Forza Motorsport 7 launches nearly six years ago, so the wait for the next game in the franchise has been a long one, and while Forza Horizon has obviously whet some of that appetite, it hasn’t delivered that hardcore racing sim experience that the Motorsport line of games does. Of course, the next Forza Motorsport is not far away from launch now, and in addition to its release date recently having been confirmed, Turn 10 Studios has also revealed a host of new details on its career mode- which, of course, is where millions of players will be clocking in dozens upon dozens of hours. As such, here we’re going to go through the biggest new details that we’ve learned about Forza Motorsport’s career mode.
The career mode in Forza Motorsport is called the Builders Cup, and Turn 10 says it’s introducing a new rhythm of racing, which will revolve around a restructured core gameplay loop. The developer is calling that loop “level, build, dominate”, and as that shorthand indicates, it’s all about finding a car you like, improving and upgrading it, and using it to win races. Of course, that isn’t vastly different from what you’d expect to see in a game of this sort, but Forza Motorsport is going about it in a few that makes some interesting changes and alterations.
One of the more prominent changes that Turn 10 Studios is making in the Builders Cup in Forza Motorsport is making it a dynamic and ever-changing experience. In what will be a first for career modes in Forza games, new tracks and cars will be released directly into the Builders Cup, with Turn 10 looking to reflect the constantly changing landscape of the automobile world. Builders Cup itself will, as a result, keep shifting and evolving with all the new content.
Racing Series will form the backbone of the Builders Cup’s central framework. Each of these will see you taking control of specific cars, and then task you with leveling and upgrading it as you make your way through the series before ultimately claiming victory. In each series, players will find unique automotive stories for the cars they’ll be driving. Players will move through the available Racing Series in a linear fashion, which means you have to complete one to unlock the next, with each of them focusing on specific things, like performance vehicles, sedans, sports cars, and more. The Built for Sport series, for instance, will allow players to pick between sports cars like the new Supra, the new Nissan Z, or the Porsche Cayman GTS. Every series will also have a unique intro to highlight each available vehicle, which you can use as a quick primer when deciding which one you want to go with.
Before every event that you take on in the Builders Cup, you’ll also be able to head into an Open Practice session- which is exactly what it sounds like. It’ll put you in the track you’re about to race in and drive around at your pleasure to see how your car might fare on that track, and if there are any tweaks or adjustments that you might need to make. In Open Practice, players will also be able to toggle the time of day and weather across a variety of options to be able to better master the specific requirements and challenges that all of those variations may bring during an actual race.
Progression is also being revamped in Forza Motorsport’s Builders Cup, even on a fundamental level. That’s thanks in part to the Car Mastery system. In a nutshell, with every corner you make while driving your vehicle, the game will time you against yourself. Not only will that help you improve your driving in a much more immediate way, this will also reward you with Car XP on the basis of how well you’re performing. That means you’ll get Car XP and in real time, corner by corner, with the accumulated amount being handed to you at the end of every race or event so you can then level up your vehicle.
And what exactly will leveling up your car do? Well, that’s the other pillar of the Builders Cup’s progression overhaul. Rather than spending credits to upgrade your car, Forza Motorsport will not do that through Car Points, which you earn by levelling up, with Turn 10 wanting players to build their vehicles rather than buy them. Customization and upgrading is done on a new car building screen, where your car will unlock upgrades by levelling up, which you’ll then be able to purchase and equip by spending Car Points. That said, once you purchase an upgrade, you won’t be locked into it, because you’ll always have the option to uninstall an upgrade and get a full refund on the Car Points you spent on it, effectively allowing you to respec as much as you want, whenever you want. Meanwhile, since credits are no longer spent on buying new upgrades, you can focus on saving them up to purchase new vehicles.
CHALLENGE THE GRID
Forza Motorsport’s Builders Cup is also introducing a new Challenge the Grid system, which will effectively allow you to tweak with a number of parameters before every race, and depending on what changes you’ve made, get either higher or lower payouts at the end of the race as a result. Some of the things that you can tinker with to affect your payout are your starting position, the AI difficulty, racing rulesets, and damage settings. So you can, for instance, choose to make a race easier yourself- but the payout at the end won’t be as substantial. We have seen something similar in Forza Horizon, though it should be interesting to see how extensively the upcoming racing sim will implement this system.
To no one’s surprise, Drivatars are returning in Forza Motorsport, which means you’ll be racing against avatars based on your actual Xbox friends. This time around, they’ll also be coming with some interesting improvements. Drivatars will be constantly updated with your friends’ customizations for their cars and liveries, so even though you’re technically not going to be racing against them in the Builders Cup, you will at least be racing against avatars that are up to date with all of their latest creations and customizations.
AI AND RACING IMPROVEMENTS
With each new entry in the Forza Motorsport series, Turn 10 goes out of its way to introduce a variety of improvements and refinements to the actual moment-to-moment driving gameplay, and that’s going to be the case in its next instalment as well. For starters, the developer says it has overhauled the game’s AI and physics systems. Rival Drivatars will now use machine learning to optimize their performance and race as speedily as they can, but they’ll do doing so without any cheats or hacks, which Turn 10 says will make for much more competitive and immersive racing. On the physics side of things, Forza Motorsport is using a completely new tire model that boasts a 48x jump in fidelity over Forza Motorsport 7, while Turn 10 says it has also completely rebuilt the suspension, weight, and aero modeling.
PERSISTENT ONLINE REQUIREMENT
Forza Motorsport is going to come with a caveat, and it’s one that may tick more than a few people off (as Gran Turismo 7 taught us last year). The game will require a persistent internet connection. Turn 10 says that with the Builders Cup designed around being a shifting and evolving experience – in terms of new tracks and racers being consistently added, or even Drivatars being regularly updated – and with anything related to progression being stored on online servers, the game will need to always be connected. Some limited things will be available offline, like Free Play, but by and large, this is going to be an always-online game.
A firm release date for Forza Motorsport has also been announced, and thankfully for fans of the genre and the franchise, it’s not awfully far away now. The racing sim is set to launch on October 10 for Xbox Series X/S and PC. Like all titles published under the Xbox Game Studios banner, it will also be available via Game Pass on day one.