Say what you like about my driving skills, I love myself a good game of Forza. Forza started life back in 2005 with Forza Motorsport for OG Xbox, receiving universal acclaim upon release for its realism, visuals and fluidity. Since then, new Forza Motorsport games have been released two years apart, leaving us with the latest 2017 entry, Forza Motorsport 7. Each and every Forza Motorsport game has typically gone down well with critics and fans alike, though despite this acclaim, the formula is beginning to wear a little thin.
Our very own Joe Pepek gave Forza Motorsport 7 a decent score, but opined that the game felt more like an expansion to Forza Motorsport 6 than a brand new entry. This isn’t an isolated concern, in fact many others share that same feedback. It’s hard not to feel the repetition when you take into account that these games release in rapid succession, with the devs only having two years between each new addition. Call of Duty suffered from a similar format a number of years ago before Activision made some internal changes.
Much like Forza, Call of Duty sees a new game releasing annually. Though, understandably, fans and critics eventually began to argue that there wasn’t much in the way of change per-release, save a new campaign, new multiplayer maps and a few tweaks here and there. The problem with this was that only two studios were working on the franchise, Treyarch and Infinity Ward, giving them just two years of development time to ensure that there was always a new release come the back end of each passing year.
Eventually, Activision extended the development time to three years, throwing in another studio by the name of Sledgehammer Games. Each studio works in-turn by release. This year Treyarch will release Black Ops IIII before working on whatever comes next from them in 2021, while the alternating studios will fill the gaps between and so on and so forth. That extra year of development went a long way, enabling the studios to implement much more content and polish. Which is something, I firmly believe, Forza could very well do with.
You see, up until Forza Motorsport 5, Forza games only released two years apart. Now, however, we see annual releases in the series. Following on from Forza Motorsport 4 came Forza Horizon, an open-world arcade-like racer. Turn 10 Studios continues to handle the Motorsport series, whereas PlayGround Games head up the Horizon series, with Forza Horizon 4 expected to arrive at the end of this year – set within the lush country of England and hitting with some impressive features, such as the season feature.
There’s a massive distinction between Motorsport and Horizon, being that the former is more sim-based and the latter is more, as alluded to above, arcade-based. This helps to break up the pace and foundation of the annual Forza releases, but I think it’s time to see something new thrown into the mix to further maintain that diversity. Sure, it would be a risky move when we take into account that many might not be too happy waiting three years between the release of their favored Forza game, but this can easily be alleviated.
Stronger and lengthier post-launch support for each title via regular DLC and some sizable expansions would certainly help to tie fans over. The big question, however, is what would work as another spin-off next to Horizon? I think something between Horizon and Motorsport would be a good fit, with some story elements thrown in to give it more distinction. EA’s Need for Speed series has slipped up as of late, giving any developer worth their salt a good lead to head on in and take the proverbial throne, if you like.
I don’t know about you, but something between Need for Speed and Burnout, with elements of Horizon and Motorsport, would certainly capture my interests. Not only would this see more diversity for the series, but it would give each developer another year of development for their respective titles, ensuring that each entry carried more content and polish than ever before. I know that this opinion will certainly split the crowd, but I also know that there’s many out there that would welcome this level of change.
Equally as such, I also know that Horizon games come with a light story element, but I was thinking somewhere along the lines of something more cinematic and more in-depth. It’s food for thought for sure and I’ll be intrigued to see the result if this ever becomes a thing. There’s nothing wrong with Motorsport and Horizon, in fact I’ve rather enjoyed my time with each title from each series, but I would love to see something fresh. What do you think? Do you have anything to add? Sound off in the comments below.