Forza Motorsport promises new Drivatar system that actually works, detailed new tire model

Justin Melillo
In the opening section of July’s Forza Monthly stream, Chris Esaki detailed many points of the new Forza Motorsport title coming in October.

On the newest edition of Forza Monthly on Monday (17th July), Chris Esaki, Creative Director at Forza Motorsport, spoke in great detail about the upcoming Forza Motorsport release that’s due out on 10th October.

In his detailed description about what’s in store for the new Xbox exclusive, Esaki spoke about a couple of topics which included the Drivatars and the Tires, two areas that have been completely reworked from the previous title, Forza Motorsport 7.

It was also revealed that the title will be lacking a few features at launch, but will be expected later down the road.

An all-new way to Drivatar

The AI model that’s been around for a few game iterations now, including titles from both the Motorsport and Horizon franchises, is aptly called Drivatars and have meant to be computerized manifestations of other Forza players on your friends list.

Throw most of that out the window, as now the Drivatar system will be less about your friends and how they drive and more about how an AI should drive around a video game track.

While the Drivatars will still mimic your friends in terms of their liveries on their owned cars as well as their customized drivers themselves, these Drivatars will now instead use what Esaki is calling “Machine Learning” where the AI will know every which way to take a corner in every scenario, and still have the ability to make mistakes along the way.

This new system hopes to bring a new competitive nature to racing against computer opponents, one that isn’t influence by your friends’ bad habits or possible cheating ways. Plus, players can customize their experience from there, to make the AI easier or harder to beat.

Tires tested

Another hot topic was the new tires and the way they work in the new game. A rudimentary system was in place in the previous ‘7’ title, but now this one has a much more intricate system. There are eight points of contact that run 360 cycles per second, which means there’s a lot more data being collected between your cars’ tires and the track.

Not only do the tires read more, but there are different tires that do different things dependent on the compound and the type. Street tires, Performance tires, Race tires, Drag tires and Wet tires are the types, and for the Race specifically, it can come in Soft, Medium or Hard compounds.

“Our new tire physics has 8 points of contact with the track surface running at 360 cycles per second,” said Esaki. “This allows tires to find grip on any type of uneven surface. The result is better drivability everywhere and realistic behavior on uneven surfaces like curbs. Classic cars in the game can also use Vintage tires exclusively.”

The new tire models plus the way the tracks change over a race should lead to a more realistic way to race, where tires will be more responsive to inputs and environments.

No Drag or Drift at Launch

While Drag tires are a thing and will be included at launch alongside a Drift suspension, neither Drag Racing or Drift Racing modes will be included with the title when it launches in October. These game modes are expected to be added in future updates.

“We’ve prioritized our development efforts on circuit racing with modern race cars and modern production cars,” Esaki said. “This focus impacts the entire game, from the cars and tracks we’ve included to, the new rendering features, physics, AI and gameplay experiences that we have built.

“With that in mind, we want to let you know we will not have drag or drift game modes available at release. We will, however, have drag tires, as well as drift suspension, available as car upgrades and you can enjoy them in experiences like private meetup lobbies.”

Some fans on social media were quick to point out how this was an issue with other Xbox titles in recent years, namely the new Halo game, however this does seem to be something in the best interest of bringing forth the best possible game at launch and hopefully that means what we do get is top tier.


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