When Forza Motorsport launches for Xbox Series X/S and PC in Spring 2023, it will have been around five and a half years since the launch of the last new game in the series, but based on what we’ve seen of it so far, it might just be worth the wait. Made abundantly clear by its name, Forza Motorsport is being billed as a reboot of sort, and as a generational leap for Turn 10 Studios’ long-running franchise. Recently, we were treated to a meaty new gameplay demonstration for the racing sim at the Xbox and Bethesda Games showcase, and we learned quite a bit about it in the process. Here, we’re going to go over the key details that you need to know.
The Forza Motorsport series has always prided itself on pushing the envelope with its visuals every time it comes out with a new game, and next year’s instalment is very much going to keep that trend going. Turn 10 is calling the game “the most technically advanced racing game ever made”, and while living up to that billing won’t be an easy task, it certainly seems up to it. Part of that is implementation of real time ray tracing on the track. Over on the Forza blog, Turn 10 wrote: “You’ll see how with the power of Xbox Series X|S consoles, real time ray tracing on track makes everything feel more connected, natural, and real as cars reflect onto other cars – reflecting in their own mirrors, bodywork, wings, and brake rotors.”
OTHER VISUAL IMPROVEMENTS
Of course, it’s not just ray tracing that represents the visual leap that Forza Motorsport is making over its predecessors. You can expect improvements in plenty of other areas as well. Lighting is seeing significant improvements thanks to forward+ lighting and physically based lights, while environments are also going to be much more detailed thanks to the use of photogrammetry and 3D material scans, alongside advanced rendering and procedural generation techniques. Turn 10 says everything from the environments, tracks, and crowds to the sky, clouds, rocks, grass is going to look that much more realistic and detailed- and that includes the cars themselves, obviously, though that sort of goes without saying.
TIME OF DAY
As you may have guessed, 2023’s Forza Motorsport isn’t just taking noticeable leaps forward where its visuals are concerned. New gameplay features and mechanics are being introduced for better and more authentic simulation as well, and one of the biggest highlights on that front is time of day. Time of day will be dynamic and, like the game’s dynamic weather systems, will be featured in every track. Not only will the time of day have an effect on visibility and change what the track looks like, it will also have more tangible effects, like changes in temperature that will, in turn, change the temperature of the surface you’re changing on. That will impact the grip of your vehicles, affecting the way you drive and the way your vehicle performs. According to Turn 10, time of day will make races much more dynamic and varied.
Turn 10 has made it a point to emphasize how it’s leveraging the Xbox Series X/S’ much more powerful hardware to deliver a more authentic and lifelike experience, and that’s something that you can expect to see impacting crucial gameplay areas like physics as well. The developer says it has completely overhauled the core driving experience in next year’s Forza Motorsport, which also entails a fully overhauled physics system. While they haven’t yet shared any specifics on that front, that will supposedly bring about a 48 times improvement in the fidelity of the game’s physics simulation.
One area where past Forza Motorsport games have perhaps not always lived up to fans’ expectations is how they simulate and implement damage, but it seems next year’s instalment is going to make some key improvements in that area as well. According to Turn 10, damage simulation in 2023’s Forza Motorsport is going to be much more nuanced and authentic. “In Forza Motorsport, car damage is reproduced down to the individual scratches on the bodywork,” the developer writes. “There are all-new simulation details in the directionality of damage, how the paint peels away at exposed and raised edges, in the wheel abrasions, and in the dirt build-up. Car damage is a racing reality and has been authentically captured in the new Forza Motorsport.”
There’s still several months left until the launch of Forza Motorsport, which means Turn 10 and Microsoft are obviously going to be revealing more details on the improvements and enhancements it’ll be making on all fronts, but several other gameplay features have already been detailed. Noticeably, Forza Motorsport is introducing tire and fuel management, which promises to be a big addition, with multiple tire compounds offered and a new in-depth car building system. As you might expect, this will all be part of trackside pits, where, according to Turn 10, “advanced materials and shaders paired with ray tracing bring out incredible detail in the gold heat wrap, anodized aluminum, and carbon fiber.”
How many tracks a racer launches with can often make or break that game (there’s no shortage of examples of both kinds) and though we don’t yet know how many tracks Forza Motorsport will launch with some year, a few of the tracks in its selection have been confirmed and shown off. For starters, there’s Maple Valley, a track that series fans will be very familiar with, seeing as it’s been around since the very first Forza game launched in 2005. A couple more familiar tracks that are coming back and have been shown off are Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and Laguna Seca Raceway. Meanwhile, a couple of new tracks were also shown off- there’s South African track Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, and Circuit Hakone, high speed Japanese Grand Prix circuit.
Again, the roster of vehicles a racing game launches with is often one of its most crucial details, no matter what the racer is and how big its scope is, and that stands doubly true for a franchise such as Forza Motorsport. The full roster for next year’s game hasn’t yet been revealed, but on the Forza blog, Turn 10 has confirmed at least 37 games so far that are going to be in the game. These include the likes of the 2021 Porsche 911 GT3, the 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator, the 2020 Lamborghini Huracan EVO, the 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the 2017 Aston Martin Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3 #7, and many more. Forza Motorsport games have on occasion disappointed with their vehicle rosters at launch in the past, but hopefully, next year’s game won’t have any issues on that front.
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