I was never really a fan of racing games until Forza Horizon came out. The other games in the Forza Motorsport franchise just seemed too rigid for me. When Turn 10 introduced Forza Rewards, I took another look at Forza Motorsport 4 just before Forza Motorsport 5 launched to play “catch up.” Turns out, I rather enjoy the other titles in the Forza series, partly because it’s so fun on the big screen with a racing wheel, partly because they are fun games (especially the Horizon format, and partly because Turn 10 and Playground Games know how to treat their gamers right.
Many developers and publishers rely on franchises as their mainstay offering. Look no further than successful game franchises like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo, EA Sports Madden and NHL, Mass Effect, and Final Fantasy, just to name a few. While these are strong titles amongst gamers, I feel that only the Forza series goes above and beyond for their gamer base. Here’s a quick look at why I think other franchises need to take a look at Forza and borrow a thing or two from their play book.
Forza Rewards was where it all began with Turn 10 going above and beyond for their fan base. Introduced just before the launch of the Xbox One and Forza Motorsport 5, Forza Rewards thanks long time franchise supports with free in-game cars and monthly credits for Forza Motorsport 4, 5, and Forza Horizon. These cars and credits are awarded on a tier leveling system based on a cumulative score across all Forza games going back to Forza Motorsport 2 consisting of achievements and other in-game tasks such as 200 perfect passes, miles driven, and cars owned. Knowing that I’ll be credited a certain amount of credits every month definitely doesn’t hurt when deciding what game to play when I’ve got a few I’m choosing from.
The dreaded DLC (downloadable content) has always been a contentious issue between gamers and companies. A lot of gamers feel that you shouldn’t have to pay for additional content, while companies introduce DLC to try and extend the life of existing titles. DLC is typically available on a per item basis or as part of a Season Pass, which can save you a bit of money by committing to a full year of additional content. Turn 10 has been criticized for their pricey DLC – for FM5, a VIP pass which gets you a few cars and other bonuses sets you back $19.99, the Car Pass which gets you access to 6 car additional car packs cost another $39.99. All said and done, a full version of Forza Motorsport 5 would have set you back $120 at launch (unless you pre-ordered a specific Collector’s Edition). Needless to say, that’s a bit on the pricey side.
Here’s where Turn 10 went above and beyond. The Car Pass ended up being a total of 8 car packs, as they added a couple previously unannounced packs here and there. Three new tracks were added – Long Beach, Road America, and Nurburgring – free of charge to everyone who bought the game as well. Honestly, I’d say you’d be hard pressed to say you didn’t feel like you were getting your money’s worth with all the additional content Turn 10 dropped for the game.
Forza Horizon also released a free DLC for their offering with a couple of cars and more challenges and achievements to complete. In addition, Playground Games announced a bonus Launch Day car pack featuring eight additional vehicles available at launch for anyone who buys the game, regardless if they are a VIP member or own the Car Pass.
Game demos have slowly been coming to the Xbox One over the past couple months, but they are usually released at launch, or slightly after. If you pay for EA Access, you can try out certain games a few days early – but these are often time restricted to a very short trial period. What did Playground Games do with Forza Horizon 2? Released a demo a full two weeks before the game even launched – not only does anyone get to try it out, but you can take the time to decide if it’s worth shelling out the extra cash for the Deluxe or Ultimate Editions of the game. And if you complete an event in the demo, a car will be delivered to your garage in the full version of Forza Horizon 2.
This one was totally unexpected, but much appreciated. If you purchased the Forza Motorsport 5 VIP pass, you end up getting $10 off the Deluxe and Ultimate Editions of the game – as well as $10 off the FH2 VIP pass if you choose to purchase that separately with the Day One Edition of the game. What better way to say thanks to players of your previous versions than by giving them a discount off your next title?
Turn 10 has also adjusted games based on fan feedback, from dropping the price of in-game cars to having 50% off weekends to increasing payouts for certain milestones, and dropping the DLC cars straight into a players garage once the DLC pack has been purchased.
Both Turn 10 and Playground Games have really upped the ante in thanking their loyal customers for sticking it out with them, and other long standing franchises in the gaming industry need to take note and start implementing similar programs to reward their loyal fan bases.