Forza franchise director Dan Greenawalt has delivered his verdict on Sony's Gran Turismo series, saying Polyphony Digital CEO and franchise creator Kazunori Yamauchi "hasn't done anything for me for years".
During Microsoft's E309 media briefing last week, Greenawalt took to the stage to confirm the latest iteration in the Xbox-exclusive racing sim, Forza 3, would be released this October.
The game is seen by Xbox 360 owners as Microsoft's answer to Sony's hugely popular Gran Turismo series.
In an interview with VideoGamer.com following the media briefing, Greenawalt explained his confidence in Forza 3 was fuelled because Gran Turismo 5 "didn't show up" during Sony's press conference.
GT5 was shown in trailer form only during Sony's E309 press conference, and damage modelling was revealed for the first time in the series. Forza 3 was playable on the show floor.
He said: "We watched the Sony press conference and we were like, OK so we just brought what we believe firmly is the best racing game ever made, and our competition didn't show up. So now you can see why I'm fairly bullish. I hate to sound so cocky but the truth is the stars have aligned. I don't know how else to say it."
In December last year Sony's chief executive in southern Europe, James Armstrong, was reported to have revealed to Spanish newspaper El Financiero that Gran Turismo 5 will be released at Christmas 2009.
However, a Sony Computer Entertainment UK spokesperson could only tell VideoGamer.com at the time: "Polyphony are working on GT5, but we cannot confirm a launch date at this point in time."
For many, the fact that Gran Turismo 5 wasn't playable at E309 casts doubt on a Christmas 2009 release, although it doesn't rule it out completely.
When asked if he was surprised by Sony's conference, Greenawalt replied: "Absolutely. Kazunori Yamauchi-san is someone I have tremendous respect for. I have tremendous respect for the work of team, but I am a GT fan. I bought my first car that I stressed out about buying because I played it in Gran Turismo. I'm in this industry because of that game.
"That said, as a fan of the series, he hasn't done anything for me in years. So in many ways he's handing the baton to me. He probably doesn't see it that way, but I do, because I believe that I'm now taking what he ignited in me as a passion, and taking it to a much, much, much broader level. I'm not saying it's necessarily larger yet, but definitely broader, younger, older, men, women. So I'm really excited."
What do you think about Dan Greenawalt's feelings on Gran Turismo? Let us know in the comments section below.