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343 Car Enthusiasts Talk Forza 5 - Part 1

By bs angel -

343 Car Enthusiasts Talk Forza 5

From former race car drivers to car enthusiasts, 343 Industries has a lot of gearheads in the studio. When they’re not working on Halo, they’re dreaming of cars. 343 Industries Associate Producer / Playtest Coordinator James Bachici is one of these motorheads that also moonlights for BMWBlog. James recently sat down with some of 343’s biggest automobile fans to pick their brains about the cars they love, what they’re excited about driving in Forza Motorsport 5, and more.

Kiki Wolfkill

What is your role at 343 Industries and what does a normal workday look like for you?

I am an Executive Producer at 343. I was the EP on Halo 4 and am now EP on secret top secret Halo secret stuff including the not-so-secret Halo TV series. There's a lot of lounging and eating of bonbons... wait, that's someone else's life.

What was your first car?

A 1977 Mazda Truck also known as the Mazda Rotary Pick-Up, or Mazda REPU (its slogan was the “the pickup with pickup”). Not glamorous but highly-functional. I remember it let out a really loud-pitched beep when you hit the rev limiter.

So, when did you realize you have a passion for cars/trucks/bikes?

When I tried to jump my tricycle off a small ramp a la Evel Knievel. I failed… excessively.

So this is much safer! Which cars are you excited to drive in Forza 5?

The Aston Martin Racing DBR9 (too poor to buy in-game yet) and of course the new McLaren P1, it’s too sexy to pass up. The 2012 Lotus Exige S has got to be a perfect track racer, too.

Those are some really nice cars! Given the opportunity and an unlimited budget, what one car would you consider buying from the world of Forza 5, and why?

I would be torn between the Aston Martin Vanquish and the Ford GT (2005) – both are gorgeous from a design perspective and have that balance of grace, power, and aggressiveness that I dig in a car. If I were smarter, I’d go for something like the original Ford GT but I’m not that bright.

What do you think about the new Forza/Halo Livery?

I’m continually blown away by the power of the livery editor and what can be created – I love having all the new materials to play with since frankly my livery skills are well, undeveloped.

What do you currently drive?

I drive a 2013 Porsche Cayman S.

If the Master Chief got transported to the present, what car would he drive?

The 1969 Ford Mustang Boss of course… the name says it all. That said, he is 7’2” so his only choice might be 343’s own Warthog.

Any interesting car/truck/motorcycle stories you’d like to share?

All of the above. Cars and motorsports have been a huge passion and part of my life for as long as I can remember, I’m lucky that way. A brief (cautionary) tale – if you’re ever in a cross-country driving ‘event’ and you get caught in Arkansas for speeding on a country back road (because there’s a road block on the freeway) and the cop is accompanied by his civilian buddy in a stained t-shirt that doesn’t fully cover his freckled beer belly… cry, cry a lot. And turn off the in-car camera so you don’t capture your co-driver screaming out scenes from Deliverance.

Semi-joking aside, the best in-car experience I've ever had was actually as a passenger in an original Porsche 935 RUF at Le Mans. An ex-Porsche factory driver was at the wheel, it was raining, and we were going down the front straight at 205+ mph. Wheel spin on every shift and a closing speed on turn 1 that was unreal. Best, most frightening, awe-inspiring ride evar.

During your race days, did you ever have any pre-race rituals?

I actually used to take a 10-minute nap. I’d lay down in the trailer to clear my head and have a brief snooze.

A lot of racers are superstitious. How about yourself?

I did have a pair of lucky race day, ummm, skivvies.

When you hear “Cannonball Run” what comes to mind?

Disturbingly, both Burt Reynolds and my parents, but not together. My parents did the real Cannonball back in 1979 setting the record for the fastest Porsche to cross the United States; NY to LA in 35 hours, not too shabby without an extra gas tank!

Frank O’Connor

Outside of wrangling Mister Chief, what is your role at 343 Industries and what does a normal workday look like for you?

I am the franchise development director and a normal day could be anything from reading a script to helping build the replica Warthog. Actually there’s no such thing as a regular day. My job entails working on the entirety of the franchise, from comic books to games, to TV to toys and back again.

What was your first car?

A white Nissan Micra. Euro spec. I believe it had a naturally aspirated 1.2 liter engine. And a MASSIVE bolt on spoiler and ground effects thanks to the aftermarket psycho who had it before me. I also believe the windshield wipers produced more hp than the engine.

A white Nissan Micra. Euro spec. through the eyes of Frankie.

Sounds like some powerful windshield wipers! When did you realize you had a passion for cars/trucks/bikes?

I have always loved cars, from childhood onwards. Some of my first memories are staring at the reflections of myself in the ubiquitous chrome (back in the day) of bumpers.

Which cars are you excited to drive in Forza 5?

I love driving exotics, naturally, because I can’t get close to that in my real life driving but I tend to enjoy the AWD souped-up S classes from Audi and the not-quite-exotic lux-sports stuff. I am also kind of interested in the new open wheel stuff. Wearing a helmet while commuting in a car has to be a pretty interesting experience.

Given the opportunity and an unlimited budget, what one car would you consider buying from the world of Forza 5, and why?

McLaren F1 makes the most practical sense, since it’s a three seater and I could use it for the 520 carpool lane. Just being rational, you see.

What do you think about the new Forza/Halo Liveries?

I literally have a hard time believing how amazing the results are. It’s hard enough to create cool designs with unrestricted tools, but Forza’s (necessary) restrictions seem to have this perversely liberating effect on what the community is capable of.

Which Livery is your favorite?

The Halo design for the Boss Mustang, dur. I am working on a sweet Mister Chief though.

What do you currently drive?

A Mazda CX7 and a Honda Fit, depending on what I’m doing.

If the Master Chief got transported to the present, which car do you think would he drive?

Well he’s welcome to drive the life size Warthog replica we built, but for a daily driver I see him in an Audi S8 because it’s giant, it’s mental and it would be foolish to mess with it at a traffic light or a muddy track.

Any interesting car/truck/motorcycle stories you’d like to share?

Yes. The other day a person I am convinced was Dave Matthews (from the band) glared at me for cutting him off, or rather, hesitantly driving around him because I couldn’t tell if he was parking or leaving. I also once drove a Lamborghini Diablo (slowly, carefully and badly because the gearbox was terrifying), a Formula First racer (at dangerous speed because it gave me a false sense of security) and a Land Rover (off-road up crazy inclines) on the same day.

You’re a huge car guy and very well known in the Halo Community. A bit different than the exotics you like, tell us a bit about your Honda Fit!

The Honda Fit is the most powerful and exhilarating naturally aspirated V-TEC minivan/hatchback hybrid in the world. It is big enough to put a mountain bike and a 70 inch Sharp Aquos in at the same time. It has a secret compartment and I would describe the engine as “enthusiastic.” Top Fit Tip: If you don’t spring for the Sport version, you not only don’t get flappy paddle shifters, you don’t get a center arm rest. I discovered this too late.

Mike Ellis

What is your role at 343 Industries and what does a normal workday look like for you?

I work as Design Director for the Halo Publishing team. I’m normally up and at the office early for calls with our development partners. I then spend the rest of the day divided between meetings, planning for our projects and playing the latest builds of our games. If there’s any time remaining, I’ll actually get to do a little design work too.

What was your first car?

It was a 1996 Toyota Camry V6.

So when did you realize you had a passion for cars/trucks/bikes?

My love of cars stems right back to childhood – thanks to videogames! From a very early age I was driving everything from the Ferrari Testarossa in Sega’s ‘Out Run’ to the F1 cars in Geoff Crammond’s ‘Formula 1 Grand Prix’. For me cars have always been an exciting mix of industrial design and performance.

That's a lot of videogame racing experience! So which cars are you excited to drive in Forza 5?

1.       Pagani Huayra
2.       Nissian GT-R Black Edition
3.       2006 Aston Martin #007 Aston Martin Racing DBR9
4.       1986 Lancia Delta S4
5.       2014 Ford Fiesta ST

That's one heck of a menu. If you had an unlimited budget, what one car would you consider buying from the world of Forza 5, and why?

Pagani Huayra – its pure mad rocket science pretending to be a car.

What do you think about the new Forza/Halo Liveries?

It’s so cool to see these two mega game brands crossing over!

What do you currently drive?

2010 Golf GTi Mk6

If the Master Chief got transported to the present, what car do you think he would drive?

Something sporty, but rugged. Like the new Range Rover Sport.

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Make sure you come back this Friday when we'll post the second part of this feature!