Our interview with Turn 10′s Korey Krausskopf on Forza Motorsport 3 and how it might just be the best racing game of the year.
We had tons of hands on time with the game and can’t wait to
review it, in the mean time be sure to check up and see our impressions leading up to the launch and review of the game.
andPOP- We are a media site so I’ll start with a “Pop culture” question, if Forza Motorsport 3 were a celebrity who would it be?
Turn10- Hmm.. You would have to take Stephen Hawking with some kind of super model, its deep yet pretty.
andPOP- For our music audience at andPOP if Forza were a band or any musician what would it be?
Turn 10- Tough question because we kind of got a mix of European Techno you have to include some German Industrial and then you probably have a bit of pop.
andPOP- Sort of like Dream Theater?
Turn 10- Yea! That works! Ok I’ll go with that! haha Dream Theater. Maybe not quite but I’ll go for it.(laughter)
andPOP- Focusing on the game, I was really blown away with the design elements of Forza 3. I love the new look and feel of the game, was this after receiving feedback on Forza Motorsport 2 that made the team take this new visual direction?
Turn 10- Not necessarily, people were ok with the design aesthetics of Forza 2. We looked at that and said hmm.. this feels cluttered, it feels busy- a little bit too “gamey”.
And so we asked what kind of experience we want people to have with Forza3? We wanted people to get in here and just geek out on our cars -love their cars- so we wanted to created a way that people could get in and look at cars- experience how beautiful it is and not be cluttered with other stuff.
This really clean design aesthetic was inspired by high end showrooms. Looking at how they showcase their cars, following their brochures, seeing how they present their cars there – High end cars- seeing how they use a lot of negative space.
So here is your focal element for what you are looking at, it’s clean, it’s wide, it’s polished, now we got the vision of what we want to go towards and so we made it happen.
andPOP- There are a lot of things that define Forza but for me what stood out was the ability to have that unique customizable experience.
It’s funny once I was reading an article (on IGN) in regards to online and Nintendo’s online plan(Back during the GameCube era) and they discussed some gamers online in the first Forza that had The Legend of Zelda designs on their cars. It felt almost as if the community- still very alive offline- graduated and expressed their inspirations through a more online centric console. Has that(creative customization) always been the defining element specially in creating the first Forza title. I don’t see much of that in other racers, sure there is tuning but nothing so visually deep.
Turn 10- If you look at our tag line for the first game which is “You are what you race”.
It was all about getting a car and making it yours by asking what do you want this car to be? What does it say about your personality? Are you going to beef this thing up to be a torque force/power monster? Or are you going to make a sleek performance machine that takes turns elegantly and gracefully? What you race says a lot about you and so from the get go personalization was huge. So painting it the way you want it to, personalize it,they ability to upgrade it, and tune it.
In every version we try and step back and ask how we are realizing that vision. Our rally and cry for this version was enable car lovers to be gamers and gamers to be car lovers. That is still around the same ideals of experiencing the game the way you want to. It is very much about personalization.
andPOP- Now with the second iteration there was this blog post I used to follow on IGN where you guys would write about the design experience. I was very impressed with the Sound design of the game.
Turn 10- Ah!
andPOP- Were you using some of the old stuff or was it a begin from scratch?
Turn 10- So this is great! Anytime we get to take people on a tour of our studio we talk about how we get our hands on one of these cars and end up getting it up on a dyno, where we would place eight microphones around it and run this thing up to the red line -get all the real sound out of it.
We capture that raw and keep that forever because we would want to go back to those files, we know how that car sounds then we mix it so it works well with our physics system but at its base it’s still that real car.
At our studio we have in the corner a bunch of these ugly looking pipes just stacked up against the wall and they’re pretty tall -six to eight feel tall pipes- people ask what sort of modern sculpture is this? But when you look at them closely they’re all tagged with car names on it like WRX etc. This is because to really get the sound characteristics out of the car we not only want to hear what it sounds like as stock but we want to hear its upgrades, so we do things such as bolt on a straight pipe and see what that sounds like. So we have all these cars with these pipes that were created just for that. Slap on a straight pipe to the exhaust and you get this totally rich sound and that’s one of the many ways we capture the sound of as many cars as we possibly can.
andPOP- Now this has been labeled the year of the racing game. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of comparisons and what not but what sets you apart in terms of non gameplay? What do you see Forza offer that your competition does not address?
Turn 10- So a lot of racing games will chose once specific experience like Need for Speed shift. They say – this is the racer experience- as close as you can get to be an actual race car driver. I think they do a really good job delivering that experience. Forza focuses more on -we are going to give you a way to experience everything you want to about cars- this is about car passion, connecting with cars, its about the fact that if I am not a fantastic racer I can still have a good time with this car. We have people who will buy Forza and never race in the game, instead they spend their time painting cars and making beautiful works of art then posting them online and that’s how they want to experience their cars. We got people who are tuners and maybe are not the best racers in the world but they can tune a car like its nobody’s business. There people who are drifters who don’t care about who is fastest from point A to B; what they care about is stylistic driving and making a really cool experience for people to look at and ask how did you do that?
andPOP- So maybe you’re thinking about more of an online community experience because I don’t see a community feature in most racing games like this. I could just be doing art and design and still be connected.
Turn 10- Exactly, so now we’ve added in the director mode so if you were to make a really awesome movie about forza now you can. Get eight players together orchestrate the race. Say you wanted to go like this- maybe create some drama moments or tension moments or maybe you want people to race in this manner, then you can capture it choose your own camera angles and pick your clips that you want to showcase. You can export them into movies and splice them all together once you got them created. So that’s another way people can say- I got a unique way of experiencing this stuff so I want to share it with the world.
andPOP- Now is there a download content to expand the video capture/editor? Are there any upgrades planned in that specific area?
Turn 10- Not yet, we are very focused right now to get the game out. After we ship the game much of the people are going to take some time off. Then we are all about the content you will get on day one as there were a couple of cars and tracks that we couldn’t ship with the game. From there its about what do we want to ship next? Sure we have over 400 cars but there are always new cars that people want. There is the 2010 and 2011 models and cars that have not been announced yet. We will go find those- create them in the game so people will always have something new to play with. Anything regarding online or even editors is up in the air because we have to see what the community demands first. A lot of things that we put in the game comes from feedback we received. You know people saying, this was great but I wish you had this or this is fine but you can improve it this way. So we look at it and go yeah! You’re right! We ask ourselves, can we do that? Then figure out a way to make it happen.
andPOP- W have heard a lot about dynamic weather thrown into racing games these days. I’m not seeing dynamic weather being implemented in the simulation racer area but I want to know what’s your take on dynamic weather?
Turn 10- Dynamic weather is something we always look at, we go how can we do this? It’s dramatic! It’s a cool moment and you go wow look at all that rain and lightening. But it always comes down to priorities, you can’t do absolutely everything, so we focus back on the core reason of what you want to be doing in the game. One of those priorities this time was to make it as beautiful as we could and that meant we had to handcraft every experience people were going to have on the track. So any track you chose or any car you take will be an amazing experience since you can get to it as close as you want to it. It’s a fully immersible experience because we focus so much on hand crafting everything.
If you’re going to add in dynamic weather then it’s a trade off. Now we have to look at if the weather changes you have to make sure the track can support that in every aspect. We prioritized by making a beautiful-visual and mechanical- experience over that.
Not to say that is not something we don’t want- we would absolutely love to do dynamic weather, it’s just a question of trade offs.
andPOP- Now is there talk at Turn 10 about expanding into any other motor sports such as bikes?
Turn 10- Before we announced Forza 3 people who were playing Forza 2 were wondering what’s Turn 10 doing next? Rumors got so big that we announced we were doing Forza Watersports! We posted pictures of water simulation we had going for one of our tracks. So what we did is take out the whole track and just show a car floating above water.. yea Forza Water sports! But that was just all in good fun.
Our team is built out of people who really connect with cars, not to say that’s all they do. So like myself , I will never be a great tuner because I don’t know cars as deep as some of these people do. But we have really built our studio around the love of cars, connection with cars, passion of cars, so that’s the core of what our studio is. As far as what we do in the future, we got people who are in the studio who race motorcycles semi professionally (some even professionally) and their always wondering why don’t we do something with Motorcycles? We have people with all kinds of different aspects to them, so you find some stuff makes it into the game such as people on staff who are amazing photographers – it’s their passion-they formed our photo mode in the game and outlined what they needed in the game to take good pictures. In that way even though we made our studio on the love of cars, there are lots of things we can still do.
andPOP- Alright my final question, we all know there are many conventional game influences in Forza, but what I want to know is there any unconventional games or ideas that were a huge influence on this third itiration? Anything outside the norm of racing games?
Turn 10- Yea! Absolutely! First off Dan Greenwall, who is the design director for Forza Motorsport at Turn 10, he sets a lot of the experiences we want gamers to walk away with- to turn gamers into car lovers and car lovers into gamers. So some of the things we wanted to do in the game we kind of ran out of inspiration from games in general and so we had to look elsewhere. For the community aspect of the game we had to look to inspirations such as eBay, twitter, facebook, and ask how do you build a rich community app? These are paradigms that really didn’t exist in games and thus we were inspired by how well some of these things work. Asking questions like,what makes them successful? Why do these succeed where others have failed? What are the key elements of design we can pull from and put into Forza? So thats what we looked at.
andPOP- Thank you very much for the interview! We at andPOP are very excited for the game!