At the Xbox booth at EB Expo 2013, we got to sit down with Turn 10 Studios, the developer of the Forza Motorsport franchise to discuss the legendary racing game series and in particular the latest installment exclusive to the Xbox One, Forza Motorsport 5. We talk about what’s new with Forza 5 and what the Xbox One brings to the table for the series. Read on for our interview with Turn 10.
CC: Thanks for sitting down with us and showing us through the game. Lets jump right into things!
T10: Not a problem, fire away.
CC: One of the things you are highlighting today is the ‘Drivatar’ feature. Could you tell us a little bit about what this feature brings to the table for Forza Motorsport 5?
T10: Well ‘Drivatar’ is a new feature we have introduced that sends your player data into the cloud. This data is then used to emulate your play style for races against other players. Its essentially a clone of yourself that understands the way you think and the way you drive. The computer players will come from ‘drivatars’, it’s a really interesting feature.
CC: What sort of information does the ‘Drivatar’ cloud look for when researching you?
T10: You know the basics, how you take corners, how you react to certain situations, your braking points, your speed variants, what sort of driver you are really.
CC: And all of those details go straight to the cloud. How long does it take to record you before it knows your style well enough to create a ‘Drivatar’?
T10: It is pretty smart, only about three races and you have a ‘Drivatar’.
CC: Forza Motorsport has arguably become the best realistic racing experience on the gaming market. How much focus do you put into realism when developing a game like Forza Motorsport 5?
T10: It’s definitely one of our major focuses, for sure. With Forza Motorsport 5 we partnered with Calspan to bring our physics to the next level. None of what you see was really possible before. If you look at the graphics you’ll see that there is some slight differences to before. Back with Forza Motorsport 4, we would often be told that it looks too perfect. That’s when we realised we kinda fell into an uncanny valley of sorts for cars, it just didn’t look real per say, it looked artificial in a way. With Forza Motorsport 5 however we realise that perfection is found in imperfections, cars from afar often look perfect but up close you see the details and its minor imperfections. We focused on these details to make Forza Motorsport 5 the most realistic experience possible.
CC: In the preview you showed us the Bathurst track, Mount Panorama. This is an important one to us Aussies. Can you tell us a little about the track and what went into bringing it to Forza Motorsport 5?
T10: We put a lot of effort into this track, we even got Mark Skaife to give it his tick of approval. He knows that track like the back of his hand and he could walk us through every inch of it. It is really one we have wanted to do for a long time but couldn’t for a number of reasons, but with the Xbox One’s capabilities we can finally bring it to life.
CC: Would you say that this game could only be possible with the Xbox One?
T10: Oh absolutely! This level of realism and the physics behind the game were just not possible before. The Xbox One makes all of that a reality now.
CC: The AutoVista mode has returned in this game, but under the new name of ForzaVista. What’s new with ForzaVista?
T10: In the past with Forza 4 you could only use AutoVista on about twenty of the cars. Now with ForzaVista you can do it on all of them. This is unprecedented for us and it took a lot of effort to make it happen. We really wanted to speak to players and let them explore these cars and get to know them like never before.
CC: Awesome! Can you tell us a little bit more about the career mode of the game?
T10: Sure. While in past Forza games we put players on a bit of a predictable path. They started with slow cars on some slow paced tracks and they got stuck with cars they didn’t care for before they could get to do what they really wanted to do. We wanted to change that with Forza 5 and we have done that by giving the player the power of choice.
CC: What sort of choices are available to players with the career mode?
T10: Well you know, we came to the realisation that players don’t usually finish racing games, racing games finish them. It was something we needed to change and we realised that instead of making them play through the things they didn’t care about we would let them choose the types of cars they want to drive and the types of championships they want to compete in. We broke it down into eight leagues which are essentially different genres of cars. If there is a type of car you don’t like you don’t have to go that way, you can choose the cars you like in real life and play with them. It’s all about giving power to the players.
CC: That all sounds great. It does bring me to another question though, while this is a direct sequel to Forza Motorsport 4, is there any hints of Forza Horizon in Forza Motorsport 5? Did anything from that game make it over?
T10: We technically consider them to be separate entities from one another. You’ve got the Forza Motorsport series and the Forza Horizon series. While we mostly built upon the foundations laid in Forza Motorsport 4, we did take some nods from Forza Horizon too.
CC: One last question, what would you say is the defining feature of Forza Motorsport 5? What is the big take home message for this game?
T10: With Forza Motorsport 5, we are really all about putting players in the cars they want to drive. From there we let them earn credits in the modes they play, be it career or multiplayer. We want players to be rewarded for having fun their way. The big thing with Forza 5 is that we put players in the cars of their dreams and just let them just go for it.
CC: That’s what we all want from a racing game! Well thank you for taking the time to speak with us, we look forward to getting behind the wheel with Forza Motorsport 5.
T10: Thanks guys, our pleasure!
You can check out our hands-on preview for Forza Motorsport 5 here. Forza Motorsport 5 is an Xbox One launch title and is slated for release along side the console on November 22nd, 2013.
Special thanks to Xbox Australia for setting up this interview and to the guys from Turn 10 Studios for the opportunity.