The video game business is evolving much more rapidly than many movie studios in terms of their broad reach and level of interactivity with the players who devote hours to winning the race, collecting a mad fleet of exotic cars, or even doing the most efficient kill shots on robo retro future zombies. Or something.
The automotive genre of the car business is quite a unique subset. Guys and gals who have never enjoyed most console games with first-person-shooters, RPGs and other fantasy wizard content can somehow really love car games.
Gran Turismo is obviously the mack daddy franchise, but its lead over the improving Forza, Need for Speed and others is diminishing. As awesome as GT5 and GT6 are, the level of game play is always pretty serious. It might start out with pain jobs and ECU chips for an old used MX-5 that is now a giant killer – but Gran Turismo gets extremely stressful and difficult as the Mario Kart friendliness of the first tracks becomes the brutal London F1 course, Sardinia rally stage, or the legendary Nordschleife in Nürburg.
The light-hearted escapism of the old Goldeneye series is long gone. Your escape will be directly into the racing cockpit. Your eyes will bleed from starting at the 250 mph warp speed down the Mulsanne straight, hate your own slow-fitted fingers, and maybe – just maybe – win a race or two.
Grand Theft Auto takes a totally different path. Instead of the glamour of the world’s best tracks and circuits, the GTA approach is much more down-to-earth. You are a professional criminal building an empire. But there are guys around every corner who want to be the next Tony Montana also.
So you become a fierce and hardened street tough playing the game. Even in the lush green lawns of posh suburbs, the boys will always be in the basement doing evil deeds and wile burnouts. The goal is to be a fun escape from the reality of speed limits, paying tolls, and parking tickets.