Microsoft-owned Turn 10's upcoming racing game Forza Motorsport 3 is looking sharp, and the studio knows it. The term "definitive racing game of the current generation" popped up no less than four times during the debut of the game at Microsoft's flashy pre-E3 briefing.
It was more or less a direct go at Sony and Polyphony Digital's long-awaited PlayStation 3 simulation racer Gran Turismo 5, whose release date is still to be determined.
But was it really necessary to repeat again and again with such fervor the opinion that Forza 3 will be the "definitive racing game of the current generation," particularly when the originator of great console racing simulation games has yet to show its full hand?
"Well, we just wanted to be clear," Turn 10 studio manager Alan Hartman told Gamasutra from the E3 show floor. "We came in feeling very, very bullish about what we've got here. We're ready to go at it, to go in the ring and have a fight. I can't help it if the other guy doesn't show up for the fight. So I'm only really going to fight with the guys that come to market."
Sony originally announced GT5 at E3 2007, and has been quite stingy about releasing new details for the game. At this year's E3, two years after the original confirmation of the title, we know that the game will include the NASCAR license and add new features. It also looks stunning.
But Hartman sees GT5 as more of a theory than reality. "I haven't heard a ship date. So I'm really not worried about it until I hear a ship date."
Hartman and his team at Turn 10 have been working on Forza 3 ever since the well-received Forza 2 shipped two years ago. Forza 3, which Hartman said utilizes an "all-new" graphics engine, is slated for October this year.
Per usual for simulation racing game sequels, the latest iteration of Forza promises more of everything, with improved physics, A.I., 400 cars and 100 tracks. The game also runs at 60 frames per second, Hartman said.
But how else can racing games evolve, outside of them becoming bigger and prettier with each installment? Microsoft's newly-revealed 3D camera system codenamed Project Natal may hold the answer.
"As soon as we get Forza 3 done, I'm pretty excited about letting some of my key guys go out and start revving on [Natal]," Hartman said.
Being an internal Microsoft studio, Turn 10 has known about the camera for some time. Hartman reports to Kudo Tsunoda, project leader for Natal. "I think there are some pretty obvious cool things you can do with the camera. But what has me excited is what we're doing beyond those things -- the not-obvious things, just letting the designers loose on it and letting them decide how to use your whole body [as a controller]."