- Mar 4, 2019
The final update for Forza Motorsport 7 is due to arrive next month. It’ll mark the end of almost two years of post-launch support for Turn 10 Studios’ latest flagship racing simulator. With new features such as a revamped Drift experience, the all-new Experimental Drag mode and most recently, the introduction of the Forza Race Regulations adjudication system, Forza Motorsport 7 has drastically changed since its initial release, both in terms of aesthetics and functionality.
But in its ambition to continue supporting the game, the team faced a dilemma. It could either continue to update Forza Motorsport 7 with new content and features or shift its focus onto the next installment – and the developer has chosen to pursue the latter. Between shipping new cars and tracks, not to mention all the details and nuances for Forza Race Regulations, it would occupy between 30-60% of the team’s time to ship all this into Forza Motorsport 7, when instead, all this effort could be used to better develop the next game.
Turn 10 Studios is currently investing in several key areas of the franchise, including driving physics, AI behaviour, track environments and cars. The developer aims to focus on all these components significantly for its next game. Whilst Forza Race Regulations will evolve even further in Forza Motorsport 7 with the release of the August Update, which aims to add Race Disqualification, the adjudication system will continue to be optimized and improved upon in the next game.
With its outlook on the future now in full swing, Turn 10 had some additional details to share on the next Forza Motorsport installment during a live Q&A on the July edition of its Forza Monthly broadcast show, live from Seattle, WA. Joining Community Manager Brian Ekberg to discuss the game would be Creative Director Chris Esaki, who has represented much of Forza Motorsport 7’s excellent post-launch support.
Esaki brought up this idea of trade-offs. When building new content, features and vehicles, the developer has been forced to decide on whether it should be added to Forza Motorsport 7, or if it should be invested into the future of the franchise instead. One example discussed includes Turn 10’s partnership with IMSA. Whilst the racing series supported the Forza Racing Championshipwith a dedicated Pre-Season Invitational event last year, it didn’t result in any major new content additions to Forza Motorsport 7. Esaki noted that the team want to deeply integrate IMSA licensed tracks into the next product, saying that its tracks take a long time to develop and are expensive to build, but he did admit that it’s no excuse for the lack of new post-release track additions in Forza Motorsport 7.
Looking ahead, Turn 10 Studios has realigned its track development team to focus on new tracks and set its eyes towards the future. This includes a whole new process of building tracks with a revamped system that will debut in the next Forza Motorsport game, allowing the developer to deliver new environments much easier than before. Esaki wants the next product to be all it can be, focusing on “truly authentic motorsport experiences.”
Adding onto this, Esaki also discussed the return of old fantasy tracks from previous Forza Motorsport games. Firstly, the team has reclassified all its fantasy circuits as “Forza lore tracks,” which exist within the “Forza lore series.” Horizon is also a part of this too, in the wider Forza universe. Esaki mentioned that the team wants to do more with its original tracks, delivering specific types of experiences with them that players will love. He even namedropped the fan favourite Fujimi Kaido drift circuit based on Japanese mountainsides, saying that “We hear you guys loud and clear; we’re working on a lot of stuff right now.”
Esaki went on to say that it wouldn’t fantasize real-world circuits outside of possibly exploring historical or prototype variations of tracks, using the Nürburgring-Nordschleife course in Germany as an example. “It’d be amazing to bring those experiences back, but that’s as far as you’d want to go with a real track,” he said. Naturally, it hasn’t been confirmed if the next Forza game will feature historical or alternative track variations, but it made for some insightful discussion, nonetheless. The biggest takeaway from this point, however, is that fantasy tracks provide the team with significant levels of creative freedom that are impossible to have when recreating real-world racing circuits.
Other improvements being worked on for the next Forza Motorsport game include drafting, which is being developed by a new racing fundamentals team who are building its core AI and physics, and currently have a new tire model up and running internally with real wear and tear, along with a ton of new suspension changes. Esaki noted that whilst the current implementation of drafting in Forza Motorsport 7 is “fairly realistic,” since it’s based on several data sources, it doesn’t make enough of an impact during races. He said it needs to be “a hyper real type of scenario for there to be a lot of mix up in passing and racing.” For the next installment, Turn 10 is aiming to introduce a number of drafting settings so players can tweak and dial it to deliver the racing experience they desire.
Esaki also answered a question regarding searchable custom lobbies, saying that the team is looking into how it organizes online racing all up in the next version. He believes that people will be “really happy with the major changes” they want to make to this. “More details to come, we hear you loud and clear on that,” Esaki said about the feature. Finally, the Creative Director also spoke about its Experimental Drag feature in Forza Motorsport 7. He said that whilst its going to remain “experimental” in that game, it will become a part of the overall experience in the next installment. This is once again due to the trade-offs he mentioned before. If Experimental Drag was to be implemented across the entire Forza Motorsport 7 experience, it would detract from the next game’s development.
Most importantly, everything that Turn 10 Studios has done for Forza Motorsport 7 lays the foundations for its next installment as it continues its conceptual phase. Forza Race Regulations, the new Drift and Drag features, and all the investment that has been poured into the core racing experience from physics to AI and track limits will all be utilized and built upon even further for the next game. With a new process to how it builds, develops and refines tracks, along with a new fundamentals team enhancing the core physics of Forza Motorsport, this upcoming installment into the franchise aims to deliver everything its core fanbase desires the most.
All this is of naturally happening with top-tier talent behind it. From the main team at Turn 10 Studios who has worked on each installment in the franchise to recent additions who have previously helped craft some of the biggest games out there – such as Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption 2, Assassin’s Creed, Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Madden NFL, the Forza Motorsport team is bigger than it ever has been before. Forza Art Director Scott Lee and his team are using “some real bleeding edge technical things ripped from the movie industry to bring the thrill of real-life racing to the game,” whilst Forza Franchise Creative Director Dan Greenawalt has spoken about integrating “player-centric design” into the development process with community feedback and iteration at the heart of the game’s production.
Turn 10 Studios is currently investing in several key areas of the Forza franchise, including driving physics, AI behaviour, track environments and cars. The developer spoke about how it aims to deliver "truly authentic motorsport experiences" for its next game installment.