Age, gender or disabilities should not be a barrier to playing videogames, the creator of Forza Motorsport 7 has said.
The latest title in the popular franchise contains a range of accessibility features that ensure people with poor vision or colour blindness can also enjoy racing hundreds of sports cars.
Turn 10, the developer behind Forza 7, said making videogames available for everyone to play is one of the first aspects its team considers.
“The vision for the game is to bring a larger and more diverse community together, who are passionate about cars and racing. We don’t want age, gender or any disabilities getting in the way of that,” said Dan Greenawalt, Creative Director at Turn 10.
“Accessibility is just part of our development process, and we look at it all the way along. Every year we invest more, we take a couple of steps forward on each version and we do more things. It’s very important to us; it’s right at the core of our vision.
“In Forza 7 there is a level of auto-steering that means the car will navigate the track for you; there’s a level of auto-braking that means you really don’t have to do anything else. That was all about accessibility. The racing line used to be green and red, now it’s green and blue, and that was to make sure it didn’t affect people with a certain type of colour blindness. The controllers have multi-USB support, which helps with a lot of bespoke accessibility controllers that disabled gamers can use on PCs.
“We have also included audible cues, so a sight-challenged player can know they are approaching the end of traction and how far out of traction they are.”
Forza 7 is available to buy now on PC and Xbox One and will be released on the Xbox One X on November 7, when the new console launches. Speaking at a Forza event at Silverstone recently, professional Porsche driver Dino Zamparelli said he was “blown away” by how realistic the game is.
The high level of detail in the game is only possible thanks to the hardware in the Xbox One X – the most powerful console ever made. It offers 40% more power than rival devices, while its six-teraflop engine and built-in supersampling gives gamers better textures, smoother framerates and faster load times, even on a 1080p TV. Players can record game clips in 4K at 60 frames per second and capture 4K screenshots.
“I’ve played Forza 7 and it’s amazing. Everything feels real and the track models are so realistic, nothing is out of place,” said Zamparelli, who finished second in this year’s Porsche Carrera Cup for Great Britain. “The 4K graphics feel sharp and crisp, while the feeling of the car is pretty bang on, too. Every detail is impressive.”
The 25-year-old, who has been racing since the age of 14, added that Forza 7 was so realistic it could help him learn tracks if he played it at home. He believes it could also help turn a gamer into a professional driver.
“If you put a driving rig in my house with Forza 7, I could spend a lot of time on it and sharpen my skills. It would help me. It would be interesting to see someone who has spent a lot of time on these games and then move them to a proper car and see how far off [the fastest times] they were. I don’t think they would be too far away at all; they would be pretty close.”
According to Greenawalt, there has been “a ton of change” since Forza 6. Forza 7 features more than 30 tracks and over 700 cars, including the largest collection of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches ever, and each one has been authentically recreated, inside and out.
The game will run at 60 frames per second in 4K resolution with High-Dynamic Range (HDR); so, when the weather changes during races (another new feature), the sunlight reflecting off puddles and the clouds slowly rolling in will look more realistic than ever before.
Other new features include OneDrive music streaming, so players can listen to their favourite songs as they drive.
It will also be the first Forza to put the driver front and centre of the action, making the characters completely customisable – from physical appearance to clothes.
This level of detail couldn’t be achieved without working closely with the car manufacturers who feature in the game, Greenawalt added.
“We were working directly with the engineers at Porsche, before that with Ford, and we’ve worked with engineers on race teams like Audi. That allowed us to get a lot of data on their cars, and their expertise. Being able to work with some of the most highly sought-after engineers in the world and swap notes has been incredible.”
Greenawalt believes that despite the impressive graphics and performance of the latest Forza game, the history of the 12-year franchise, which has racked up more than $1 billion in retail sales, has proved that each instalment will be better than the last.
“The thing with Forza’s history is there has always been something new,” he said. “I think e-sports is where there is a lot of interest, embracing a generation who have grown up watching Mixer and playing with controllers in their hands. They grew up thinking of e-sports as an equally valid form of sport. That means letting go of some of the old tropes in motorsport and embracing some of the things that makes today’s e-sports thrilling and exciting, taking some of those ideas and bringing them into racing.
“That’s a totally different approach but it’s that approach that allows for innovation, because you’re not looking at your competitors, you’re not looking backwards, you’re not looking in the obvious places, you’re actually looking at the cutting edge.”