Note: For those who seek superfluous speculation on the latest iteration of the Xbox franchise Forza Motorsport, this series of posts is for you.
The Forza franchise started life as a casual simulator. Real cars with realistic physics, but with more fantasy tracks than world-famous locales. That changed drastically around the time of Forza Motorsport 5, when at a slim stage for both cars and tracks, Turn 10 Studios decided to focus on having laser scanned versions of famous race circuits.
News that developers had brought back Maple Valley for Forza Motorsport 7, in addition to a new fantasy track in Dubai, may be an indication that previous favorites, or even new custom tracks, will help bring some balance back to the real vs. fantasy track count split.
Over 30 locations with over 200 configurations is the official word – and I have to stress the “over.”
Forza Motorsport 6 launched with 26 environments and added both Virginia International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway as DLC. We’ve seen Suzuka, Mugello, and the aforementioned Maple Valley all returning to the franchise, alongside a new fantasy track in Dubai.
Like the full car list, we can expect numerous other tracks to be announced throughout the summer before the game launches October 3rd, and for fans of the current track list, things look good.
Brands Hatch, Sebring, Indianapolis, Laguna Seca, and the many flavors of the Nurburgring have been confirmed. Circuit de la Sarthe has to be a given, with the recent Forza Racing Championship culminating in a massive on-site tournament during the 85th running of the historic race, and others are sure to follow.
It’s possible we’ll see all tracks from FM6 carry over, but if we are to lose a few tracks, Bernese Alps has been suspiciously absent from any mentions (other Turn 10 originals Rio and Prague have both been confirmed). It is often skipped in multiplayer lobbies and may not be considered worthy of a 4K upgrade when both Dubai and Maple Valley most likely took plenty of manpower to develop within the studio.
Similarly, the Airfield sandbox that appeared in Forza Motorsport 5 may be displaced for new ribbons in the new Dubai environment. Both long stretches of highway for drag racing and a nearby airport may indicate additional race types finding their new homes at the FM7 flagship environment.
While Top Gear will appear in the game in some fashion, it won’t be based on the original trio of presenters, and if Turn 10 wants to be as realistic as possible, the new Rallycross variation of the famous Dunsfold track may not fit with the series’ current focus on tarmac racing.
As for new real-world tracks, I don’t see many new ones coming in Forza Motorsport 7. A significant amount of money was spent to laser-scan Suzuka (Japan), Mugello (Italy), and the area outside of Dubai (UAE) for their new fantasy track, while updates to existing tracks more than met the budget for track development.
Diving deep into the Forza Motorsport history, Pacific Raceways was supposedly scanned prior to Forza Motorsport 4 and has never been seen in-game. Don’t expect to see it though.
My theory is that due to the proximity of the track to Turn 10 Studios’ office in Redmond, WA, this was probably a test of Smart Geometric’s laser-scan technology before the teams headed out to the numerous other tracks around the world that were scanned and seen in future Forza games.
Turn 10 Studios does have strong relationships with numerous racing series and organizations, meaning additional tracks in North America (ex. Mid Ohio, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Barber Motorsports Park) could be financially viable enough to appear as DLC or in a future Forza Motorsport.
As for the tracks at launch, expect most of the ones from Forza 6 to carry over, with some cosmetic updates, additional layouts, and weather conditions. More than 200 configurations can be had, which means way more than the current Forza Motorsport title (106 in total).
Turn 10 has made it clear that dynamic weather won’t be available on all tracks, especially those where rain is a rare occurrence. Despite the fact that it can rain at somewhere like Yas Marina, it looks like the studio will err on the side of brevity and keep the rain option confined to where it is most common.
Still, having many more variations and the added complexity of truly random weather at some locations will hopefully lead to a lot more longevity to the single-player and multiplayer experiences.
Just… go easy on the puddles this time.