EA has had the exclusive rights to the Porsche brand of sports cars for some time now, but that hasn't prevented other developers from sub-licensing Porsche vehicles through EA. Most notably, Turn 10 managed to include 35 different Porsche models in its last simulation racer, Forza Motorsport 3.
Evidently, the days of playing friendly with exclusive licenses are over for EA (yes, I'm aware of the irony of that statement given the whole NFL thing--just go with it, okay?), as according to an interview with creative director Dan Greenwalt up at ForzaMotorsport.net, Turn 10 and Microsoft have made repeated attempts to find an equitable solution to once again sub-license the Porsche brand for its upcoming sequel, Forza Motorsport 4. However, those requests ultimately fell on deaf ears.
For Forza 4, we were looking forward to adding even more Porsche cars, and we were especially looking forward to featuring multiple Porsche experiences in our new Autovista mode. In the end, however, EA couldn’t see their way towards collaborating again. We’ve asked our contacts at EA to reconsider their position frequently and regularly over the last 18 months. We also reached out to various influential people in gaming to lobby on our behalf, and on your behalf, but that was to no avail.
The turnabout in attitude likely has something to do with the introduction of EA's Shift series, which it views as a viable competitor in the simulation racing market. Given that fact, it's not altogether surprising, if still a bit disappointing, that EA would choose to keep its licenses close to its vest, so as to avoid aiding a direct competitor.
Nonetheless, Turn 10 had hoped to work with EA once again, and was disappointed with EA's refusal to acquiesce, especially given Turn 10's own willingness to work with other developers with its own exclusive licenses.
While we respect EA’s need to run their business as they see fit, we’ve regularly collaborated in the past and hope we can find our way back to that approach. Forza had the exclusive license for all Ferrari cars, for example, on the Xbox and PC platforms. But at the end of the day, we’ve always found that we just weren’t willing to block other racing games from having Ferraris outright, as we believed that this would do nothing but hurt the racing ecosystem.
It is most certainly EA's prerogative to do as it pleases with the licenses it holds, but for as much as the Shift series attempts to dig into the sim racing market, it's arguable whether or not that series is really relevant enough at this juncture to claim that collaboration with Turn 10 would harm its stature. Suddenly blocking a developer from including an entire line of vehicles isn't exactly the kind of move that engenders good feelings within the racing game community, either.
Since it looks like there's nothing to be done about this prior to Forza 4's release, players will simply have to make do with a trio of RUF vehicles. RUF, as you may or may not be aware, is the manufacturer known for completely reworking Porsche bodies into custom sports cars. It's likely little consolation for those who had hoped to dig into any of the 35 originally planned Porsche models, but hey, at least it's something.