Title: Forza Motorsports: A Complete Overhaul that Puts Skill and Competence in the Driver’s Seat
In the world of sim racing, six years is a significant amount of time. Forza Motorsports, one of the leading racing game franchises, has undergone a major overhaul since its last release in 2017. The team at Turn 10 Studios embarked on a project to tear down and rebuild almost every aspect of the game, aiming to create a new future for the racing game genre. The result is the biggest departure in series history since it first competed with Grand Tourism 18 years ago.
I had the opportunity to test the new Forza Motorsports, set to launch on October 10 for Xbox Series consoles and PC, at an event in New York. We delved into the game’s revised physics and experienced the first part of its new experimental single-player campaign, the Constructor’s Cup.
Revamped Physics and Handling
The driving experience in Forza Motorsports begins at the core – the physics and handling. The team at Turn 10 Studios aimed to raise the skill ceiling and improve the handling of the cars, making it more competitive for multiplayer racing. The first step was reorienting the tire model, increasing the contact points from a single point to eight, representing the outer edges of the tire’s contact patch. The polling rate of the physical model was also increased six times to ensure better fidelity.
However, this increased fidelity revealed flaws in the suspension behavior, which prompted the team to fix it. This process led to the discovery that the new physics caused cars to collide with the old track geometry in unexpected ways. As a result, the entire game’s environments had to be rebuilt.
During my time with Forza Motorsports, I had the chance to sample three cars in the introductory Builder’s Cup championship: the Ford Mustang GT, Subaru WRX STI, and Honda Civic Type R. The improved physics were evident, especially in rear-wheel drive cars that invited drivers to push the limits. The handling felt more natural and deliberate, with a decrease in overall grip and a hint of understeer to contend with. This added a new layer of challenge and planning to each turn.
The revamped tracks not only enhance the driving experience but also provide visually stunning environments. Each of the 20 environments in Forza Motorsports supports time-of-day cycles and changing weather, adding to the immersive racing experience. The attention to detail is remarkable, with dynamic elements such as fog, reflections, and a lively race day atmosphere. The game runs at a locked 60 frames per second at 4K resolution, with ray tracing modes available for those looking for enhanced visuals.
Progression and Upgrades
Forza Motorsports introduces a new campaign mode called the Constructor’s Cup, which follows a unique progression system. Each race has a practice session where your driving skills are evaluated turn by turn. The scores earned translate into Car XP and Car Points, determining your car’s level and granting access to upgrades. Winning races awards credits that can be used to buy cars. However, the catch is that you can only upgrade your car up to a certain performance rating between races using the earned Car Points. This encourages players to explore the upgrades and grow their skills with each car, rather than collecting an extensive garage of cars without fully experiencing each one.
Forza Motorsports is embarking on a new era with its upcoming release. The overhaul of physics and handling, along with visually stunning tracks and a unique progression system, offers an enticing experience for racing game enthusiasts. While the game aims to cater to skill and competence, it also provides a refreshing approach to car collecting and fully experiencing each vehicle. The release of Forza Motorsports on October 10 for Xbox Series consoles and PC is highly anticipated by fans eager to dive into the world of sim racing once again.