Microsoft's hit racing franchise is slated for a reboot in the years ahead, accompanying Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S with a roster of next-generation advancements. Details on the ambitious project are finally surfacing, alluding to leaps in simulation depth and proving a technological showpiece for the new console.
Prototyped from the ground up with fan feedback, hopes are high for the next installment, starting on a clean slate as "Forza Motorsport." Here's everything we know so far, following its initial reveal.
Forza Motorsport 8 release date
Our latest update on Forza Motorsport stated the title remains early in development sowe're not expecting a release date anytime soon. Turn 10 Studios is yet to discuss availability, although 2022 looks increasingly likely. Microsoft's flagship racers traditionally fall in the latter half of the year, often in September through early October. Forza Motorsport targets Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Windows 10 PCs, with no Xbox One support in current plans.
That's not to say your next Forza installment is two years away, with rumors of Forza Horizon 5 in the works at Playground Games and targeting a late 2021 release date. The title would follow up on its 2018 predecessor and is expected to explore a region of Japan.
Forza Motorsport trailers: What we know about production
The Forza franchise has adopted an annual release cycle over the years, alternating between the mainline Forza Motorsport entries developed by Turn 10 Studios and the casual street racing of Forza Horizon from Playground Games. However, tailing the release of Forza Horizon 4, its upcoming project shakes up the schedule, departing from the two-year turnaround of each series. Work remains underway on a reboot simply dubbed "Forza Motorsport," still in the early stages of development and with no firm release date.
Forza Motorsport was unveiled at the Xbox Games Showcase in July 2020. The 59-second teaser solely featured "in-engine" footage, pitched as a proof of concept during "early development." It focused on improvements to the underlying ForzaTech engine rather than all-new Forza gameplay.
The absence of Forza Motorsport's bi-annual return follows long-term support for its predecessor, with regular updates delivered beyond the launch of Forza Horizon 4. The two series received parallel post-launch support, with Microsoft creative director Dan Greenawalt citing its new approach among reasons for schedule amendments back in 2019.
"So, as of right now, Motorsport itself is actually in concept; it's just something we're currently building. And this is after supporting Forza Motorsport 7 for longer than we ever have before," Greenawalt told IGN in late 2019.
Given earlier comments around the new Motorsport project, the extended wait isn't a huge surprise. However, it did see Turn 10 miss the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S release window in November 2020, leaving a Forza-sized hole in the next generation launch library.
Forza Motorsport is headed exclusively to Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Windows PCs, skipping the previous generation Xbox One consoles. Like Forza Motorsport 5 launched with Xbox One and Forza Motorsport 7 demonstrated the power of Xbox One X, racing games help highlight the capabilities of photorealistic titles. With the new Forza Motorsport, additional horsepower, speedy solid-state drive (SSD) storage, and hardware-accelerated ray tracing should help sell the promise of Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, too.
What to expect from Forza Motorsport gameplay
Microsoft currently remains tight on Forza Motorsport's details, making it hard to discern advancements over earlier games. Hundreds of iconic vehicles, a sizeable handful of locales, and other series signatures are among the assumed features. We also expect upgrades in the core gameplay, expanding on the fundamentals of its simulation sandbox and how players handle cars in moment-to-moment racing.
The first Forza Motorsport trailer provided a glimpse into what's ahead through the lens of the technology powering the experience. The announcement discussed a "connected and dynamic" world, with added depth enabled by the improved ForzaTech engine. That includes a 4K resolution target at 60 frames-per-second (FPS) on Xbox Series X, the best Xbox console on the market right now.
We also know ray tracing comes standard, bringing advanced lighting over past games. Microsoft gave a few examples — from "surfaces of cars reflecting off each other, to brilliant red paint bouncing off intensely detailed track surfaces, and the interplay of light and shadow throughout the world."
Turn 10 Studios has indicated progress on gameplay, with Creative Director Chris Esaki detailing studio-wide playtesting underway in December 2019 for the "new experience" under the Motorsport team. Esaki continued, elaborating on various fundamental features, including new tire and suspension models at play.
The new Motorsport is expected to debut improved systems for tires, factoring in tire pressure and how it interacts with the rubber. New dynamic track temperatures and rubbering-in features will support these additions, skewing traction throughout the race. Atmospheric pressure also impacts locations, reflected with air density, aerodynamics, power, and tires.
Esaki downplayed these additions, stating they "don't really matter in the larger scheme of things," though they indicate some major change-ups headed to Motorsport. These contribute to a "vastly different" experience, Esaki claimed, providing insight into the mindset among the team, doubling down on deeper dynamic systems to change up each race.
Ultimately, this pushes Motorsport into a more experimental space, which is fitting for the new generation. "We're taking this fan-first, player-first approach where we're bringing players in, in different capacities to have them help us ideate on what we build next, and prototype new ideas and new thoughts," said Greenawalt speaking with IGN.
Will Forza Motorsport be on Xbox Game Pass?
Yes, the new Forza Motorsport is scheduled to hit Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft's Netflix-style subscription service for Xbox games, on launch day. Like all Microsoft-published titles under the Xbox Game Studios umbrella, Forza Motorsport will be available on Xbox and PC through their respective Xbox Game Pass memberships.
Will Forza Motorsport be on Xbox One?
Microsoft unveiled Forza Motorsport with Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Windows 10 PCs list among supported platforms. With the new entry now pushing further into the lifecycle of the new consoles, it appears the title will sever ties with earlier Xbox One devices. No cross-generation support would avoid limiting the scope of the new title, given the fundamental changes to gameplay enabled by recent ForzaTech advancements.
How to join the Forza Motorsport beta test
While Forza Motorsport remains in the works, developer Turn 10 has expressed interest in community playtests scheduled for the months ahead. These tests provide an opportunity to go hands-on with a "part" of the new Motorsport, although with details limited for now. The first wave of invites has already gone out to "a small group of participants" according to Microsoft, with more to come in time. You can sign up for the Forza panel, its dedicated feedback program, for a future chance to test the game ahead of launch.
While Microsoft remains tight on Forza Motorsport, early teasers allude to a next-generation showpiece in the works, elevating the hit series with added depth and realism in gameplay. Paired with Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, a much-welcomed refresh may be in the pipeline, leveraging the best of hardware advancements. In the meantime, Forza Motorsport 7 is your best alternative.
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