Forza Motorsport Kinect Impressions

[UPDATE] Turn 10 demos Kinect controls at the Microsoft press conference, and we later play it for ourselves to see how it feels.

Near the end of Microsoft's E3 2010 press conference, the publisher unveiled the latest driving game from the folks at Turn 10 studios. An official name for the product wasn't unveiled, but considering we saw the use of the familiar Forza 3 logo at several points, it might be safe to assume that this is an update of sorts to last year's Forza Motorsport 3. As you might expect from the Microsoft-owned Turn 10 Studios, this version of Forza will feature support for the Kinect motion-sensing system, which was put on display during the demo.

The two-part demo first started with a drive around the twisting, hilly Fujimi Kaido circuit in Japan. The demo driver held his hands out in front of him to steer, though from the demo video, it wasn't entirely clear how he was controlling acceleration, braking, or gear changing. That said, one cool (and particularly useful) trick that Kinect will allow you to perform is the ability to turn your head. You can look around the interior of the car, check your mirrors, or look into the corners when making a sharp turn. The timed mode demo required the player to pass an endless stream of competitor cars, with the player earning more points as he passed each additional car.

While the first part of the demo focused on the driving, part two was all about the cars--a gorgeous red Ferrari, to be exact. Using Kinect's motion-sensing features, the demoer was able to walk around the car, view it at different angles, and highlight specific aspects, such as the headlights and engine. Later in the demo, the driver-side door opened and the demoer was able to climb into the driver's seat and have a look around. Forza 3 was the first game in the series to have realistic cockpits, and it looks like those art assets are paying off for the Kinect version, based on our look at the detailed cockpit and steering wheel. The demoer could even seemingly interact with the car here--as the presentation ended, the demoer touched the "Engine Start" button and was met with the familiar Ferrari roar of the engine before the screen faded to black.

Of course, there's much more to learn about this Kinect-enhanced version of Forza, which is due for release in 2011. We're primarily curious about the different modes this game will feature, as well as whether it will be a stand-alone product or a title update to Forza 3. For these answers and more, we'll be following the game's progress here at E3 2010 and throughout the rest of the year.

[UPDATE] After seeing Forza Motorsport's implementation of Kinect during the Microsoft press conference this morning, tonight we had a chance to play it for ourselves as well as chat with Turn 10 creative director Dan Greenawalt. First thing's first: Greenawalt made it clear that we saw today was not a downloadable update or patch for the copy of Forza Motorsport 3 you have sitting on your shelf at home. This is a stand-alone package, complete with visual improvements that you wouldn't see without significant updates to the core game engine. However, what that package entails is still a big question mark: Turn 10 and Microsoft wouldn't say whether this was a sneak peak at Forza 4, Forza 3: Connect Edition, or what have you. Time will tell on that one.

So while we don't know how it's arriving in stores, we do know how it plays. The demo was broken into two halves: what Turn 10 calls the driving experience, and the car experience. The driving experience was a 90 second race down Fujimi Kaido in a cherry red Ferrari 458. With breaking and acceleration set to automatic, our job was to stand in front of the system and hold our hands out as if clutching a steering wheel, and just let our imagination flow. Steering with Kinect proved to be much more accurate than we were expecting. We did quite well in the race, and only managed to smash into a wall once--though we did smash into a Toyota Yaris or two pretty good.

The most delightful surprise of the driving experience was seeing the way the game tracks the movement of your head and shoulders. Leaning side to side twists the interior cockpit view to get a better perspective of your periphery, while moving toward and away from the camera allows you to zoom your view in and out--something that might prove useful when trying to make out a distant turn on an unfamiliar track. Turn 10 seemed proud of the visual improvements they've made to the cockpit view thus far, with a number of shaders added to better reflect the way light and shadows dance around the interior of the car.

After this race, it was on to the car experience. You got the gist of what this mode is all about in our initial update--it's basically a tool to let you use Kinect to walk around a car, look at it from different angles, and basically just use technology to ogle a beautiful car like you'd never be able to in real life. Kinect tracks your movements, including crouching to stare at the headlights, and tiliting your head to quickly pan around to the other side. Raising up your hand produces a number of highlight points to interact with the car. Doing so on the door allows you to open the car up and take a look inside, while highlighting the paintbrush icon lets you paint the car on the fly. However, there are also information icons that trigger a voiceover and slick text overlay giving you history and numbers on a given part of the car. For example, highlighting the engine on the Ferrari 458 reveals that Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher had a role in designing this vehicle, and other various little factoids.

This car-viewing mode definitely strikes us as something that existing Forza fans are going to gobble up, while the controller-free driving seems like another gesture to welcome in casual fans of the racing genre. We're looking forward to finding out more about this latest Forza game down the line, so keep an eye out for more coverage.

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Discussion

84 comments
thenephariouson
thenephariouson

I think the Kinect 'Head Tracking' combined with a wheel or even controller will be a great experience. Cant Wait : )

treepop99
treepop99

I am not expecting anything more than a gimmick from the Kinect feature.

shadow551991
shadow551991

honestly i cant distinct whether thats a video-game or real thing!

johnnykev
johnnykev

Darkwiz007 Posted Jan 29, 2011 2:53 am CT Forza 3 > GT5 just look at the ratings Gamespot gave the two games if you need more convincing = ) Look before you leap. I don't know if using a Gamespot review for "convincing" is the best idea. I do agree after spending a lot of time with both that Forza has come out as the superior gaming experience, but I've got to acknowledge that even that statement is just opinion of mine.

Darkwiz007
Darkwiz007

Forza 3 > GT5 just look at the ratings Gamespot gave the two games if you need more convincing = ) Look before you leap.

Darkwiz007
Darkwiz007

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Jacob96Torres
Jacob96Torres

@Dasim yea i agree if they can make the game so that you can use the steering wheel and have the kinect motion pick up the head movements it would be very cool

Dasim64
Dasim64

What I really want for driving is to use my Fanatec wheel and pedals for controlling the car but my Kinect to still pick up my head movements so I can look into on coming corners. I do not want to be forced to use a nonexistent steering wheel in order to get the head turning capability. If they can't allow for simultaneous use of both controllers then I see this as a total failure.

tenaus
tenaus

Good point.To be honest I am not that much into driving games, but forza 4 does look good.

M3ran
M3ran

@tenaus i have not been commenting here since Jun 19, 2010 ,so it means i have better things to do than comment on forza, it is 22nd of july !!! why did u even comment right now? forza 4 is coming out,have u seen it,it looks good:D

tenaus
tenaus

@M3ran Don't you have anything better to do? oh wait GT5 isn't out yet..

AKADreyadigg
AKADreyadigg

maybe we will see night time in this version- have yet to buy 3... but I plan on buying it before the new session of university

Blitzkrieg129
Blitzkrieg129

My only question is that I have the wireless racing wheel from microsoft. I would much prefer using that than Kinect. Will I be able to use my racing wheel with kinect (use racing wheel for racing but still move my head to 'look' and such)? Also, is this the official 'forza 4'?

M3ran
M3ran

@sammoth OK,so you prefer playing forza.Good for you brother. true gaming?huh, that is a complex matter as you know lets not even go there, forza is not good thought:)

sammoth
sammoth

@M3ran What does choosing one over the other have to do with being a true gamer. Fact is I enjoy Forza 3 right now. GT5 still isn't out yet and is missing a ton of features that Forza Provides. Keep In mind I'm not the one going over to a GT5 thread stating why I like Forza over GT5.

M3ran
M3ran

@sammoth you cal your self a true gamer yet you choose forza over GT, this conversation is gonna go on forever if i keep answering and mentioning you over and over.and i think you are gonna stick to your forza.(not my problem) iam just happy i will be buying GT5 in nov hopefully. so you can have fun with forza.

sammoth
sammoth

@M3ran Ignorance is bliss. I’ve played all the Previous GT games and PGR. I own a PS3 360 and a PC gamming Rig. I am what you call a true gamer who plays a lot of different games. As Of Right now Forza has my mark on the GT series because it's out and playable. Did u also know you will not have 10000 cars in GT5 also all collision dmg wont be on all the cars. Only thing Gt5 has over Forza atm for me is Off Road Rally, and Weather but, that’s it. As Far as graphics there about the same. Forza on other hand has custom paint jobs, auction house "I make money whenI am not even playing the game". and a coummunity. Untill the GT can put all those features in it's just nothing but, a great looking racing game.

M3ran
M3ran

@sammoth oh yea have u HEARD???NOV second :p i can wait...

M3ran
M3ran

@sammoth so are you one of those guys that dont own a ps3 and are real mad at sony? it sure looks this way,i like games yea i enjoy playing xbox360 and ps3,at least see the truth that GT games are way better than forza and its kind. have u ever played any of the GT games series?cuz i have played forza and PGR4 and im saying my opinion according to what i have played and experinced!

sammoth
sammoth

@M3ran Wait I wasn't aware GT5 was art I thought it was a video game.LMAO To make a long story short It better live up to the Hype for a game ESP a Racing Sim for taking this long to develop but, in the mean time I guess you can enjoy your $40 demo. Ill enjoy My Forza 3 ATM and Like it. Forza 3 might not be special "as You Would Call it" At least i can play it. Hate to break it to you niether one of thse games are real racing sims so you can through the whole idea out the window. It is a Racing Game Period.

M3ran
M3ran

@ Balck_soul well who said i havnt played ,i got forza 3 and it looks really fake.you know i see that they are trying but it seems they love to rush their so called art. basically they are trying to keep up. so yeah i have played and own forza3.but nothing special in it just like PGR4

M3ran
M3ran

@sammoth first of all no GT5 isnt out,and im happy it isnt out yet,we all know you cant rush art and this one is a masterpiece.and sammoth i can tell you that time is on our side. the more we wait the better it gets and you guys will see the end result and then i would love to see your faces :)

Balck_soul
Balck_soul

@ M3ran dude if u haven't played forza at all u really can't talk , one of the best driving games by farrrrr.

IceJester45
IceJester45

This looks really cool. This and "Child of Eden" are the two reasons I'm buying Kinect.

sammoth
sammoth

@M3ran So how is GT5 working out for the PS3 is it even out yet its going on 5 years already.

M3ran
M3ran

if you wanna play a driving simulator wait wait wait and then buy GT5. forza is trying so hard yet i cant see anything new on it.just good modeling of the cars

WardCleaver02
WardCleaver02

Using Kinect for driving does not appeal to me, but using Kinect to look around in the cockpit view, and to admire your ride seems cool.

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

Sounds naff! Give me a proper wheel for a Sim driver and my joypad for arcade/offroad!!!

blakeney
blakeney

If you turn off the auto accelerater and brakes, how do you control them yourself? Kinect is looking more and more fail like eyetoy......

familialewis
familialewis

So I wonder if speed and acceleration being set to automatic is the only way to play the game. That just makes the game very to play. I guess is a nice flashy entry type of game play but the hard core gamers I think that this will not cut it. I mean, will the thousnds of the Forza Players get this game (given that they own the kinetic) just so that the car looks prettier and walk around the car. There is no acceleration or breaking. no real skills required.

Nodyoxide
Nodyoxide

I think kinect is a big failure cause it doesn't give you all the options but playstation move is way better cause there's still 2 controllers which means more options if not full options ..

4themob1
4themob1

I love Forza, all 3 versions. While I will still prefer the control of an analog stick even to the wheel, my kids would love to drive with this game especially if they only had to control steering. I will buy this if only for a way to allow my children to enjoy beautiful car racing without the frustration they feel trying to control a sim.

Megamanx266
Megamanx266

Looks like if developers take Kinect seriously they'll be able to at least do something decent with it. Sounds interesting so far.

Suly_K
Suly_K

@AlecHP234 you can control acceleration and breaking, you just have to change the settings lol

AlecHP234
AlecHP234

I think that this would be really great if the breaking and acceleration hadn't been automatic. I like the looks of everything else in the game. The steering sounds very accurate. However, I really wish that they could have come up with a way to control breaking/acceleration, then I would have considered getting this.

hitmaneidos
hitmaneidos

I'm in if I can prance around the car like a little pony.

Dire_Weasel
Dire_Weasel

"With breaking [sic] and acceleration set to automatic, our job was to stand in front of the system and hold our hands out as if clutching a steering wheel, and just let our imagination flow." I was wondering how they would handle other car functions that didn't involve pretending to use a steering wheel. Looks like another Mimetic fail.

AngelCage-2
AngelCage-2

Turn your head and the camera turns to show the mirrors and cockpit: But... you aren't looking at the screen anymore isn't? Automatic Acceleration and braking: Eh? soon enough there will be not only driving games with automatic acceleration and brake, but automatic steering too! This is so stupid. It have to be a joke!

fast2ghl
fast2ghl

@ afrosud12 - that shade of red on a Ferrari is actually known as Rosso Corsa not firetruck red! But who am I to tell you, you're an enthusiast?

Abhishekps
Abhishekps

when first i see it i think its real

green_dominator
green_dominator

I definitely won't be buying Kinect and I definitely won't be getting this version of Forza.....

lordgodalming
lordgodalming

"With breaking and acceleration set to automatic..." WHAT?! How is that a driving game? Even Mario Kart lets you control acceleration and breaking.

ukogmickey
ukogmickey

I will stick to my wheel thanks, But then saying that I wont be buying another Forza unless they sort out the multiplayer. Its nothing but Smash and Bash in Forza 3. But yeah I will always prefer my wheel.

gtone09
gtone09

Kinect opinion on Forza: So this feature is good for casual players. But for hardcore sims, definitely NOT the right choice for them to use.

afrosud12
afrosud12

firetruck red, not "cherry". if you don't know that then you have no place reporting on a car enthusiast's game hmph (turns up nose)

pepitko
pepitko

If they can mix it up, so that I would control the car while sitting/laying with my gamepad and use the natal, sorry Kinect, to register my head and shoulder movement to rotate the inside-the-car camera, I'm in.

jroder
jroder

@ rmongjoco Dude!! I totally saw it! the courser moves way before his hand does! its right after he gets in and closes the door and looks around. The courser moves up to the steering wheel a couple seconds before his hand even moves!

jroder
jroder

Having to worry about my head position and my proximity to the Tv does not sound very fun to me. I dont want to have to worry about staying perfectly still to get a straight ahead view. Kinect and Move just sounds dumb to me. I dont know why people think motion controls are the way to go. I will not be into anything but a controller until they invent a virtual reality game that really does put you into the game rather than you just imitating movements watching your tv. Holodeck style!