The lights are on
Update: Microsoft and Turn 10 have since stated that Forza Motorsport 5 does not require an online connection. For more info, here's our update story on the topic.
Original Story: Microsoft has done away with the Xbox One's online requirement, and it looks like titles such as Forza Motorsport 5 are still having to adjust.
In an interview with IGN, Dan Greenawalt, studio head for Forza 5 developer Turn 10 Studios says that due to time constraints players will be required to download a day-one patch for the game that contains tracks, cars, and Drivatars – the game's data-driven cars that replicate the driving of real-life Forza 5 players.
"So when you first boot up the game," Greenawalt said, "we're going to ask you to log in. 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."
Going forward, it sounds like an online connection will be integral to the experience because you will need it to get new and updated Drivatars, which make up your field of AI cars even if you are playing an offline, single-player game. "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."
Greenawalt didn't go into specifics of what playing Forza 5 offline apart from the day-one download would look like, but he did say the team is "trying to get as much of [the Drivatars] into the unconnected, offline mode as well."
We've reached out to Microsoft and Turn 10 Studios for more details on the matter, and will update this story if we hear anything.
Our TakeThe Drivatar feature – if done well – could be great for online players, but it seems like Forza 5 is having to suddenly adjust to Microsoft's reversal of its online-requirement policy for Xbox One. Drivatars sound so integral to the now-offline single-player mode that we wonder what playing single-player will look like if you're not connected. If your Drivatars are not allowed to evolve because you don't have the latest download, will we be stuck with moronic, swerving drivers? Will Turn 10 offer a set of developer-created AI that is more stable? This also brings up the age-old issue of what you as a consumer actual own when you buy a disc. Day-one patches are common, but to have it tied to something so fundamental to the game as Forza 5's Drivatars, cars, and tracks, could be something different altogether.
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