When I reviewed Forza Motorsport 7, which is still an excellent racing title if you’re looking for something that isn’t Project Cars 2, Gran Turismo Sport, or Assetto Corsa, I spoke a little about the game’s loot box situation. They were included, but loot boxes overall had no effect on the in-game economy or your progression. Forza 7 was, and still is, a game where skill is paramount to progression. With all the controversy around loot boxes and their inclusion in games, even to the title’s benefit, developer Turn 10 Studios has announced their plans to shelve all future loot box inclusions in the Forza franchise. Through updates to Forza 7, and starting at the launch of Forza Horizon 4, loot boxes will be removed from the game’s economy and Turn 10 will focus instead on microtransactions and purchasable content.
The announcement came from Turn 10 Studios manager Alan Hartman, who oversees the studio and the franchise overall, including the games developed by partner studio PlayGround Games. Hartman says that the decision came down to what the community wanted, and the studio decided to do what’s best for their community instead. In a blog post on the Forza website, Hartman had this to say:
“Our players’ expectations of games and their experiences have changed over the years and, since launch, the team at Turn 10 has been working incredibly hard on Forza Motorsport 7. We’ve all been inspired by the brilliant passion of the Forza community. You’ve been tireless in sharing your feedback about the game, letting us know what you like and what you’d like to see improved. Along the way we’ve done our best to listen to, absorb, and most importantly, act upon that feedback.
“One major area of discussion for the team has been prize crates. While we’ve never charged money for prize crates in Forza Motorsport 7, their presence in the game has continued to be a source of controversy. The overwhelming feedback has been that this system feels out of place in the game. After careful consideration, we have decided to completely remove prize crates from Forza Motorsport 7. Similarly, paid tokens – which were a part of previous Forza games – will not be coming to Forza Motorsport 7 or Forza Horizon 4.
“Due to the complexity of removing prize crates from the game – while keeping access to Driver Gear, Mods and Badges – we expect that this process will be completed in the winter timeframe. Starting this month we’ve already taken steps towards that goal, first by unlocking more than 100 previously locked “exclusive” cars and, second, by completely removing cars from the prize crates in the game. The current lineup of prize crates offer no competitive advantage and only offer Driver Gear suits, Mods and badges, and these crates will remain in place until crates are removed entirely.”
It’s an interesting decision, and a bold one. One of the ways in which Forza 7’s loot crates impacted the in-game economy positively was to promote the idea of people racing with particular goals in mind – not just winning a race outright, but also gaining achievements on the track, or filling race-specific challenges to increase their earnings. It’s easy to capitalise on this early on, and being able to nab some rare cars in the prize crates meant that you could either sell them to raise more funds for mods, or hope that you land a better spec machine that you can use in future races.
It never felt like a slog because Forza tends to reward players generously for their efforts. And, as I noted in my review, the crates weren’t really impacting the racing experience either. Some rare cars were only available in the crates, but there were other, better alternatives available to purchase in the game that didn’t need to be doled out according to an RNG game mechanic. The inclusion of loot boxes dulled the allure of the game primarily because of their association with unsavoury tactics used by other studios.
Forza Motorsport 7 is available now on Xbox One and Windows 10 through the Microsoft Store and is a Play Anywhere title. Forza Horizon 4 will be launching on 2 October 2018 for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC platforms.