Game announcements should be an event of their own, and they mostly are. But Forza 6? Sherif Saed has his head in his hands.
Prior experience hadn’t prepared me for this week’s Forza 6 announcement. We are, in my opinion, looking at a new low.
I woke up yesterday morning to the announcement of a new game. A small affair. It’s called “Forza Motorsport 6”. Except it wasn’t an announcement. The press weren’t invited to an event a few weeks prior, nor were they sent any embargoed emails. No one outside of Microsoft has seen or played the game. There were no screenshots. There wasn’t even a proper trailer.
What was it, then? It was an naming of an ancillary product marketed to potential buyers of a new car. This could’ve just as easily been the announcement of a new Sirius satellite radio.
It’s 2015, and yet, out in the real world, video games still can’t seem to stand on their own. Manufacturers have this incessant need to associate them with other products, be it other entertainment factors (insert A-list actor’s voice here), or, worse, cars.
It always the case. A new racer’s announced, and the cover is subsequently revealed to feature car ‘X’. The developer then spends weeks going over why this was the perfect car, why this specific vehicle manufacturer has opened its treasure trove to be explored by the game.
Witnessing the same process on multiple occasions has cemented it as one of the most odious, superfluous, and frankly embarrassing tactics employed by racing game publishers. I’ve always just brushed it off as just another marketing campaign aimed at people other than me (after all, there will always be some gameplay videos and other in-depth material for me pore over), but I don’t understand why they keep doing it. Is it to show how far graphics and physics have come in recent years? Perhaps it’s to add an air of authenticity to the in-game models? No matter the intention, I’ve always seen it as a display of a game and medium’s true self-worth, or lack thereof.
Regardless, prior experience hadn’t prepared me for this week’s Forza 6 announcement. We are, in my opinion, looking at a new low.
The Forza 6 reveal may have been the most underwhelming teaser I’ve seen for a video game. It felt like Ford was announcing a new flash or mobile game, something the car owner can give to their child when they pester them to drive the real thing.
Millions of Forza fans have been exploited by this “announcement”. By the same token, it’s reasonable to assume Ford followers couldn’t give less of a shit about a new video game piggy-backing the GT reveal. Nobody is excited about Forza 6, because nobody has a trailer to analyse or a feature list to discuss. Nobody knows anything about the game. What was the point?
Racing game developers and publishers: neither your medium nor genre are in their infancy. You don’t need validation. Millions of people buy your games because they enjoy them, because they’re fun to play, not because there’s a Lamborghini or a Ford on the cover. It certainly isn’t because of your inexplicable pandering to car manufacturers.
Stop. Please. Because if you don’t believe in your art enough for it to stand on its own, no one will.