It’s been almost six years since the last title in the Forza Motorsport series, which is pretty crazy considering its reputation as one of the best racing sim franchises. Turn 10 Studios supported Forza Motorsport 7 for a long time after its launch in October 2017 for Xbox One and PC but has also been working hard on the next iteration in the franchise.
Forza Motorsport, which launches on October 10th for Xbox Series X/S and PC, is a reboot of the series and revamps several aspects while adding new content. While it sticks to the series’ penchant for offering hundreds of playable cars and multiple ways to customize them, not to mention realistic tracks to race on, it has new progression systems, a brand new Career mode, and overhauled multiplayer. That’s not even touching on the vastly improved visuals.
How does the reboot fare compared to its predecessor? What areas does it excel in, and how does it falter in others (at least at launch)? Here are 15 of the biggest differences you should know about.
Number of Cars
When Forza Motorsport 7 launched, it featured over 700 cars from manufacturers like Aston Martin, Audi, Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lancia, Nissan, Noble, Mitsubishi and many more. It featured the return of Volkswagen (which skipped Forza Horizon 3, the previous release), though production cars from Toyota and Lexus were cut. You also had Forza Edition cars that offered credit bonuses under certain conditions and performance improvements. By the end of its lifespan, the racing sim had about 834 cars – an impressive number.
Forza Motorsport is launching with over 500 vehicles, though 30 more are confirmed to arrive in the Car Pass over the next several months. Manufacturers like Audi, Aston Martin, Ford, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Jaguar, Nissan, Porsche and more have been confirmed. While you can expect plenty of vehicles from the previous games, over 100 are new, like the 2023 No. 01 Cadillac V-Series. R and the 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray that grace the game’s cover art.
Number of Tracks
Forza Motorsport 7 launched with 32 locations and over 200 different track configurations on the same. By comparison, Forza Motorsport offers 20 locations. While the number of layouts is unknown, there are multiple confirmed for each location. It may not seem like a lot, but there’s more to the numbers than meets the eye.
Forza Motorsport 7 features all of the tracks from Forza Motorsport 6 and even some returning from Forza Motorsport 4. On the other hand, the reboot’s tracks have been rebuilt from the ground up, and five are brand new to the franchise, like the Grand Oak Raceway. In terms of post-launch tracks, it’s confirmed that Nürburgring Nordschleife will arrive post-launch in Spring 2024.
One look at both titles should prove that Forza Motorsport is a massive upgrade over its predecessor. Whether it’s the fully animated 3D spectators, higher resolution materials and shaders for ray tracing, physically based lighting and volumetric fog, and procedural cloud system, the world feels more immersive to race in.
Another noteworthy change to the vehicles, which look more detailed and realistic on the outside and inside, is the use of a spectrophotometer for car paints. Turn 10 Studios revealed that by capturing “multiple data points of light behavior on a surface,” it could produce a paint mode with “much more realistic light response across colors, metal flake and gloss levels.” It’s all the more interesting considering how ray tracing works.
Ray Tracing Support
The Forza series had some brushes with ray tracing, most notably Forza Horizon 5, which launched with it in ForzaVista before adding it to races and Free Roam on PC. Forza Motorsport 7 didn’t use it, which makes sense given the hardware at the time, but the upcoming reboot is going even further beyond. It has ray tracing, which is, in creative director Chris Esaki’s words, “on track” and “real-time gameplay.”
“I really want to make that clear: when we say ‘on track’, it doesn’t mean it’s only in replays or it’s only in Photo Mode on track and we’re just being funny with words. We’re not trying to mislead you here. When you’re racing and when you are playing the game, ray tracing is on. We want to be really clear about that.” Thus far, ray traced reflections have been seen and Turn 10 confirmed ray traced global illumination on PC. How this performs in real-time in 4K/60 FPS remains to be seen, but based on gameplay thus far, it’s all working quite well.
Tire Physics Changes
Turn 10 Studios has remarked how the tire physics in Forza Motorsport are 48 times better than those in Forza Motorsport 7, but what does that mean? One example showcased a BAC Mono on the Laguna Seca track approaching a corner and how the tires reacted to the turn based on a single contact point with a 60 Hz refresh rate. Long story short, it wasn’t very smooth. The reboot uses eight contact points and runs at a 360 Hz refresh rate, and when hitting the same corner on the same track with the same car, the deformation was smoother and more natural. It may seem subtle but changes things substantially.
Damage Model Changes
The damage model in Forza Motorsport 7 is…interesting to observe, especially compared to the sixth game. While it feels more impactful due to the camera work, the actual cosmetic damage from hitting a wall at full speed doesn’t quite look the part. The deformation and chipped paint from colliding with a track’s sides also aren’t on point, though the rear windshield can suffer some cracks after enough impact.
By comparison, Forza Motorsport is much more realistic. You still won’t see parts falling off cars, but the damage model allows for scraped paint (which is now directional), scratches, deformation, and broken glass. While the step-up between generations is impressive on multiple levels, seeing just how much better the reboot is at showcasing cosmetic damage is crazy.
Dynamic Time of Day
When it launched, Forza Motorsport 7’s time of day features were lackluster, and you had no control over what time a race took place. Forza Motorsport implements a fully dynamic time of day but goes beyond changing it as you race. Depending on the time, the ambient temperature can affect the track surface and significantly impact grip and rubbering in while racing. It sounds like it could fundamentally change how one approaches a race, but again, we’ll need to wait and see how it pans out.
The Forza Driver’s Cup is Forza Motorsport 7’s Career mode and centers on championships. You start with the Seeker championship and earn enough SP to unlock Breakout, repeating the process until the sixth and final championship, the Forza Drivers Cup. Throughout each championship are Open Series and division-focused events, with players progressing and mastering the different divisions to succeed.
Forza Motorsport’s Career mode is the Builders Cup. It’s a spiritual successor to Forza Motorsport 3 and 4, where you choose a car to race with and build it up over time. Racing Series is focused on specific cars, as you get comfortable with sports cars like Porsche and Nissan before moving on to performance vehicles.
You also have Open Practice for trying out cars across different times of day and weather and Car Mastery, where earning XP allows for leveling up a vehicle and earning Skill Points to unlock upgrades, with 800 upgrades in total. There’s also Challenge the Grid, which grants better payouts based on changes made to race parameters – such as starting position and AI difficulty.
Forza Motorsport 7 launched with a fair number of multiplayer features, from month-long competitive Leagues with different race Series (each lasting a week) to Multiplayer Hoppers, which supported up to 24 players and offered various restrictions with track voting. It’s not the worst set of options, though it was far from fully fleshed out.
By comparison, Forza Motorsport offers a “live, real-world time-based mode of pre-defined live events.” It’s consolidating Hoppers and Leagues and offers events for different divisions. Open Practice is available here, with players qualifying based on joining time, while Qualify determines your starting position in a Featured Race. There’s a new event every 30 minutes or so with different tracks, weather conditions, time of day and more. You can choose from Spec Series, focused on identical cars with similar tuning, and Open Series, which allows for any car in the same class.
While Forza Motorsport 7 launched with local split-screen multiplayer, Forza Motorsport won’t have the same, at least at launch. This is due to the team’s “heavy investment in pushing new graphical features” and overhauling the rendering engine. It will be available at launch, but there’s no timeline for when.
Spectator Mode and AI Opponents in Multiplayer
While Forza Motorsport 7 didn’t allow for Drivatars in its multiplayer lobbies, it at least allowed for spectating races. Forza Motorsport is carrying on the tradition of the former (due to the “potential impact on your safety rating”) but doing away with the latter, meaning you can’t spectate Featured Races in the reboot. The reasoning is that players occupying slots for multiplayer events for spectating and not racing isn’t in line with its vision. Never say never on it potentially being added post-launch, but it seems highly unlikely.
By today’s standards, Forza Motorsport 7’s PC requirements are pretty forgiving. It requires an Intel Core i5-750 2.67GHz or AMD FX-6300, 8 GB RAM and an Nvidia GT 740, GTX 650 or AMD R7 250X with 2 GB VRAM for 720p/30 FPS gameplay. Recommended requirements include a Core i5-4460 3.2GHz or AMD FX-8350 with 8 GB RAM and either a GTX 670, GTX 1050 or AMD RX 560 with 4 GB VRAM. Ultra requirements for 4K/60 FPS required a Core i7-6700K 4GHz or Ryzen 7, 16 GB RAM and a GTX 1080 or AMD RX Vega 64 with 8 GB VRAM. You needed about 95 GB to install it on PC.
While Forza Motorsport’s requirements are definitely higher, they’re also not insane. Minimum requirements include Intel Core i5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 1600, 8 GB RAM and an Nvidia GTX 1060 or AMD RX 5500 XT. Recommended specs include a Core i5-11600k or AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, 16 GB RAM and an RTX 2080 Ti or AMD RX 6800 XT. For those looking to run the game in Ultra, you’ll need a Core i7-11700k or Ryzen 7 5800X, an RTX 4080 or RX 7900XT, and 16 GB of RAM. A solid-state drive with 130 GB installation space is required, with an NvME SSD necessary for playing in Ultra.
For all of the positive things that Forza Motorsport 7 had at launch, one of its most controversial was Prize Crates. It was a loot box-style system that granted mods, cars, driver gear, and whatnot depending on the rarity. Key emphasis on “was” since the backlash prompted their eventual removal. Fortunately, Forza Motorsport isn’t flirting with the same idea, with the developer unequivocally clarifying that there are no loot boxes.
Sound design is just as important as visuals in a racing sim, and Forza Motorsport blazes some new trails. It’s the first game in the series to be “mixed natively for immersive audio formats like Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos” and features hardware that accelerates convolution reverb which, as Turn 10 describes it, “reproduces how sounds in Forza interact within an acoustic space, dynamically adapting to its surroundings and creating a realistic and detailed soundscape.” The sound of your car also changes based on parts used while tire and suspension audio are also improved over previous titles.
For its time, Forza Motorsport 7 offered decent accessibility options and eventually received a Super Easy mode. The latter turned off friction physics for specific surfaces, automatically braked on corners and more. Forza Motorsport is making strides by implementing Blind Driving Asists, Screen Narration, colorblind modes for the UI and world, the option to disable moving backgrounds and more to go with controller remapping and other standard features.