Flagship Xbox One launch title Forza Motorsport 5 – which will make extensive use of the console’s cloud capabilities and always-online functionality – will also be playable offline now that Microsoft has changed its policies. However, it will require a one-time connection to Xbox Live before you can play.
In an interview with IGN, Dan Greenawalt, the studio head at Forza developer Turn 10 Studios, clarified how their day-one racing game will work if your Xbox One isn’t connected to Xbox Live.
“So when you first boot up the game, we’re going to ask you to log in,” he explained. “And when you log in you’re going to get the Drivatars and you’re also going to get a whole bunch of content: tracks and cars. Our production schedule is such that we are putting them in as late as possible and that means making them free as downloadable content on Day One.
“[But] that is required content to play the game. We basically have designed the game to work with all that content no matter how late is coming in, in order to make the biggest game possible.”
In other words, because games have to be submitted to Microsoft testing, certified, and then pressed onto discs and shipped, Forza 5 has to be done much, much sooner than November. By requiring part of the game as a download on launch day, it gives Turn 10 extra time to finish everything. And so what you get on the disc you buy at the store won’t be the entire game. You’ll need to download the rest of it from Xbox Live (which should be possible to occur as you play, Greenawalt clarified).
After that, Greenawalt said, Forza 5 is like your refrigerator. “You have to fill it up with food the first time,” he explained. “And from then on, you connect whenever you want when you want to update your food. The Drivatars are as fresh as they are. It’s not like they’re going to degrade, but when you’re looking for new stuff – fresh stuff…it’s going to keep evolving. That’s the nature of this Drivatar system.”
Drivatar is Forza 5’s attempt at next-generation AI in that there is no pre-programmed artificial intelligence. Instead, a ghost version of yourself races on your behalf, using your repeated behavior and tendencies to mimic how you’d race if you were actually playing. Drivatars of random gamers all over the world are what you race against in your single-player campaign.
To that end, Greenawalt told us, “You do have to connect the game in order to get the latest Drivatars, because we need as many people training them as possible. And so rather than having just a launch-day set that was created by us, every day that people race is going to make the Drivatar set that much more accurate, that much more diverse, that much more interesting.
“All of the cloud and online features make the game far, far better,” Greenawalt summed up. “In fact I’d even say revolutionary. The things we’re doing with opponents and Drivatar are not something that anyone can envision unless you’ve played it. But we’re trying to get as much of that into the unconnected, offline mode as well.
“We’re not making a launch game. We’re making Forza 5, at launch.”