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News video games 22 February 2024, 03:26

Forza Motorsport Co-Creator's Confessions Indicate That Microsoft is to Blame for State of Game

Adrian Campos, one of the co-developers of Forza Motorsport, shared his story of working with Turn 10 Studios. And his tale indicates that the poor state of the game at its release day may have largely due to the fact that Microsoft hires devs on short-term contracts, forcing staff turnover.

Source: Turn 10 Studios.

"How was it possible for this game to be released in such a state after six years of development?" This is a question that is frequently raised in the context of Forza Motorsport and all of its numerous problems. In truth, it was rather four years (the actual development process started in 2019), but we could still expect more from a game that took so long to develop compared to its predecessors. One of its co-creators recently shed some light on how this came about in a video posted to YouTube (below; via The Drive).

Significant story of Adrian Campos

Adrian Campos worked at Turn 10 studio from June 2022 to October 2023 as an environment artist. He left just before the game's release, wanting to stay longer but being prevented by the contract with the company.

Microsoft used to hire on contracts in a system called 18/6. This means a maximum of eighteen months of work, followed by six months without pay or (dismissal). This way, the corporation avoids covering the healthcare and associated expenses of employees.

Campos was aware of this when he began working, but he hoped that a full-time position would be offered to him before the end of the contract. Despite being praised by the management for his great performance, he didn't manage to secure that "honor" and had to leave - even though at that time he was leading the team responsible for modeling the route environment and didn't even have the time to leave any documentation or instructions for his successor, as he was constantly dealing with new locations (including those added in updates every month).

By the way, Campos quickly received the promotion to team leader. After only a few weeks of work, he discovered that the people who were implementing him were reaching the end of a similar contract, and suddenly he was alone with the task of developing and refining the environment for all 20 routes announced for the game's release. Although Turn 10 soon assigned three more people to help him, Adrian had to mostly figure out for himself how the game's engine works and how to use the available tools to efficiently lead the team.

Part of a greater problem

On a side note: Adrian Campos revealed that, as a fan of the anime Initial D, he really wanted to be able to work on a drift route, but he didn't get the chance. It can be concluded that we won't see the return of such a game mode to Forza Motorsport anytime soon, nor the arrival of the beloved Fujimi Kaido route, which fans have been speculating about even before the premiere.

This isn't the first time we've heard about the 18/6 system in Microsoft. Famous journalist Jason Schreier examined it, analyzing the equally controversial release of Halo Infinite in 2021.

The same situation must have impacted other areas of the studio, such as car model design or the programming of AI and driving physics, even though the story mentioned here only pertains to one position at Turn 10. Given the constant rotation of developers and gaps in training new staff, the high number of bugs and other shortcomings is less surprising, as is the apparent sluggishness in fixing them.

It's also surprising that a team of equal size was tasked with creating the environment around the routs - a particularly important task considering that we are talking about a AAA game advertised with the bold slogan "built from scratch," where the graphics were meant to play a crucial role in convincing players, especially with appealing landscapes, that they are dealing with a next gen title. Now we have a better understanding of why this slogan doesn't reflect reality in many aspects of the game. The same applies to the modest number of routes offered by Forza Motorsport at the release day.

Certainly, it's worth noting that the 18/6 system doesn't address all the problems of this game, and under Microsoft's wing, other studios are also developing highly successful games that have been thriving for years - take, for instance, the related Forza Horizon 5. On the flip side, it's possible to wonder how much the devs of these titles could have accomplished if the corporate employment system hadn't stood in their way...

Christopher Mysiak

Christopher Mysiak

Associated with since 2013, first as a co-worker, and since 2017 - a member of the Editorial team. Currently the head of the Game Encyclopedia. His older brother - a game collector and player - sparked his interest in electronic entertainment. He got an education as a librarian/infobroker - but he did not follow in the footsteps of Deckard Cain or the Shadow Broker. Before he moved from Krakow to Poznan in 2020, he was remembered for attending Tolkien conventions, owning a Subaru Impreza, and swinging a sword in the company's parking lot.