gran Turismo across the board. It doesn’t throw the kitchen sink in but it does what it does better than Gran Turismo. Forza 5 was a step back but on last gen consoles, Gran Turismo can’t even keep up with Forza 4.

  • J.j. Barrington

    “Now with Gran Turismo 6, those big paying events are gone…”

    Bullshit. And I’m done. You just spent so much time talking about what GT fans say is in Forza but isn’t(the always-on assists I STILL felt in Forza 4, though you say they weren’t there), and then you turn around and say say something that IS in GT is no longer there.

    Greenwalt and Turn 10 are the recipients of what can be considered a smear campaign against Sony this past generation. Never before in gaming has there been such an effort(concerted or not, it was quite widespread) to smear one company. From prior to the PS3’s launch to this day, the PlayStation division has been subject to irrational vitriol from the gaming industry. This includes supposedly unbiased sites like Polygon that nonetheless rate PlayStation games lower than average, particularly when there was an Xbox game coming out around the same time.

    But I imagine you saw none of that.

    I also imagine nobody on a forum can be a troll, a fanboy for the competition. That NEVER happens, so it’s obvious that the people promoting Forza on GTPlanet can only be telling the truth. Nobody’s ever heard of a shill or anything before. There’s no history of such things happening even on the previously referenced Neogaf.

    Yes, that can go both ways, but one company has a bigger history of doing so than the other.

    Not that that matters, though. To you, Forza was superior before GT even released. The fact that, in the interview I linked to, Greenwalt admits the game probably isn’t up to hardcore racer’s tastes means nothing; that the things he calls “minor” are things that are important, and are present in Gran Turismo- which you admit is its largest competitor- and enhance that game’s simulator aspect significantly.

    Why would Forza not get bashed because for not having weather or night racing because it’s not perfect in GT? It should still be there. I seem to recall that it was omitted from Forza 4 because of the limitations of the 360; now that that’s gone, what excuse is there?

    650 cars after DLC for Forza 4. Wonderful. You might have had an argument with the rest of that paragraph if all those cars drove exactly the same. Alas, they drive differently, despite not being graphically up to par with other models(I won’t even get into how there weren’t 800 games on the PS2 versions of GT; you can keep that bit of misinformation).

    But, as I said before, I’m done. There’s nothing like a fanboy calling others out for being a fanboy; I can’t debate reasonably with someone who’s that entrenched in their own mindset.

    And you might as well be on the front lines of the Great War.

  • J.j. Barrington

    He won’t hear you.