Well here’s a new way to kind of force connectivity to the cloud. In an effort to make things as seamless as possible now that Microsoft has pulled a u-turn on its Xbox One DRM policies, Dan Greenawalt, studio head at Turn 10, the developer of the upcoming Forza 5, gave an interview to IGN discussing how it would all work.
Essentially, the game you purchase will contain menus and graphics and code, but they won’t be complete. The game’s online features like Drivatar, the AI component of your racing game, will be ported to an offline experience that you’ll download on day one, along with tracks and cars.
While this sounds like a way to make sure people are connecting at least the first time they play the game, it actually sounds like there’s a decent reason behind it: making the best game possible. Greenawalt says that the studio’s production schedule “is such that we are putting [content] in as late as possible and that means making them free as downloadable content on Day One.”
Of course, it’s not actually downloadable content in the traditional sense of the word, because it will be required to even play the game.
We like the idea of waiting until the very last second to get the latest assets and content live. Games often go to final production months in advance of shipping, which is months that the team at Turn 10 can use to continue to finesse the game.
We’ve got a few questions about this: will it mean the deadline for the game’s completion won’t actually be what it would have been had they gone the traditional route? This could make game companies incredibly lax on release dates and deadlines, and doing so might be more tragic than the strategy is helpful.
Perhaps more importantly, if everyone is trying to download a content pack, likely upwards of 5GB, in the early days of a new console launch, are servers going to be able to support it, or are users going to be plagued with downloading issues? We all remember how long it took to download a (relatively small) Wii U update: too long.
Time will tell, and hopefully Microsoft’s 300,000 servers will be a huge benefit to gamers as they begin to download content for Forza 5 and, we’d assume, other titles on Xbox One. It is good to know that the new console will support the playing of games as they’re being downloaded, though we don’t know if DLC and additional content will also be able to do the same thing.