Turn 10 Studios’ Forza Motorsport 5 is a launch title exclusive for the Xbox One. That means that studio head Dan Greenawalt and his team are on a tight schedule to have the game out and ready by the time the Xbox One goes on sale. As with any console, games need to be certified and sent off so that copies can be printed and packaged for retail. That takes time, and time is something Turn 10 is in short supply of.
As a result of this, when you buy Forza 5 at retail, you’re only getting a portion of the game. You’ll need to download the rest of the game before you play it for the first time.
About a month ago this wouldn’t have been an issue as anyone owning an Xbox One would have picked up the console knowing full well that an Internet connection is required. Now that Microsoft has shirked this requirement, it’s left Turn 10 in the unenviable position of having a game that requires an Internet connection for a console that was just altered to satiate the needs of those who don’t have Internet access.
“So when you first boot up the game, we’re going to ask you to log in, and when you log in you’re going to get the Drivatars and you’re also going to get a whole bunch of content: tracks and cars,” Greenawalt explained to IGN. “Our production schedule is such that we are putting them in as late as possible and that means making them free as downloadable content on Day One.”
Oh wait, that sounds like free, day one DLC, right? No. This is content that is required for the game to actually work. According to Greenawalt, adding in this content as late as possible helps the development team create “the biggest game possible”.
This obviously begs the following questions: is this day one requirement a result of a constrained development schedule? Alternatively, was this always Turn 10’s intention considering the fact that the Xbox One used to require an Internet connection? Extrapolating this even further, would this have become a trend with Xbox One developers: no need to sell the complete game on the disc because everybody with an Xbox One would have had an Internet connection anyway, which means developers could push development time to almost the last couple of days (hours?) before the game launches.
It’s one thing to have a day one patch for a game that already plays out of the box, but to have a day one requirement where you download the missing parts of the game before it even runs? Was this part of Microsoft’s grand vision for next-gen connectivity that people are moaning about missing since the Xbox One online requirements reversal? If so, I’d say console gaming dodged a bullet.