One of the most anticipated racing games of the year, Forza Motorsports 5, is set to release during this year's holiday season. A Los Angeles launch party at the cathedral of Vibiana kicked off the celebration. And we anxiously accepted the invite!
First, Forza's game director Dan Greenwalt and design director Bill Giese kindly gave us a sneak peak of the new features. Then the real action commenced. Forza staff and automotive journalists gathered for the wild reception. Inside the venue people demoed the game, grabbed beverages and drooled over the super cars strategically placed throughout. Sexy exotics were exhibited all around the venue including a McLaren MP4-12C and a Lexus LF-A. It was a party worthy of what looks to be one of the best racing simulators ever created.
Forza 5 was designed with a new graphics engine that takes advantage of the 60 frames per second rate and 1080p quality of the new Xbox 1. The vehicles and the driving experience have been given a real-life dynamic texture. Game details have been meticulously dialed in to the point where minor scratches on the body or even on brake rotors can be seen. While driving, players even have to battle sun glare. Cars can be customized with different paint jobs or vinyl wraps such as carbon fiber styling. On the tire end, the physics data from Pirelli was imported directly into the game. Science and technology company, Calspan conducted even further testing to find out how tires react to racing for ultra-rubber realism.
The Forzavista feature, which allows players to virtually navigate around the car, has been further improved. Previous Forza games were limited to a few cars for the Forzavista feature, but now it is available for any car. Players will have the ability to pop the hood or sit in the cockpits of the cars we love.
One of the primary features in FM5 is the "Drivatar" technology. The technology creates human-like computer opponents to race against. A person's decision-making and driving style is assimilated to create a unique driver simulation. It records all decisions and process tendencies during a race. Greenwalt argues that Drivatar isn't artifical intelligence at all, in fact it's the end of it. Every Drivatar will be different based on the player. Let's say for example Tanner Foust was to play FM5, a player will be able to race against a simulated version of his flawless corner work. Or you can race your friend's Drivatar who might like to crash into cars or oversteer in the corners. A player's Drivatar is updated after every race and even when a player isn't playing, the Drivatar is out in the world racing other players.
The Forza team has partnered with many different companies to make a unique gaming experience. For a more engaging race, they enlisted Lucasfilm Skywalker Sound to score the background music. The music is "dynamic" and can change depending on the location of the track. The hosts of Top Gear were involved with sorting out the cars into different categories and McLaren has helped with the aerodynamics data. All of these components were integrated to provide the player with the ultimate driving simulator.