It was supposed to be a triumphant arrival. Forza Motorsport 6: Apex was intended to push the established Xbox franchise into a new era of relevance, finally giving hardcore virtual drivers a reason to go back to the franchise that at one point served as an introduction to sim racing in the first place. By now, we should have been reviewing the game, or at least publishing a guest review indicating titles like Project CARS and Assetto Corsa had something to worry about. We should have been celebrating the upcoming NASCAR expansion pack, featuring over 20 different competitors from the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as well as Homstead-Miami Speedway. Instead, we are publishing an extremely disappointing Reader Submission here on PRC.net from an individual drawing attention to a very unsettling reality – Turn 10 studios are laughing in the face of their own audience.
Good evening PRC, it’s your boy Zabbzi here.
As we all know, Forza is branching out into the world of PC sim racing, and with that should start a new era of (hopefully) respectful competitors. As a veteran of the Xbox environment, I can without a doubt tell you that the nature of driving is truly awful. Corner cutting, and senseless bashing are two issues Turn 10 have failed to address. As has been addressed at length by Forza community members the poor sportsmanship has even moved to the hotlap leaderboards, where it’s impossible to get a fast time by not cheating.
Enter Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, the free Windows 10 download. In the beta, they have an event coming out in which cutting the course is blatantly promoted. Granted, multiplayer is not out yet, so we can’t accurately judge how the online userbase will behave, but this is a massive step in the wrong direction. I’ve had a lot of faith in Turn 10, but they seem to enjoy taking two steps forward, followed by one step back.
Forza Motorsport 6, the Xbox One title, doesn’t have a penalty system in-game. With in-effective vote-kicking tools, multiplayer races frequently become a war zone, with almost every race ending in a lap one wreck, or repeated ramming from others. There have been dozens of threads on the official forums about this, and after eight months of play, the situation hasn’t gotten any better. Turn 10 basically doesn’t care, hasn’t even tried to fix the lobby tools, nor have they thought about basic safety rating features like iRacing uses to separate shitty drivers from sportsmanlike ones.
Now that Apex is actively promoting “no rules behavior”, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the less desirable players on the Xbox version use it as an excuse for their actions. This is a shame, as Forza 6 has an astounding amount of content, almost 600 cars and 27 locations, but issues with how people play the game are pushing away veterans from the franchise – veterans which helped make it a successful franchise in the first place.
One could make the claim that Turn 10 don’t care about the diehards, so long as the casual car fans keep buying the game. It’s easier to sell 100 copies of a game because it includes a limo or a Hot Wheels car than it is to foster a clean racing environment for the 1% that actually care. Money talks, I guess, but they won’t be getting mine again anytime soon.
That’s a really inefficient, and highly disrespectful operation they’re running over at the Turn 10 camp. I’m not going to launch into a tirade explaining how this is ruining sim racing, instead I’m going to sit Turn 10 down and ask them to think about what they’ve done.
Turn 10 is paying for a partnership with Pirelli to develop an advanced tire model that’s only being used in Forza. They’re also paying physics gurus and computer programmers to figure out how to implement their findings into a virtual environment, and ensure that it works with no major flaws. They’re paying out the ass for a ton of different commercial licenses for various manufacturers, their respective cars, and getting a different group of people to both model those cars in the correct manner, as well as nail each individual vehicle’s sound and performance characteristics. In some cases, the group at Turn 10 are flying around the world to laser-scan various geographical locations, and take thousands of reference photos, to ensure what’s included within the current Forza Motorsport package is the most accurate virtual environment in any modern racing simulator. And that’s before we get into the coders assigned to program track limits, designers tasked with building a compelling career mode, play-testers ensure fuel consumption works by manually doing fuel mileage runs, physics guys tweaking how driving assists are implemented, and a whole bunch of other shit that helps make Forza… well… Forza.
Why, would any company invest so much time in producing something so authentic, expansive, and realistic, only to encourage their users to play a game in the way that ignores literally everything that has been slaved over by the development team?
Picture the guy, or group of programmers, tasked with ironing out the kinks in the tire model. Sim Racers know how much work goes into a simulation element such as a tire model, as evidenced by iRacing’s endless journey in pursuit of perfection. How do you think this team feel when all of their hard work is essentially ignored, and a menu pops up encouraging Forza 6: Apex owners to mindlessly bash into the AI and cut across the track for all of three laps?
Think of the guy who was in charge of coding track limit boundaries to the best of his abilities – lets call him Mike. This guy, Mike, probably spent a whole fucking day at work manually inserting the out of bounds areas into Abu Dhabi. He’s been told to go fuck himself.
Or, maybe, let’s consider the group of people that worked on the Drivatar stuff. This was the big thing when Forza hit the Xbox One – a field of AI cars that was somewhat competent to race against, and exhibited some very human-like qualities. Even in my own trials, getting stoned and running laps on Forza 6 at my bro’s house, these bots are truly a step in the right direction. A group of individuals sat down for several months in a row, and that’s what they did at work each day – they busted their asses to build a compelling set of AI drivers. Turn 10 basically invalidated all of their work.
It’s horribly inefficient for a company to operate like this. Why bother spending the time and money getting data from Pirelli, licensing 600 cars, building 27 locations from scratch, and programing an advanced level of AI behavior, if not even a month into a game’s beta, you’re going to ask your audience to play the game in a way that ignores all of that? What a gigantic waste of time, manpower, and resources. Like fuck man, just give people a link to the PSX ISO of Destruction Derby 2 and be done with it.