When Microsoft revealed their latest game console, the Xbox One X (formerly “Project Scorpio”) at E3 earlier this month, it wasn’t Halo or Gears of War that led the charge, but Turn 10 Studios’ latest from their popular racing franchise, Forza Motorsport 7.
A dazzling array of increased processing power meant the Forza series was finally getting dynamic weather in the best looking manner (4K, High Dynamic Range, 60 frames per second), after a sampling of rainy conditions in Forza Motorsport 6, and a test run of dynamic weather on Forza Horizon 3.
The result is a game that looks truly remarkable – and it’s no surprise that Microsoft executives trusted the adept hands at Turn 10 to show off the power of the Xbox One X at arguably the world’s largest stage for gamers and tech gurus alike.
But dynamic weather isn’t the only thing coming to the racing franchise when FM7 releases on October 3rd.
Windshield wipers, race wings, and wiring will all move with the thunderous horsepower of a racecar and the harsh bumps of tracks like Sebring and Rio. Similarly, new wheel options (with a focus on “Motorsports-inspired” wheels), body kits, and other vehicle customization will join an extensive car list and livery editor that really brings personalization to the forefront.
Making Forza Motorsport 7 a more human experience will be the customization of one’s own digital driver. Brought out from behind the steering wheel, gamers will be able to choose from over 300 different outfits and accessories. It’s a page borrowed from many games where the character is the primary focus, from Halo to Mass Effect, but in a series where the car has always been the “face” of a driver, it adds an interesting new element.
Dress up your character in vintage race suits, modern overalls, or more casual attire that will act as a bit of comic relief. That might become a distraction for those who treat Forza Motorsport as a more serious affair, but such is the nature of cross-pollination between the Motorsport and Horizon teams exchanging information.
Another major area of transformation is the game’s career mode. Bring your customized driver into the revamped “Forza Driver’s Cup,” a series of 6 different championships which will incorporate a ladder system, and have some form of points-scoring as a measure of success.
Although many details have yet to be announced, it will hopefully be an improvement over Forza Motorsport 6’s “dash for cash” approach, where you would have to finish on the podium in order to advance – an approach that encouraged aggressive behavior offline and bled over to the online side.
With NASCAR, IndyCar, and other marquee series included in the game from the start, the campaign may follow the progression that real-world drivers experience through the different disciplines of motorsport (ex. Spec Miata –> GT4 –> GT3 –> Le Mans).
Don’t expect a completely hardcore single player campaign, as Forza aims to include both serious and casual gamers, but it should be more focused compared to previous titles, with more showcases to broaden a player’s familiarity with the extensive car list.
The single player campaign will undoubtedly expand to feature the series’ DLC plans, which have yet to be announced, apart from at least 6 car packs of 7 cars each, and additional cars/driver gear coming through future Forzathon events.
With so many classic World Rally Championship cars in the game (MG Metro 6R4, Audi S1 Quattro), don’t be surprised if rally racing or rallycross show up as an expansion at a later date. Without a major splurge like Porsche or NASCAR (both in-game at launch), something has to be in the pipeline, and the groundwork for dirt racing has been established by the Horizon series.
As for car packs, history tells us that a balanced approach will continue in FM7. Each pack will probably follow this formula:
-Modern race car / street-legal hypercar
-Two modern sports cars
-Two vintage sports cars
-One everyday car
-One offbeat choice / cult classic
While DLC content will be added to single player races and be usable online, hopefully Turn 10 will allow any future tracks to be both free and incorporated into the online lobby rotations. Despite the addition of VIR and Homestead to Forza Motorsport 6 post-launch, the tracks were sparsely used as the community was once again fractured between those who did and did not have the corresponding expansions.
This is the first post in a series highlighting the various areas of Turn 10 Studios’ upcoming racing game, Forza Motorsport 7, with both confirmed details and wild speculation from a Forza veteran.