Forza Motorsport Looks Fantastic, But the Release Date's Still Up in the Air

Image:  Xbox Game Studios
Image: Xbox Game Studios

The rebooted Forza Motorsport was one of the stars of Microsoft’s Xbox Developer Direct on Wednesday afternoon. The Xbox and PC racing sim remains due for release this year — although, suspiciously, the word “spring” appears to have vanished from the game’s ETA.

The good news is that it’s still shaping up to be a massive improvement on 2017's Forza Motorsport 7. Last year, Turn 10 confirmed three major details, including a big physics overhaul, support for real-time ray tracing and complete weather and time change simulation. We now also know that the next installment will feature more than 500 cars at launch, with 20 environments “built from the ground up for this generation” per Director of Motorsport Content Arthur Shek.

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Credit: Forza via YouTube

One hundred of those cars are new to the franchise, while five of the tracks have also never been seen before in an FM game. Those include Kyalami in South Africa, as well as the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, a mainstay of the IndyCar and IMSA calendars. Both look phenomenal thanks to ray-traced global illumination, physically based lighting and volumetric fog as well as a procedural cloud system. They’ll also drive more realistically than ever before — track surface temperatures fluctuate and the racing line now “rubbers in” over the course of a session.

Image:  Xbox Game Studios
Image: Xbox Game Studios

As you’d expect, the cars themselves haven’t missed out on the love. Turn 10 used spectrophotometers to capture the intricacies of individual car paints and how they react to light; even the dirt accumulation model is unique to every vehicle, based on how air and particles flow around the body. That’s why the recesses around the engine cover of a Corvette C8.R will look more grimy than the rest of the car at the conclusion of a hard-fought race.

Image:  Xbox Game Studios
Image: Xbox Game Studios

Audio development has continued where Forza Horizon 5 left off, with hardware-accelerated reverb that reacts dynamically to a vehicle’s surroundings and support for Dolby Atmos spatial audio. FH5 was an excellent sounding game, and based on the clip provided, the new Motorsport entry will continue that streak.

While this info dump certainly gave us lots of footage to pour over, equally interesting are the parts of the experience we haven’t seen. At the end of the video, Turn 10 Creative Director Chris Esaki teased a “new online racing mode” and a “car building-focused single-player career.” Given that FM7's career was typically regarded as one of its weak points, we’re especially curious to see how the offline experience has evolved for the franchise’s new era.

Image:  Xbox Game Studios
Image: Xbox Game Studios

We’re also disappointed — and frankly a little surprised, given the lengthy development period — that Turn 10 wasn’t able to provide a concrete release date, and that Forza Motorsport has seemingly shed its spring launch window. Six years will have passed since FM7 by the time its sequel hits shelves. That’s a long wait for what used to be an every-other-year series.

For what it’s worth, The Game Awards’ Geoff Keighley tweeted a “before end of June” ETA upon the event’s conclusion, and we’ve reached out to Microsoft to inquire about it. If the game lands by June 21, technically that’s still spring.

Below you can peruse a sample of cars from the full roster that Turn 10 revealed in a blog post. I for one am loving all the Group C prototypes, but the focus on modern race cars is encouraging to see, too.

  • 1971 AMC Javelin AMX

  • 1989 Aston Martin #18 Aston Martin AMR1

  • 2016 Aston Martin Vulcan

  • 2014 Audi #2 Audi Team Joest R18 e-tron quattro

  • 2016 Audi #17 Rotek Racing TT RS

  • 2016 Audi R8 V10 plus

  • 2018 Audi #44 R8 LMS GT3

  • 2018 Audi TT RS

  • 1991 BMW M3

  • 2017 BMW #24 BMW Team RLL M6 GTLM

  • 2018 BMW #1 BMW M Motorsport M8 GTE

  • 2019 Brabham BT62

  • 2018 Bugatti Chiron

  • 1970 Buick GSX

  • 2021 Cadillac #31 Whelen Racing DPi-V.R

  • 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Super Sport Coupe

  • 1969 Chevrolet Nova Super Sport 396

  • 1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

  • 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Super Sport 454

  • 2015 Chevrolet #10 Konica Minolta Corvette Daytona Prototype

  • 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

  • 2020 Chevrolet #3 Corvette Racing C8.R

  • 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe

  • 1972 Chrysler VH Valiant Charger R/T E49

  • 1969 Dodge Charger R/T

  • 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

  • 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

  • 1965 Ford Mustang GT Coupe

  • 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302

  • 1987 Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500

  • 2005 Ford GT

  • 2015 Ford #02 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley Mk XXVI Daytona Prototype

  • 2016 Ford #66 Ford Racing GT Le Mans

  • 2017 Ford GT

  • 2019 Ginetta #6 Team LNT Ginetta G60-LT-P1

  • 2020 Hyundai #98 Bryan Herta Autosport Veloster N

  • 1983 Jaguar #44 Group 44 XJR-5

  • 1988 Jaguar #1 Jaguar Racing XJR-9

  • 1993 Jaguar XJ220

  • 2015 Jaguar XKR-S GT

  • 1988 Lamborghini Countach LP5000 QV

  • 1997 Lamborghini Diablo SV

  • 2016 Lamborghini Centenario LP 770-4

  • 2020 Lamborghini Huracán EVO

  • 1969 Lola #10 Simoniz Special T163

  • 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata

  • 1991 Mazda #55 Mazda 787B

  • 2010 Mazda #16 Mazda Racing B09/86

  • 2014 Mazda #70 SpeedSource Lola B12/80

  • 1969 McLaren #4 McLaren Cars M8B

  • 2013 McLaren P1

  • 2018 McLaren Senna

  • 1989 Mercedes-Benz #63 Sauber-Mercedes C 9

  • 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II

  • 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

  • 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator

  • 1985 Nissan #83 GTP ZX-Turbo

  • 1991 Nissan #23 Nissan R91CP

  • 2015 Nissan #23 GT-R LM NISMO

  • 2019 Nissan 370Z Nismo

  • 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO (R35)

  • 1969 Oldsmobile Hurst/Olds 442

  • 2017 Oreca #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07

  • 1984 Peugeot 205 Turbo 16

  • 1993 Peugeot #3 Peugeot Talbot Sport 905 EVO 1C

  • 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge

  • 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SD-455

  • 1970 Porsche #3 917 LH

  • 1983 Porsche #11 John Fitzpatrick Racing 956

  • 1987 Porsche #17 Porsche AG 962C

  • 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

  • 2017 Porsche #2 Porsche Team 919 Hybrid

  • 2017 Porsche #92 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR

  • 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

  • 2019 Porsche #70 Porsche Motorsport 935

  • 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

  • 2021 Porsche 911 GT3

  • 2021 Porsche Mission R

  • 2015 Radical RXC Turbo

  • 2004 Saleen S7

  • 2014 Toyota #8 Toyota Racing TS040 HYBRID

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