It must be a relief in some way to have the game finally ship, but the reaction's been more muted than some other Forza games. What's your take on the initial response, and the first reviews?
Dan Greenawalt: I have to be honest, our team takes great pride in what lights up our players, and community's the heart of what we do. So it's been disappointing. I'm not disappointed in people - people feel how they feel. I'm more disappointed in myself that I've elicited this reaction in people. I think the biggest travesty for me is how people have misread our intentions, because that's just been sad - community's the biggest thing for us, and the whole point is to get people excited about cars and excited about games, so people saying we've changed the economy for this reason and we removed this feature for that reason - I understand it, because perception's reality, and people start believing what they believe, but I know it's not the thought process we went through to make the decisions we made.
Via EurogamerWe'll get back to that in a bit. In terms of the free-to-play mechanics that are coming into it - because it came as part of a wave of Microsoft games that introduced mechanics more typically found in free-to-play games in full-price games, what's your take on that and how do you justify their inclusion?
Dan Greenawalt: So that's how you felt about Forza 4?
I did feel that way about Forza 4, so I'll admit an inconsistency there, but it wasn't pronounced as much. It's certainly much more of an issue in Forza 5.
Dan Greenawalt: I understand that if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck... I know the statement. But honestly if you look at free-to-play games they usually have things called paywalls, where you're slowly wearing something down and the only way to get around it is to pay. That's not what we implemented in Forza 4 and that wasn't our goal in Forza 5 either. We don't have paywalls. We have acceleration, and that was based on feedback from players in Forza 4 - there's a small group of players that can't be bothered to do things and they have disposable income.
They're the sim guys in a lot of cases. They don't want to do the career, and they don't value those aspects, and that's alright by me. With Forza 4 we had car tokens that range from one dollar to three dollars - the most expensive car was ten million credits in game, and it only cost three car tokens which would have been three dollars. That felt like it was not making the car exclusive enough for those who are willing to pay. So we made car tokens equal to credits - it's not about making more money, it was actually about saving people's time when doing the grind. I can totally see how people are perceiving it, but that wasn't our thought process - we designed the tokens last, which isn't how you'd do it if you were making a free-to-play game - you would design that economy and the token economy first, because that's how you make your revenue. That's not how we make the revenue - we sell the game, and the tokens aren't a big revenue driver. As a creative director, we were looking at it as basically giving people cheats, but if you want to put cheats in you have to pay for them, which puts a barrier in and makes it exclusive to those who want to pay for them.