You will need an internet connection when you launch Forza 5 for the first time.
In an interview with IGN‘s Xbox channel, studio head Dan Greenwalt spoke about Forza Motorsport 5‘s offline play and how it’ll work in light of the changes Microsoft made to the Xbox One’s always-online model.
The game will require a one-time connection on initial boot-up, but after that initial sign-in will be completely playable offline (with the obvious exception of the multiplayer and Drivatar features), according to Greenwalt.
“When you first boot up the game, we’re going to ask you to log in, and when you log in you’re going to get the Drivatars and a whole bunch of content – tracks and cars,” Greenwalt told IGN.
As a day-one title, it sounds like Turn 10’s racer is in a bit of a strange spot. Certification logistics require that Turn 10 finishes the game well-ahead of launch, giving them less time than they’d like to work on the title. That means that once they submit the game for certification – which they may even have already done – Turn 10 will continue to work on content for the game and will, according to Greenwalt, release the tracks and cars as free day-one downloadable content.
There’s a catch, though. Greenwalt explains that the tracks and cars are “required content to play the game. We basically have designed the game to work with all the content no matter how late is [sic] coming in.” He did clarify to IGN that the game should be playable while the additional content downloads.
Greenwalt also talked more about the role Drivatars will play in Forza 5. Connecting to Xbox Live with Forza 5 will be uploading your Drivatars and download new ones for you to race against. The game uses these Drivatars instead of traditional artificial intelligence to provide a more organic experience. They’re not simply recorded ghosts that will just slam through you, but sort of amalgamations of a given player’s race style. Downloading new ones frequently should provide a more varied experience and less of the caterpillar-style racing we’re used to in racing games of the past. I hope to encounter both more violent drivers as well as more traditional brake-apex-accelerate-style drivers.
The one-time connection shouldn’t be a huge burden for most players, but it is likely representative of some of the design gymnastics developers are having to go through to get their games out at launch while reflecting Microsoft’s about-face with regard to their new console’s connection requirements. It’ll be interesting to see what compromises other developers have made for their launch-window games.