Yes, Forza Motorsport is a flex. It’s a showcase for everything the Xbox Series X can do above its predecessors and even modern PC hardware. But all that muscle and strain doesn’t mean much if the game isn’t fun.
â€žMotorsports It’s about competition and threat and really going to war with your machine,” Dan Greenawalt, Microsoft’s director in charge of the Forza franchise, told Polygon last week. This is the dividing line between the born again Forza Motorsportwhose last edition was launched in 2017, and his Forza Horizon cousinsthey have has since published two issues.
The game, revealed during Wednesday’s Xbox Developer Direct Showcase, brings a fleet of more than 500 cars with all the audiovisual fidelity fans have come to expect from an Xbox showcase for more than 20 years. But more than those numbers – like the promise of 4K resolution at 60 frames per second with ray-traced light rendering – Forza MotorsportThe creative director wants fans to know that they are getting a more realistic racing video game than before.
“It’s really important that this game has these cutting-edge physics because that’s gameplay for me,” Chris Esaki, creative director at Turn 10 Studios, told Polygon. â€œThis is where the rubber meets the road; it is the actual moment-to-moment experience. When it goes deeper, when it’s high-fidelity, there’s just so much to explore and it becomes a game that’s really about skill and mastery.”
The physics called out by Esaki include details like the individual parts that players can acquire and apply to their cars; An after-market spoiler will affect the ride more than cosmetically, Esaki promised. Players should feel the extra downforce on the rear end, to put it politely. Tire modeling has also been revised. Instead of a single datum under each wheel, Esaki’s team expanded the tire patch into a rectangle with eight contact points, which is sent to the CPU six times faster than the last Forza game.
â€žThat means plenty of grip,â€œ said Esaki. “The tires scan every little angle with this high-fidelity rendering that we do, and that carries over into the gameplay.”
Additionally, players can expect to see their car at the end of a race that will visually tell them how their day at the track went. It’s not just about damage – who really drives a high-performance motorsport sim to beat up nice cars? It’s because of things like dirt and grime and visible wear and tear that every car gets when it’s pushed to the limit, collision or not.
“Internally we call it ‘Shake and Bake,'” Greenawalt said of Turn 10’s damage modeling systems. “It’s a system that allows us to look at the car model in high definition, not runtime, and a field map to create where the damage and aerodynamics will occur. And then the game can run in real time to populate these (areas).â€
That means the physics of Forza Motorsport are not only dedicated to the performance of a car; High and low pressure bags disperse and collect dirt from the track depending on the chassis of each car. Maybe that sounds like an exaggeration, but Greenawalt and Esaki were adamant that this was part of the plan Forza Motorsport the whole time; it wasn’t just a side effect that they discovered in development.
â€žThings look super real when theyâ€™re desperate,â€œ said Esaki. â€œThese imperfections make it look and feel more real.â€
As a technology show, Greenawalt swears Turn 10 left nothing on the table. Although his studio, along with Xbox’s first-party teams at The Coalition (Gears of War) and 343 Industries (Halo), had a lot of input into the Xbox Series X’s design and hardware, they still received a device that had its limitations not really known internally. Greenawalt said so Forza Motorsport Developers went in search of them anyway. “We’re always going to come up with things that the hardware can’t do,” he said.
“That’s not a criticism of the hardware, it’s just the nature of simulating extraordinarily complex things. We’re trying to simulate reality,” Greenawalt said. â€œLike any driver, you give them any machine, they will drive it to the limit.â€
Forza Motorsport, the eighth installment in a series stretching back to the launch of the Xbox 360, is coming to Xbox Series X and Windows PC later this year. While there’s no release date yet, the game will be available on day one for Xbox and PC Game Pass subscribers.