Forza Motorsport 7 launched in October 2017 for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, and has been continuously updated with new features, content and fixes since its release. In fact, the game has received has a total of 15 content updates, and according to Dan Greenawalt, the Creative Director of the Forza franchise at Turn 10 Studios, the entire Forza Motorsport team is currently focused on enhancing and developing new features and content for Forza
At an E3
Coliseum discussion panel hosted by Xbox Live’s Graeme Boyd in Los Angeles this past week, the Creative Director of Turn 10 Studios, Dan Greenawalt was joined by Playground Games Creative Director Ralph Fulton and Forza Community Manager Brian Ekberg to discuss how games are shaping the future of automotive entertainment. Powered by the rise of streaming, esports and the gaming industry overall, the racing genre is driving change and innovation towards the automotive business.
The panel, which focused on the newly-announced Forza Horizon 4, also touched on the continuous level of support Turn 10 Studios has provided to Forza Motorsport 7 players with new features, fixes and improvements based on fan-feedback, as well as the Forza Racing Championship esports series, which sees the best players in the Forza Motorsport 7 community come together to battle it out and compete for fame, glory, and prize money, as well as the title of Forza Racing World Champion.
“I kind of think of it as we’ve got Motorsport, we’ve got Horizon, and we have the Forza Racing Championship,” says Brian Ekberg, Community Manager of the Forza franchise at Turn 10 Studios. “It’s very much a central part of what we do at Turn 10 and with the Forza franchise. You know, we’re entering our – we’re right in the middle of our current
season in 2018, our Series
1 Playoffs are this weekend, and what we’ve seen is the best drivers coming from around the world and really getting involved and getting invested in Forza Motorsport 7, and really growing a world-class esports program.”
“You see the picture behind us, this is our winner from last year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – shared the podium with the same drivers who won the race across all classes,” he continued. “That was an iconic moment for the Forza Racing Championship, and it was hard for – I know the team was feeling the same way I was, when we were seeing those guys up on stage, it was inspiring, it was incredible to see these guys that worked, you know, just as hard – they raced all night, we put these guys through the ringer, just like the real race drivers were doing it all night, these guys were racing all night in our tent – in our ForzaRC tent at Le Mans for the Porsche Cup, and it was fantastic to see the relief and the joy on these guys face – and to be able to be elevated to that same level as a real race driver who shared the podium at Le Mans was fantastic.”
Ekberg went on to say that the team at Turn 10 Studios remain focused on developing new features and content for Forza Motorsport 7. With 15 post-launch updates already released for the game, with new features to arrive in the future, the Forza Motorsport 7 we have today is very different to the one we had at release. For example, esports features such as live
spectate with broadcast
tickers and race telemetry have been introduced in post-release updates, as well as the ability to manually
seed the race
grid and test
drive and tune your vehicles in multiplayer lobbies.
These features were introduced in response to fan-feedback in the months that followed the launch of Forza Motorsport 7, but there’s more to come, including all-new Forza Race
Regulations that will help players improve their sportsmanship and racing skill. There’s also revamped track limits coming soon with the return of the fan-favourite Time Attack mode, which will see Rivals leaderboards for all class and track combos introduced to Forza Motorsport 7. Combined with the all-new Drift and Drag features also coming to the game, including new custom stats, mechanics and steering angle options, there’s a lot of new modes and improvements in the works specifically for hardcore Forza fans.
“But as Dan knows, we’re right in the middle – we’re still continuing with our development of Forza Motorsport 7. I think we’ve done, Dan – 15 updates to that game since it was launched. So, we’re always listening to the community,” Ekberg explained. “Whether it’s on the forums, whether it’s in our livestream chats, whether it’s emails to the team, what have you, Discord – any way people can get in touch with us, we wanna hear their ideas, we wanna see how they wanna see the games evolve – games like Forza 7, and of course, going forward with Forza Horizon 4, we’re gonna be definitely listening to the community, and seeing the kinds of things they want as well.”
Ralph Fulton, the Creative Director at Playground Games for Forza Horizon 4 also believes in this vision as well. With the new dynamic
seasons feature in Forza Horizon 4, which rotate between Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer on a weekly basis, fans can look forward to new content far more frequently than ever before in the Forza franchise. Seasonal changes won’t just impact the overall look and feel of Forza Horizon 4’s beautiful, historic Britain with drastically different weather conditions and skies, but they will also introduce new events and content for players to enjoy.
In addition, the Car
Pass is also being revamped over past entries in the Forza franchise to deliver new vehicles to players on a weekly basis. Forza Horizon 4 will add two new cars to its collection of more than 450 Forzavista vehicles on a weekly basis over a 21-week period. In total, 42 additional cars will be made available to Forza Horizon 4 Car Pass owners. The continued, extended support seen in Forza Motorsport 7 will be retained in Forza Horizon 4 – and its already part of the team’s roadmap.
“It is absolutely [part of our roadmap for Forza Horizon 4], and we typically come to E3 and talk about how we’re gonna close out a game, how we’re gonna get it to ship, and the quality it’s gonna be at launch in October, but really the other thing we’re saying this week is about our team’s commitment beyond that – and we see seasons not just as a really cool open-world feature, but also as the perfect sort of delivery mechanism if you will like for the new stuff that our team is gonna continually bring to the game post-launch,” Fulton explained.
“Whether that’s new experiences, new features, responses to community feedback – our commitment is that the team will continue to develop and evolve and change the game almost with the passing seasons as well,” he added. “So, the game you see at launch will not resemble the game that you’ll be playing in a month or two months or six months or years to come.”
Dan Greenawalt, the Creative Director of the Forza franchise believes that not only is the automotive industry changing and adapting based on gaming but gaming itself is also changing and taking advantage of new technologies and more modern ways of adding fresh content to living game experiences. The way developers engage with their fanbase is vastly different to how it was say, a decade ago, and with live-streaming to services like Twitch and Mixer, as well as the popularity around the use of social media, it means gamers and consumers overall have new ways to discover new video games and original brands.
With a constant flow of content, the community always have something to come back to in their favourite games. Greenawalt says it’s no longer about building games and downloadable content and being done – there’s much more to it in today’s world, and games are being created to last players for months and months after their release, and in some circumstances, even years. It’s this type of community involvement and engagement that’s critical to racing franchises like the Forza series moving forward. It’s also worth noting that Forza has always had a popular community surrounding it, especially with its livery editor, tuning setups, photography and sharing features. Backed by other social features such as Clubs, Storefronts and the Auction House, as well as its robust, configurable online racing lobbies, there’s always been a reason for players to return to the latest release in the Forza franchise months after its release.
“And just as you see the automotive industry changing and reacting and becoming a bigger part of gaming. Gaming is changing, and the way you find out about games today – a lot of games is through streaming,” Greenawalt comments. “You don’t find out about them through traditional marketing, and what have you, and that actually gives the power back to the developers.”
“To create features that create community, the community creates the streams, and that actually is this nice virtuous cycle that brings people into our games,” he continued. “It’s a great place to be as a developer, but it does mean changing the way you build games. It’s no longer build a game and be done – or even build a game and do DLC.”
“It’s now about involving the community, and as Brian said, Forza Motorsport 7 – 15 updates, but also 100% of Turn 10’s Motorsport team is still working on Forza Motorsport 7, now going on nine months on,” Greenawalt concluded. “This sort of community involvement is super critical.”
With the entire Forza Motorsport development team focused on fresh content and new updates for Forza Motorsport 7, the inevitable next entry into the Motorsport series could be further away than initially expected. The Forza franchise typically follows a two-year development cycle that switches between Motorsport and Horizon on an annual basis. Since the release of Forza Motorsport 4 in 2011, there’s been a new Forza game every year and that continues this year with the launch of Forza Horizon 4 on October 2nd, 2018.
However, it’s clear from the comments of Greenawalt, Fulton and Ekberg that Forza Horizon 4 and Forza Motorsport 7 have been built with live service updates in-mind. That means a regular supply of fresh content, fixes and improvements based on fan-feedback, and of course, in-game events that evolve and change with the community. Forza Motorsport 7 started this trend of heavy post-launch support for the Forza franchise, but Forza Horizon 4 will take it to an entirely new level with its seasons integration and weekly flow of new content, which includes new cars to collect, customize and drive, as well as new events to beat with your friends.
Overall, the next 12 months will have a lot in store for Forza fans. Regular content updates for Forza Motorsport 7 will introduce highly-requested
features and even more
cars to its mammoth line-up of over 700 Forzavista cars, whilst the launch of Forza Horizon 4 will pave a new service-based future for the franchise where fans can enjoy a regular flow of new content. Backed by the Car Pass and the confirmation of two post-launch expansions for the game, Forza Horizon 4 will be a vastly different game 12 months from its release, and for hardcore Forza fanatics such as myself, that can only be a good thing.
Alan is the co-founder and co-owner of FullThrottle Media. As someone who enjoys spending all his free time playing video games, he delivers the latest in news stories, reviews, and feature articles to the website, as well as videos on his YouTube channel and livestreams over on Mixer.