Forza Horizon developers to sort out the 'broken' AI Drivatars
'Unbeatable' Drivatars will lose their physics-defying abilities with a new AI system currently being tested internally.
Forza Horizon 4 and Forza Motorsport 7 are critically well-received, but by no means perfect. One of the most obvious examples is the Drivatar AI, which is a mixed bag to say the least.
Luckily, then, Turn 10 Studios announced in the latest Forza Monthly podcast that change is coming although there is no word on when smarter AI players will be added. Presumably the same system will also make it into Forza Horizon 4.
Much of the AI criticism stems from the fact Drivatars can turn defy gravity, especially at the toughest 'Unbeatable' difficulty level. Turning without penalty in the rain, going faster than a Koenigsegg Agera RS in a Ford Focus RS and faultless driving are obvious examples.
This leaves a situation where only some races are feasible in a very particular set of cars, usually ones with all-wheel drive to get an all-important quick start off the line. It's not the best situation for players, especially on shorter tracks.
On the flip-side, the AI sometimes give up entirely. On Forza Horizon 4's 24.6-mile Goliath circuit, there are two corners where all cars launch off into someone's garden and you never see them again if you are in a high-powered car and know how to drive.
The plan with the new AI system, which is being worked on by an entire team, is to make them more human, mistakes and all, and avoid using the current "ridiculous power settings" responsible for their heightened performance.
Creative Director Chris Esaki, who joined the studio in November and is responsible for everything Forza Motorsport 7 post-launch, specifically mentions he dislikes 'rubber banding' (where the AI catches up super fast or slows down) and that he wants to get rid of it.
Esaki says testing of a new AI driving line has already netted "really good results" internally, which will work nicely in a game that involves racing around the confines of a circuit. But whether that will be enough for Forza Horizon 4's wider, traffic lined world remains to be seen.
For those who struggle to beat the Unbeatable AI (or even the Expert level and below), we doubt the new system will do much to help. Esaki says one of the aims is to make the top setting akin to that of a ForzaRC professional. Yikes.
Also mentioned in the Forza Monthly podcast was the Forza Race Regulation, which will see drivers penalised for taking advantage of shortcuts. An issue that is long overdue if you ask die-hard racers.
There is, however, still a long way to go before its release, the studio noted, but more details will be discussed in the next podcast. The bad news is that the release has been pushed back to 2019.
Changing the system has meant redrawing each entire circuit's layout boundaries, which will see current lap records be archived and a new leaderboard appear for times set in a post Forza Race Regulation world.
If all of that sound way too complicated, just know that a free-ish Hot Wheels Car Pack is coming to Forza Motorsport 7 on the 7th of November, celebrating 50 years of the famous toy car maker.