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Forza Motorsport 6 preview: Shaping up as Xbox's biggest and best racer yet

This latest incarnation isn't just the biggest, best looking, most ambitious Forza game so far, it could well be the finest racing game ever to grace the Xbox. We've had a good look at what's pretty much the finished article at Gamescom 2015. Here's our preview.

Beauty is more than skin-deep.

Forza 6

Forza 6 isn't just good looking for a racing game. It's good looking, period. If you're looking for graphical prowess, you'll find it in spades here. You want 1080p? Check. 60fps? You got it. Where other game developers have perhaps toned down the resolution or locked the frame rate at 30, Turn 10 has delivered once again.

And let's not forget that's 1080p, 60fps with 24 cars on the circuit. Up from the 16 available in Forza 5. And from what we've seen on the pre-release software it's steady as a rock and smooth as silk. For comparison's sakes, Project Cars runs at 900p to maintain 60fps on the Xbox One and doesn't support as many cars in online multiplayer, either.

This is made possible by the engine running the game. It's been built from the ground up specifically for the Xbox One and with the intention of running at 1080p 60fps. And now, having worked on it with the team behind Forza Horizon 2, it's better than ever. And it's not the end, either.

More cars, famous circuits

Forza 6

Forza 6 boasts 450 cars. Just let that sink in for a moment. That's an insane number. And as ever there's a superb mix of regular cars, super cars and specialist race cars. The Forza Garage announcements have been coming weekly and adding more and more as we get closer to launch. Recent additions include British Touring Car Racers from Audi and Toyota, extensive rides from Ford and the Lime Rock circuit. At Gamescom, Turn 10 announced the addition of some more European circuits for Forza 6 in Hockenheim and Monza alongside Sonomo, Circuit of the Americas as well as a couple of BMW race cars.

The circuit selection was my major criticism of Forza 5. For a next-gen title, I just didn't feel there were enough of them. That doesn't look like being an issue with Forza 6. Besides the circuits mentioned above we'll have real life circuits like Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Sebring and the infamous Nurburgring, as well as the street circuit in Rio. Looking at that specifically, Rio has made a return to Forza to celebrate the ten year anniversary. While it's not an actual circuit, Turn 10 went out and picked a route and laser scanned the roads in the same way as the regular race circuits to produce something pretty special.

I've driven a couple of the circuits on offer and using Brands Hatch as an example (because I know what it looks like in real life) Turn 10 looks to have done the business when it comes to accuracy. And that includes the weather.

Make it rain

The weather is one of the biggest new challenges to any Forza 6 race. No longer will conditions be perfect for racing. As with the accuracy of the circuits, the way the bad weather affects your race has been carefully considered. The water will move around the car on the circuit, puddles will form where actual puddles would form in real life (top tip: the first corner at Brands Hatch is pretty terrifying in the rain.) Close attention has been paid to how the wet weather affects the handling and performance of the car. It's not just a linear, less grip applied all round approach.

When it rains, often the regular racing line is no longer the fastest. And this is something you'll have to figure out in Forza 6. Different lines work better in the wet to the dry, and you're going to need to work out where to put your car to maximise your times. Do you avoid the puddles and risk sliding or do you just go head on into them? You'll have to find your own way. The friction levels have been mapped on different parts of the circuit for maximum realism.

And it's worth playing in the rain just to see the drops falling on the cars. Breathtaking.

Into the night

Forza 6

Another new condition for Forza 6 is night racing. Going racing in the dark is more than just losing visibility, and you'll experience that in Forza 6. Some circuits infamous for night racing are included, such as Sebring, Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans, and Turn 10 has tried to create an authentic experience.

For example, when the sun goes down, the track temperature follows. As the tarmac cools, it affects the behaviour of the cars, and that's something that Forza 6 aims to recreate. And losing visibility isn't just about making it harder to see where you're going. It's about how the car headlights behave on the surface, on the world around the circuit and the other cars. It's an experience.

Night racing doesn't have to be in the dark, either. Take Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, for example. Here, the track temperature will drop causing behavioural changes in the car, but the floodlights create a much different racing experience to hurtling down the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans at over 200mph. As with the weather effects, the experience will differ depending on the circuit, the car, and ultimately, your abilities.

Leagues, career and free play

Forza 6

As with previous Forza games, we've got the regular, progression based career mode. Start at the bottom, win races, championships, move up the ladder, get better cars and so on. It's a stories of motorsport approach with several "volumes" of the story inside broken down by car type. The celebrity voiceovers return, with Richard Hammond, James May and Tanner Foust all mentioned. What's also nice in career mode is that before each race you can tweak the tuning of the car.

There are a couple of interesting points to note in other gameplay modes, though. Free play is there for folks who just want to get behind the wheel and race and from the very beginning we're told every single car will be unlocked to use in this mode.

Online multiplayer has been spruced up for Forza 6 with the Leagues feature targeting every single Forza player regardless of ability. Each race will be a full 24 players, and you'll be invited to leagues based on ability, when and where people are online. If you're a Forza noob, you won't find yourself on the grid alongside a Formula 1 driver who's going digital, for example.

Wrapping up

Forza 6

Forza is one of Microsoft's console selling franchises. Just as Sony has (or had, depending on your outlook) Gran Turismo, Turn 10's epic is one of Microsoft's crown jewels. With Forza 6, that's still the case, and we're looking at a genuine head turner. We've got Project Cars already available and Assetto Corsa due in 2016, but for the mainstream, Forza is still where it's at.

There's so much attention to detail that fans of cars, racing and just great games alike will love. The way the tires can bounce off the kerbs, the showcase where you can get inside the cars or look at them from every angle, and the daunting challenge that is the full 13-miles of Nurburgring in the wet. Forza 5 was good, Forza 6 is going to be even better. The King is back this September.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

65 Comments
  • Yes! Pole position.
  • My best racing franchise after Need for Speed disappointments over the last few years. I'm getting this. To me the developers of Forza are the best developers to pay attention to every detail in the games they make. Makes it a worth purchase even if at $100 a copy.
  • Absolutely no shame in buying an Xbox One for the Forza games. They're just that good.
  • Second console is the forza one for me
  • That's what she said
  • Is it worth getting this or waiting out for Forza Horizon 3. Haven't played any of the motorsport titles but I absolutely love the Horizon series
  • Two completely different types of racing game. There's room for both.
  • Yeah, Arcade and Simulation. I love both so I buy all of them.
  • I'll be waiting till Horizon 3.  My brain just can't do the 'accurate' simulation type games.  Plus I find tracks just so utterly boring.  Almost as boring as nascar or the indy500 drive in a slow oval type tracks. Tried Forza5, but just couldn't get into it as much as I tried.
  • Get both! Horizon 3 won't be for another year yet, and is a very different kind of racer.
  • Will horizon 3 launch after an year
  • It seems to be the routine lately. Motorsport one year, Horizon the next, Motorsport after, Horizon after, etc
  • Who knows maybe they'll surprise the shit out of us & make a pgr5
  • What about snow... Will there be snow as well ?
  • I guess not. I think they are not simulating what's going on in the pit lane as well, eg: Pit crew movement and radio communications
  • Do indy car racings take place in the snow? They are just giving us what happens and not what we think should be done. If we want all these, that's when the Forza Horizon series come in.
  • Forza is the pinnacle of console simulation. When they add something they don't just do it for visuals they simulate it properly as well. Sure gran turismo had rain visuals in gt5, but it wasn't simulated well. Turn 10 wont add anything unless they can simulate it well. Now we have rain with full 3d puddles, simulated aquaplaining and all. Even the night racing is done properly. Cant wait for forza 6. It looks bloody gorgeous to.
  • pfft!!!! you got no idea about simulation lol Try arcade..... Roflmao
  • Sam, as an iRacer I know exactly what you mean ... but he did qualify it with "pinnacle of console simulation."  Forza's looking pretty good within that context.
  • Yes I said console sim. I'm well aware there are pc Sims more accurate. But forza isn't so far behind. Turn 10 do well with console hardware to make it as sim as possible. I play with a proper 900 degree setup with forza and its very good for console. Definately the best in console land.
  • Last time I checked, iRacing didn't have rain ;)
  • There are definitely areas where Forza needs some vast improvements to be considered a Sim, but it's getting there.
  • Lol only game that ive ever played with that that comes to mind was mr2(ps1/pc)
  • S14 please
  • Is it available on windows 10?
  • No.
  • I have always been hoping that this Forza comes to Windows (phone or tablet). I am a casual gamer but would like to take it for a spin (pun absolutely intended).
  • Forza would lose way too much IMO if it ever came to mobile or tablets. There'd be compromises. That's not the Forza way.
  • Ain't that the truth if rt survived maybe it would've happened
  • Sort of, use Xbox one streaming with Windows 10 and you can play it FROM your PC...
  • Phil Spencer keeps talking about bringing 1st party Xbox titles to Windows, so you never know :/
  • That main photo, that's my next car lol. Focus RS is gonna be a beast.
  • For the Focus RS in the picture, I hope that is the 10th Anniversary Car Pack livery that we will get with the car pack itself!
  • Has a list of circuits been released? If so, is there a link available to review? With limited circuits in Forza 5 I lost interest quickly, so many were missing from previous games.
  • The list is now up to 26 tracks. Alot more than forza 5. I cant wait to race brands hatch. Also we know Rio is now returning as well.
  • Awesome write up. I just ordered the Forza bundle last night (1st Xbox One for me). Looking forward to getting into it this Fall.
  • Nice.
  • Great article
  • @Richard Devine:
    Am nitpicky here, I know, but in racing you certainly don't want to maximize, but to MINIMIZE your lap time. ^_^
  • Its ok man its only an arcade game. If it was a simulation then you could get picky.
  • Ah. Maybe that's why I finished last when I went racing last year ;-)
  • @Richard Devine:
    Alright. I thought the reason was that you were trying to go in reverse.
  • @Richard
    Were you able to try the game with the Elite controller? I'm interested to know if using the paddles for shifting (or anything else) improved the experience.
  • He's just previewing mate, sure he will soon the game release
  • I did but not with the paddles. However I did have the brake trigger set on half press, I liked that a lot.
  • Thanks. I'm looking forward to having this level of customization for my controller. I'm primarily a PC gamer. I feel the controls on consoles lack the customizability that I'm used to. I'm hoping the Elite Controller changes that. That, and mouse and keyboard support on the Xbox.
  • If only the drivers could compensate for wear & tear on the controller like the console it was made for does
  • What?
  • Here's hoping they improve how you start a race. It's ALWAYS you starting in, like, 12th place. I don't get why your car's never able to get a better start, it's stupid.
  • Agreed. But not a big deal because I'm mostly doing LB
  • I'll be getting this game.
  • I've never played any of the Forza games owning PlayStation consoles all my life(Gran Turismo series) but man this looks freaking amazing. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I played gran turismo religiously from 1-3. But forza is just more fun. The racing feels more on the edge of tour seat. You feel more like your wrestling a car on its limits. Also polyphony nowadays take way to long to make a game. And even then you wonder why when it has 2nd grade car models and tracks. I definately think forza is the better sim racer.
  • I forget, is this coming to PC this time around?
  • Nope
  • A car with a picture of a car on it.. #carception
  • I wonder if some of the weather effects are handled in the cloud.
  • I'm really surprised the character still grabs at air to shift. Games have done this for two generations. What excuse do they have? Plus they haven't mention anything about the customization so I'm going to assume that we will have the same tired bodykits and wheels. Step it up turn 10.
  • Perfect timing. I just reserved my copy!
  • All I want to know is when is it going to be available for pc. I know its wishful thinking but hey, one can dream
  • Keep dreaming. Was looking for NFS on PC but sadly eb doesn't list it for pc preorder
  • I heard Forza 5 u have to pay extra for alot of cars ect will Forza 6 be the same? (Never played Forza before as I came from ps3) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You don't have to, any car except DLC cars can be gotten through playing the game normally.
  • Have they improved the damage simulation which is the one thing I've always found to be very poor in the Forza series?
  • I'll admit, Forza 5 was a great looking game but, the lack ot tracks was a MAJOR disapointment. After playing for for 2-3 hours, "We now return to..." got very old, VERY QUICK, where I just stoppped playing it.  It started to get really old.  Playing on-line was fun for a while, then it started getting old too (again, same tracks just different setups on the same tracks) So far 6 looks good but, After how dispointed I was in 5, I will have to read 5-6 reviews before I go buy it. I am looking forward to it but, after 5, I have to step back a little. Still, it's looking good so far...