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Forza 4 tuned up to take checkered flag, boosted by Kinect


In the unending competition to create the preeminent simulation racing game, Turn 10 Studios has kicked it into overdrive for this fall's Forza 4, reports MSN Autos. Let's run through some highlights from the development process (as documented by MSN), shall we?
  • 3-D laser-scan "select cars, including the Bugatti Veyron?" Check.
  • Obtain "proprietary performance data from tire manufacturer Pirelli" to create "the most up-to-date simulation of how modern tires grip or slip in a variety of racing conditions?" Done.
  • "[Isolate] the intake, exhaust and engine sounds from each vehicle" in the game to record realistic audio? You have to.
  • "[Rent] out each track that appears in the game for two to three days, [shoot] terabytes worth of video and photos, and [trace] the inside, middle and outside portions of the road surface with a commercial-grade GPS system?" They did that.
Of course, as MSN observes, "[few] players will notice this level of nuance mid-game." It's only through the endorsements of "the tiny, exacting minority of hardcore players and professional racers who train using Forza" (and other sim racers, like Gran Turismo) that we few can trust that the iterative updates over the years are actually bringing us closer to the the most accurate simulation racing game of all time.

It's worth a chuckle, then, that Forza 4's most marketable feature is "more gimmick than breakthrough," according to MSN, and is perhaps a mini-step backwards in the race to ultimate realism. That feature, of course, is Kinect support.

Aside from the "advanced ogling tool" (which allows players to walk around and inspect their virtualized cars; as seen at E3 2010), Forza 4's "Kinect-only mode" will also feature a "more interesting" head-tracking ability, by MSN's account: "when you lean to one side or the other, the driver's perspective edges with you, letting you peer around a blind curve or just slightly around a car before passing it." Still, even coupled with "the phantom steering wheel you can grip and steer," this experience is more "potential" than achievement.

"I think we're just scratching the surface," game director Dan Greenawalt told MSN.

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