The racing genre of video games is filled with diverse entries aiming to push the boundaries in simulation and technical execution. The legendary Forza Motorsport franchise counts among the biggest in the space, and Turn10 and Xbox Game Studios are building a reboot that looks to raise the bar across the board for the genre. Forza Motorsport (2023) claims to be "the most technically advanced racing game ever made," but could that actually be true?
One of the most exciting appearances during the game-filled Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022 was the gameplay debut of Forza Motorsport (2023), with Turn10 Studios providing commentary breaking down every moment of footage. I wanted to dive deep into the biggest features and technical advancements being touted by the Forza Motorsport reboot, which is officially arriving in Spring 2023 as a current-gen exclusive game on Xbox Series X|S and PC.
In Forza Motorsport, the simulation is real(er)
Forza Motorsport (2023) is arriving as the simulation-centric counterpart to the open-world racing sensation Forza Horizon 5, making comparisons to PlayStation's impressive Gran Turismo 7 practically unavoidable. However, it seems Turn10 Studios isn't intending to let other simulation racers hold it back, with the Forza Motorsport reboot aiming to be a "generational leap in immersion."
The nearly two years since the game's initial reveal has been followed by a slow trickle of information about Turn10 Studios' ambitions for the game, much of which was substantiated by the trailers presented during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase. This means dozens of enhancements and advancements to make the simulation elements of Forza more "real" than ever before, and it's certainly impressive to see.
To start, the foundation on which Forza Motorsport is being built is the most capable the franchise has ever seen. The newly rebuilt ForzaTech engine, which also powers the upcoming Fable reboot, will push simulation, performance, and visuals to the absolute limit. Forza Motorsport is also a true current-gen title, launching exclusively on Xbox Series X|S consoles and capable gaming PCs.
Turn10 Studios is also investing heavily in its simulation and physics systems, leading to substantial improvements across the board in driving and handling, world simulation, and beyond. Even without considering just how good the game looks, Forza Motorsport (2023) looks like a technical marvel and an excellent showcase for the power of the Xbox Series X|S platform.
Of course, this means little without specific examples of how and where Forza Motorsport (2023) is upping the ante in the simulation racing genre. Fortunately, Turn10 Studios has provided plenty of evidence of their work over the last couple years, and especially during the gameplay presentation at the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase.
Dozens of smaller changes and advancements across Forza Motorsport's systems and physics calculations manifest as major improvements to the racing experience. Some of these changes include:
- Dynamic world simulation for time of day and weather, which ambiently affects the temperature of tracks and the temperature, grip, pressure, and wear rate of tires
- A 48-times increase in tire physics simulation, with eight separate points-of-contact on each tire refreshing at an astounding 360Hz
- Brand-new tire compounds, each of which is affected by changes in temperature, track conditions, and surfaces differently
- Major improvements to fuel consumption and other simulation elements important for endurance racing
- Rebuilt suspensions that respond realistically to input and the track, accurately convey feedback, and account for various factors like anti-roll, anti-dive, force propagation, and much more
- Advanced damage models, which are even capable of reproducing individual scratches and chips, simulating the direction and force of damage, including at raised points and edges, and even applying dirt build-up throughout a race
- Superior car building, fuel and tire management, and more at in-race track pits
Turn10 Studios isn't just redesigning and improving all of the underlying systems, it's also ensuring that it all translates to the player through enhanced feedback, regardless of how you're interacting with the game.
The goal is to make the feel of racing in Forza Motorsport as close as possible to the real thing, and some of the most talented minds in the industry have been working for years to make it happen. Turn10 Studios believes this will also make the game more appealing to hardcore racers and more approachable to interested newcomers, as every car will handle exactly as expected of its real-world counterpart.
There are still plenty of things we don't know, though. Will Forza Motorsport build upon the considerably improved audio in Forza Horizon 5, which boasts of ray-traced audio that responds to the world and your position in it, granular and dynamic engine sounds for every car, and more? How will Forza Motorsport expand steering wheel support for those who want the best experience possible? Will all of these undeniably impressive advancements ultimately result in a more enjoyable driving experience?
Despite these questions, I believe Forza Motorsport (2023) has what it takes to back up its ambitious claim of being "the most technically advanced racing game ever made." Everything we've seen of the rebooted racing game so far emphasizes the sheer creative power and technical wizardry of Turn10 Studios. Of course, it helps that the game looks visually stunning, as well, backed by a dynamic world and real, in-game ray tracing.
Ray tracing helps Forza Motorsport shine
Ray tracing is a relatively new advancement in gaming that can result in drastic improvements to graphical fidelity, and it's especially effective in racing games. The ability to accurately simulate the paths of light results in better dynamic lighting, reflections, shadows, more realistic textures, and much more.
Forza Horizon 5 impresses with its limited ray tracing, which is only available during its cinematic-like ForzaVista mode. Gran Turismo also prominently features ray tracing, at least on PS5, but it's similarly limited to specific modes like Photo Mode and race replays. Forza Motorsport (2023) aims to best both racing titles by being the first to include ray tracing on-track.
The results appear incredible. Forza Motorsport can render accurate reflections in picture-perfect quality across entire cars, including within the complicated maze of shapes and textures that is a vehicle's engine bay. It's not clear how much of a performance hit will be necessary to reach this astounding level of detail, but the 4K and 60 FPS gameplay trailer (linked above) features ray tracing and looks gorgeous.
Ray tracing works in collaboration with Forza Motorsport's dynamic world simulation for time of day and weather, improved textures and assets across the entire world using photogrammetry, advanced 3D rendering, and procedural generation techniques, and an updated lighting engine featuring forward+ lighting and physically based lighting techniques.
How does this all come together? Well, the evidence speaks for itself. The aforementioned gameplay trailer was completely shot in-game on the Xbox Series X, highlighting the striking visual fidelity, ray tracing quality, and the optimizations necessary to tie it all together. Forza Motorsport (2023) is a graphical and technical showcase on Xbox Series X|S and PC.
Preparing to race onto current-gen consoles next year
Touting absurd leaps in technical simulation and graphical performance, Forza Motorsport is gearing to race straight into the best Xbox racing games of all time. We'll still have to dive deep into the upcoming flagship racer to ascertain if it really delivers on its vision and promises, but the Forza Motorsport reboot is also just around the corner.
Forza Motorsport (2023) is arriving in Spring 2023, and it's launching exclusively on Xbox Series X|S and PC, and is a day one addition to Xbox and PC Game Pass. If you want to experience the next Forza Motorsport title on other platforms, you'll be able to stream it from an Xbox Series X in the cloud, via Xbox Cloud Gaming. Personally, the launch day for Turn10 Studios' latest racing masterpiece can't come soon enough.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.