Years ago I had the pleasure of spending a day with the Forza Motorsport development team at Microsoft Game Studios—now Turn 10 Studios—before the sequel was released. I learned that not only were Dan Greenawalt and his team very talented programmers and designers, but that many were actively involved in the enthusiast lifestyle and had extensive experience in various motorsport disciplines.
So, with Stig-like reflexes I replied in the affirmative when I got an invite to get a preview look at the latest installment in the Forza franchise. Microsoft threw a reveal party at E3 for Forza Motorsport 4 for Xbox 360. Forza Motorsport 4 should already be on sale by the time you read this.
Although Microsoft brought to the party a significantly pared down version—just a handful of vehicles and tracks—it was enough to know it lives up the high standards set by the three previous versions. The types of cars chosen for the event seemed to have been done so to showcase the game’s physics engine in how vehicles with different drivetrain configurations and power levels respond just like their real-world counterparts, whether it be oversteer, understeer, grip level, body roll, acceleration, braking, and so on.
Expect to find more than 80 different manufacturers to choose from. These confirmed supercars should get your motor revving: Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, Koenigsegg Agera and Ruf RT12R. There is one car and one track I feel deserves a special mention: the Kia Cee’d and the Top Gear (UK version) track. Chicago... Hammerhead... the follow-through... Gambon... and across the line, and then, “So, where do you think you’ve come?” I was sold just with that car/track combo alone.
Here are some of the technical highlights I was able to scribble down in between my virtual lapping sessions. Forza Motorsport 4 boasts to have the most accurate physics engine, cockpits and damage on every car. “Assists” are available to help players (newbies and casual gamers) jump right in and get up to speed. There is a new World Tour Mode where you’ll find new tracks as you travel the world with your favorite cars. For the Xbox LIVE crowd there is the ability to create a Car Club to compete against and share your customs with the rest of the Forza community, as well as compete or challenge your friends in the new Rival Mode.
Compatible with Kinect, the game lets you use your body as the controller. Get your head into the game, literally, with Kinect Head Tracking, which pans the camera view as you barrel through the corners. In Auto Vista mode, you tour a virtual showroom where you can explore each vehicle in stunning detail, even open the doors and hood.
The level of sophistication and polish of the reveal version did not surprise me at all. As I discovered years ago inside the hub of Turn 10 Studios, the passion and enthusiasm is still evident, now even better thanks to the leaps and bounds of the Xbox hardware and software.