You heard it right! Fans have got their voice heard and Playground Games have been making another attempt on improving the engine sounds. Due to plenty of backlashes from the community, it’s about time to fix the sounds as most of the feedback is regarded to its inaccuracy. It’s been months of complete silence from the studio and that has left fans questionable whether it’s being ignored or if something big is about to come.
For those who saw the E3 gameplay, you may have noticed that some cars didn’t sound too familiar. The known Forza influencer called Beeltecomet have had contacts with the team ever since mid 2010 and been somewhat close to Turn 10. As it turns out, Beetlecomet finally had to ask whether something’s been changed, and the answer we received did put a smile on our faces:
You've all been asking me one question:
"Are the car sounds improved in #ForzaHorizon5?"
I've got some exciting news to share from @Turn10Studios:
— Alan Walsh 🏳️🌈 🇲🇽 #ForzaHorizon5 (@BeetleComet) June 17, 2021
Apparently, it’s been investigated “significantly”, meaning they have most likely changed the sound for hundreds of vehicles. There were a few periods in Forza Horizon 4 where developers would release updates with new sound files for selected cars, but clearly nothing that were prioritised. The cars featured in the trailer may haven’t reached that level of realism we’d wish for, however, it’s so much more realistic comparing to Forza Horizon 4.
What’s the best for the franchise overall is to reduce the number of cars that share identical sound files, which is often required because of the enormous car roster. As far as I can tell, Playground Games are well aware of that issue and have done their best to avoid the copy pasting. With these fantastic news, I can almost guarantee that fans will be satisfied.
How do you create audio files?
Why is it so hard to get accurate audio files into the game? The entire process, from finding a car in decent shape, to complete audio files could be months of work. It all depends on the rarity of the car, the car’s shape, weather, temperature and so on.
For instance, Audio developer for Playground Games had massive difficulties trying to record the sound of the famous McLaren Senna at the time Forza Horizon 4 was in development. At that time, only 3 units were available in the entire Europe and that’s not the only problem. Once they’ve got the key in their hands, they must rev it until it hits the red line. As lead audio designer Fraser mentioned during the update 9 livestream: “You’re basically telling them to drive the opposite way they’ve ever driven before… most people don’t want to hit the rev limiter because at that point, you’re basically breaking your car”. Not every person is willing to do so, especially with million-dollar cars.
Once the recording part is done, you will need to transfer the files back to the studio and start the editing process. Even though it’s the simpler part of the process, it’s still very time-consuming, considering you have 500 other cars to edit! Even I keep asking myself how a single person could possibly have time for all this work.
You also have to fix a unique file if you install a turbo, another file if you install a supercharger and eventually more files depending on your in-game upgrades. It’s usually the editing parts where things could either end up great or catastrophic. The video above explains the entire process more in-depth. And the reason for having several cars with same sound comes down to limited time. A two-year development cycle clearly wasn’t enough, and that’s why Playground Games made it three years for Forza Horizon 5.
The future seems promising too
It’s safe to say that engine sound will become a prioritised topic as long as the community starts to raise their voice. Playground Games always listen to fans and bring whatever’s being requested. Or at least trying their best to make fans’ wishes come true. We have the upcoming Forza Motorsport which does not have a release date, but it’s going to be focusing more on realism. That should also include sound. While most cars share sound from the Horizon series, there are plenty of them with unique files. To be fair, it’s ineffective not to share, but Turn 10 and Playground Games probably have a reason not to share sound with each other.
Fans should expect more realism, but slightly different sounds. You will understand me if you compare the sound of the Lamborghini Aventador in Forza Horizon 4 and Motorsport 7. They’re both somewhat accurate, yet so different. All in all, both studios are well aware of the situation and will try their best to deliver the content we’ve asked for.
If you haven’t seen the E3 gameplay yet, make sure you put your headphones on and listen carefully to these beautiful roaring engines. It sure is improved and hopefully the other cars will keep up with the same quality.