Forza Motorsport 6

Forza 5’s crash data is help­ing Turn 10 build a bet­ter racer

EDGE - - GAMES -

Xbox One

Forza Motorsport 6 comes across as an apol­ogy to fans who felt let down by the pre­vi­ous en­try in Mi­crosoft’s flag­ship rac­ing se­ries. Dispir­it­ingly un­der­nour­ished, Forza 5 was stymied by its dash to this con­sole gen­er­a­tion’s start­ing line and full of ir­ri­tat­ing de­sign de­ci­sions such as un­skip­pable Jeremy Clark­son blather, in­tru­sive mi­cro­trans­ac­tions and an ex­ces­sively slip­pery han­dling model that seemed to hold Hol­ly­wood chase se­quences above track-day drama.

Things are look­ing con­sid­er­ably health­ier this time around. In fact, Turn 10 says Forza 6 is the big­gest game the stu­dio has ever made. While the raw num­bers don’t fully bear that out, there’s plenty to be ex­cited about: 450 fully cus­tomis­able Forza Vista cars, along with 26 en­vi­ron­ments (ten of which are new), over which will be draped a promised 70-hour Sto­ries Of Motorsport ca­reer – fea­tur­ing more than 80 smaller Show­case events along­side the main races – and a 24-player online mul­ti­player suite built around the newly in­tro­duced di­vi­sion-based Leagues mode. And this time, ev­ery­thing runs at 60fps in 1080p. Best of all, Forza’s sig­na­ture han­dling model has been re­stored.

“We’re al­ways lis­ten­ing to feed­back, not only from the com­mu­nity but in­ter­nally as well,” cre­ative di­rec­tor Bill Giese tells us when we ask about the cars’ reestab­lished trac­tion. “And we’re al­ways get­ting data from our man­u­fac­tur­ers. Be­cause we have such a di­verse list – we’ve got pre-war race cars, trucks, clas­sic mus­cle – we’ve had to over­haul all of our tyre com­pounds. [And now] you’re go­ing to need rain tyres!”

The pre­cip­i­ta­tion in ques­tion is made up of in­di­vid­ual, phys­i­cally sim­u­lated rain­drops that move across your wind­screen in a highly con­vinc­ing man­ner. But Turn 10 has taken things fur­ther by cal­cu­lat­ing the poros­ity of the more than 140 driv­ing sur­faces that the game uses, sim­u­lat­ing the way that wa­ter ac­cu­mu­lates on dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als, or, for ex­am­ple, how rum­ble strips are sticky in the dry but slick when wet. And 3D pud­dles will also form on tracks (which ap­pear in pre­de­ter­mined lo­ca­tions based on the pool­ing zones of real cir­cuits), with fric­tion, drag and elas­tic­ity all cal­cu­lated as you car bar­rels into them and risks aqua­plan­ing.

“A good ex­am­ple of our driv­able sur­faces is Se­bring in Florida,” Giese ex­plains. “It’s built around an old air­field, so they’ve got con­crete as well as as­phalt. The older sec­tions of the track butt up against the newer sec­tions, and in that tran­si­tion they just slop a sealant over the top of it. In Forza 6, even that sealant has dif­fer­ent [driv­ing] prop­er­ties.” There are now night-time races, too, and the same at­ten­tion to de­tail has been ap­plied to the Tar­mac, grip di­min­ish­ing in the cool­ing night air. Turn 10 is also try­ing to cap­ture the at­mos­phere of rac­ing in the dark. “There are tracks like Yas Ma­rina that are so ar­ti­fi­cially lit up that it feels like day­time, but then there are tracks like Le Mans where the back stretch is pitch black,” Giese says. “You get this sense of claus­tro­pho­bia, be­cause all you have is this cone of light to guide you, and we talked to race car driv­ers who said that’s the scari­est thing. Hope­fully you can catch the turn up ahead; hope­fully there’s a car in front and you can watch their brake lights. We re­ally wanted to cre­ate that emo­tion for the player when they’re rac­ing.”

Turn 10’s prom­ises, along with the brief time we’ve spent lap­ping a hand­ful of night­time, wet and day­time tracks, sug­gest that the stu­dio has rekin­dled the spirit of Forza 3 af­ter briefly los­ing its grip. Cars feel weighty and re­spon­sive, and there’s a glee­ful nod to ’90s ar­cade rac­ers in the bright colours, sweep­ing views and low-fly­ing air­lin­ers of the new Rio de Janeiro track. Those pud­dles de­liver, too, the game con­vey­ing the thump of hit­ting stand­ing wa­ter at speed. With the pres­sure of cre­at­ing a launch game be­hind it, the stu­dio now looks set to de­liver a Forza on Xbox One that’s more de­serv­ing of the se­ries’ name.

Turn 10 cre­ative di­rec­tor Bill Giese

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